Campen received a BS in biochemistry from Virginia Tech in 1994 and a Master of Science in Public Health concentrating on environmental health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 1997. He received his PhD, in environmental health from UNC Chapel Hill in 2000 followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to his current appointment, he worked as an independent scientist at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque.
Campen is an expert in the cardiopulmonary health effects of air pollution, such as ozone, combustion emissions and nanomaterials. He is also broadly interested in the crosstalk of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems in health and disease, conducting basic and clinical research into the nature of comorbidities that promote cardiovascular illness. His primary research focus involves the impact of inhaled toxicants, especially common air pollutants, on vascular function and injury. He is currently the Director of the Mentored Career Development Program (KL2) in the Clinical Translational Science Center and Deputy Director of the new UNM Superfund Research Center.