Karen Burg, Ph.D.
Karen Burg, Ph.D.

Harbor Lights Chair in Biomedical Research
Professor of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery
Adjunct Professor of Chemical, Materials, & Biomedical Engineering

150 Coverdell Center
501 D.W. Brooks Drive
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602


Honored with a 2022 U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring for her work with underrepresented groups to develop fully the Nation’s human resources in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Karen J.L. Burg is the Harbor Lights Chair of Biomedical Research in the Department of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery and Professor of Chemical, Materials, & Biomedical Engineering. Burg is an internationally recognized biomaterials educator, inventor, and researcher for her work to inspire equitable innovation in biomedicine and biomedical education. Her body of published work initiated and elucidated critical processes and technologies that have led to the current state of commercial tissue fabrication. Her 3D tissue fabrication cultureware and methodology was the impetus for the launch of functional precision oncology company Kiyatec, Inc., which has demonstrated the utility of her technology in multiple clinical trials and in partnership with global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, evaluating patient-specific predictor tests for improved response to cancer therapies. Dr. Burg’s research and innovation has inspired hundreds of mentees now working in industry, academia, and government; her research mentoring efforts are most recently visible in the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Mentoring Network Launching Research course series, which she authored.

View Dr. Burg’s full profile on the UGA Engineering website.


Postdoctorate, Carolinas Medical Center, Tissue Engineering, 1999

Ph.D., Clemson University, Bioengineering (Experimental Statistics minor), 1996

M.S., Clemson University, Bioengineering, 1992

B.S., North Carolina State University, Chemical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering minor), 1990

Honors / Awards / Achievements

White House Awards

Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM, from US President Joseph Biden), 2021

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE, from US President George W. Bush), 2002


American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2018

International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering, 2016

Biomedical Engineering Society, 2015

National Academy of Inventors, 2014

American Council on Education, 2006

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, 2006

Advocacy Honors

Distinguished AIMBE Advocate, American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering, 2021

Inaugural Ambassador, American Association for the Advancement of Science-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors, 2014

Other Prestigious Awards and Honors

Distinguished Alumni Award, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering North Carolina State University, 2022       

Inaugural Sentinel Award, National Academy of Inventors, 2022

Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society, 2015-2016

Invited Presenter, Biomaterials and Biocompatibility/Tissue Engineering Gordon Research Conference, 2009

Clemson University Board of Trustees Award for Faculty Excellence, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

Sigma Xi Outstanding Researcher Award, 2008

National Society for Histotechnology Award, 2007

Inaugural AORF Research Prize, Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen (AO) Foundation, Switzerland, 2006

South Carolina Governor’s Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, 2006

National Society for Histotechnology C.F.A. Culling Lecture Award, 2006

Clemson University College of Engineering and Science Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, 2006

Invited Presenter, Mammary Gland Biology Gordon Research Conference, 2005

Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholars Award, 2004

Named to MIT Technology Review’s TR100 Young Innovators List, 2003

Clemson University Outstanding Woman Faculty Award, 2003

Clemson University Dixon Fellow, 2003, 2004, 2005

Invited Presenter, Biomaterials and Biocompatibility/Tissue Engineering Gordon Research Conference, 2001

National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career (CAREER) Award recipient, 2001

Inducted to Sigma Xi International Research Honor Society, 2000

Inducted to Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, 1986

Selected Publications

‪Karen JL Burg – ‪Google Scholar


Engineering 3D Tissue Test Systems, KJL Burg, D Dréau, TC Burg, CRC Press, 2017.

Polymers for Vascular and Urogenital Applications, SW Shalaby, KJL Burg, and WSW Shalaby, CRC Press, 2012.

Absorbable and Biodegradable Polymers, SW Shalaby and KJL Burg, CRC Press, 2004.

Training Courses

Research Experience and Mentoring Modules, KJL Burg, JA Gilmore, TC Burg,  http://www.eqpoint.info/ , 2019. Curricular series, focused on introducing professional skills to novice researchers. Content adapted for broad dissemination through the National Research Mentoring Network, https://nrmnet.net/, Launching Research Course Series, 2022.

National Research Mentoring Network Launching Research Part 1: Laboratory Readiness 

National Research Mentoring Network Launching Research Part 2: Tools for Organization and Investigation

Educational Activities

Conference of Southern Graduate Schools

Member, Executive Committee, 2014
Member, Master’s Thesis Awards Committee, 2012-2014

National Academy of Inventors

Member, Board of Directors, 2015-
Member, Nominations Committee, 2015
Member, Technology and Innovation Editorial Board, 2015-

National Society for Histotechnology

Editor, Journal of Histotechnology, 2006-

Society For Biomaterials

Member, Public Relations Task Force, 2015
Member, Awards, Ceremonies & Nominations Committee, 2015-2016
Chair, Society For Biomaterials President’s Advisory Committee, 2012-2013
President 2011-2012
Co-Chair, World Biomaterials Congress Pitch Committee, 2010-2011
Chair, Meetings Committee, 2010-2011
President-Elect, 2010-2011
Officer and Board Member, 2010-2014
Chair, Long Range Planning Committee, 2010-2011
Member, Program Committee, 2010 Annual Meeting & Exposition
Program Chair, 2009 Annual Meeting & Exposition
Member, Meetings Committee, 2007-2008
Member, Program Committee, 2007 Annual Meeting & Exposition
Officer and Council Member, 2005-2014
Member, ex officio, Publications Committee, 2005-2011
Member, Awards, Nominations and Ceremonies Committee, 2005-2006
Member, Long Range Planning Committee, 2005-2006
Vice President, Cell Organ Therapy Special Interest Group, 2005-2006
Member, 31st Annual Meeting Program Committee, 2004-2005
Member, Publication Committee, 2001- 2004

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society

Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, World Congress Meeting, 2015
Representative, North American Council, 2008-2011

Scholarship & Research

Absorbable polymers


Regenerative engineering

Science and engineering education

3D tissue test systems