dr karen binkleyCurrent Positions

Dr. Binkley is an Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. She is on staff at St. Michael’s Hospital and Albany Medical Clinic.


She obtained her Honours BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario in 1978 and her Doctor of Medicine at the University of Toronto in 1984. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto 1987, and then spent a year on staff as a Clinical Associate at Mount Sinai Hospital. She completed her subspecialty fellowship training in Clinical Immunology and Allergy, also at the University of Toronto in 1990.

Major Accomplishments

Dr. Binkley has written over 40 scientific papers for peer reviewed medical journals,  many more in other medical publications, and a book, Allergies and Asthma, A Guide for Patients and their Families, available at Indigo’s or her office. She has received international recognition for several different aspects of her research and guidelines development, as follows.

Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Guidelines

Dr. Binkley initiated and participated in the development of guidelines for the care of patients at risk for anaphylaxis, especially for food allergies, in schools and other child care settings. Initially working with provincial, and then with colleagues from across Canada, the United States and elsewhere, the guidelines were eventually adopted by the American Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and are now used around the world.

Hereditary Angioedemas

Dr. Binkley independently discovered a rare genetic disorder called hereditary angioedema with normal C1 inhibitor (formerly called estrogen dependent inherited angioedema). Working with colleagues at Harvard and the University of Montreal, they were able to identify 3 genetic abnormalities associated with the disorder. In 2011 and 2016 she was the sole Canadian researcher to be invited to attend meetings, sponsored by the Hereditary Angioedema Society of America, with experts from around the world, to promote research and determine optimal treatment for this condition. Her research in this area continues with collaboration of national and international colleagues.

She has participated in writing and updating guidelines for the treatment of all types of hereditary angioedema with these and other experts. She is a member of CHAEN, the Canadian Hereditary Angioedema Network, a group of physicians dedicated to improving care for patients with hereditary angioedema, and has acted as a consultant to various companies that develop and produce products for patients with these conditions.

Discovery of new food, drug and other allergens, drug side effects, and strategies to treat

Dr. Binkley has published her discovery of several new allergens, including supplemental lactase enzyme (used by patients with lactose intolerance), laminaria (a seaweed derived product, used in gynecologic surgery), certain herbal preparations,and even maple tree sap. She has also identified previously under- or unrecognized side effects of certain medications ( ACE inhibitors, hydrochlorthiazide, sibutramine and dutasteride), developed a strategy for re-introducing an important medication to a paient allergic to it, and reported a novel treatment for a rare condition (aguagenic pruritis, in which any exposure to water results in intolerable itching) .

Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance/ Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Dr. Binkley is also recognized for her research in idiopathic environmental intolerance (formerly called multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome). She was invited to present her studies on this subject at the Fifth Annual Symposium of the Drug Information Association, Advances in Drug Safety, sponsored by the Drug Information Association, Toronto , an international meeting,  Low Level Environmental Exposures – A State of the Science Update, sponsored by the Environmental Sensitivities Research Institute, held in  Seattle, Washington, and at a Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome Symposium, sponsored by Department of National Defense, Canada, in Ottawa.

External Consultancies

Recognizing her expertise, Dr. Binkley has acted as a consultant to both provincial and federal government agencies on the issues of food and environmental allergies and adverse effects, and several pharmaceutical companies, who produce products for patients with allergies, asthma and immunologic conditions.


Dr. Binkley is actively engaged in teaching medical and other health care students, interns, residents, fellows and even international students at the University of Toronto at various teaching hospitals. She has given multiple lectures to practicing family physicians, specialists  other health care providers and patient organizations sponsored by various agencies,  including the American Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the Canadian Hereditary Angioedema Society, the American College of Physicians, the Lung Association, the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society of Ontario, the Ontario Thoracic Society, the Womens’ Health Matters, Forum and Expo (Sponsored by Womens’ College Hospital), the  Dental Specialists’ Association of Ontario, the Atlantic Respiratory Conference for Family Physicians, Ontario Respiratory Care Society of Continuing Education, Ukrainian Medical Association, Community Health Nurses’ Interest Group Annual Conference, Greek Physicians Association, Anaphylaxis Canada (now called Food Allergy Canada), and the Allergy Information Society of Ontario, among others.

Professional Affiliations

University of Toronto Associate Professor, Department of Medicine Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy

St Michael’s Hospital, Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Drug Safety Clinic

Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Internal Medicine 1987, Allergy and Clinical Immunology 1990)

Member of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Member of the Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology Society of Ontario

Member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

Member of the Ontario Medical Association

Member of the Canadian Hereditary Angioedema Network

Member of an International Research Consortium for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association