Karen Onel, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Karen Onel, MD, is an expert in pediatric rheumatology. She specializes in the diagnosis and care of children with lupus, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, vasculitis, uveitis, dermatomyositis and musculoskeletal pain. Working with a team of nurses and social workers, Dr. Onel creates long-term treatment plans to improve quality of life for her patients.

An active researcher, Dr. Onel serves as the principal investigator for several studies that aim to provide a greater understanding of the mechanisms of rheumatic illnesses in children. She has examined the relationship between physical function measures and quality of life in children with systemic lupus and worked to establish treatment plans for children with arthritis. Her work has been funded by numerous organizations including the National Institutes of Health and the Arthritis Foundation.

Dr. Onel has authored numerous papers, reviews and book chapters on pediatric rheumatology. In addition, she serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals, including Arthritis and Rheumatism and Pediatric Rheumatology. She has been named one of the "Top Doctors" in the city by Chicago magazine.

Practice Locations

The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

The University of Chicago Medicine
Comer Children’s Hospital
5721 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

University of Chicago Pediatric Specialists
1020 E. Ogden Ave.
Naperville, IL 60563

Year Started Practice


Board Certifications

Pediatric Rheumatology

Medical School

Cornell University Medical College

Internship and Residency

Babies Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York


The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York (pediatric rheumatology)


American College of Rheumatology
Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance

Languages Spoken




Office Phone

(773) 702-2232

Office Fax

(773) 702-4766

Office Postal Address

Karen Onel, MD
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 5044
Chicago, IL 60637

Physician Photo

Clinical Interests

  • Pediatric rheumatology
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
  • Uveitis
  • Vasculitis
  • Dermatomyositis

Request an appointment online
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Read More About Dr. Onel

Under Dr. Onel's care, Nick Pecoraro's juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) symptoms improved significantly. With treatment and occupational therapy, he began participating -- and excelling -- in athletic activities. Read Nick's story.

When uveitis caused Skylar Houseman to go through three pairs of glasses in three months, her parents brought her to Dr. Onel, who has helped stabilize the young girl's vision. Read Skylar's story.

Selected Publications

View a partial list of Dr. Onel's publications through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database.