Professor Carmi was born in Israel and is a graduate of the Hebrew University's Hadassah Medical School. She completed a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in neonatology at the Soroka University Medical Center and an additional fellowship in medical genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University Medical School.
Professor Carmi is the incumbent of the Kreitman Foundation Chair in Pediatric Genetics. She has served as director of the Genetics Institute at the Soroka University Medical Center and held several important academic administrative positions in the FOHS at BGU. Prof. Carmi has also been deeply involved with the establishment of major biotechnology initiatives at BGU and served as the Acting Director of the then nascent National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev. In 2000, she was elected Dean of the FOHS and served for five years (2002–2005).
Professor Carmi was elected to serve as President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev by the University’s Board of Governors in May 2006. She is the first woman to serve as president of an Israeli university.
Prior to entering University administration, Professor Carmi’s research focused mainly on the characterization of clinical manifestations and the molecular basis of genetic diseases in the Negev Arab-Bedouin population. Authoring over 150 publications in medical genetics, her research includes the identification of 12 new genes and the description of three new syndromes, one of which is known as the Carmi Syndrome. Her community outreach projects aim at preventing hereditary diseases and advancing women's education in the Bedouin community.
In 2013, Professor Carmi was recognized with numerous awards, including an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Dalhousie University in Canada. In 2015, she was made an honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the name of Queen Elizabeth II.