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Karen Burg, professor and Harbor Lights Chair in Small Animal Studies at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed as UGA's new vice president of research, effective July 1.

Karen Burg, professor and Harbor Lights Chair in Small Animal Studies at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed as UGA's new vice president of research, effective July 1.

Burg has served on the university’s Innovation District Task Force, the Innovation District Faculty Advisory Council, the 2025 Strategic Planning Committee and the Aspire Alliance IChange Network Team.

In her new role, she hopes to focus on advancing the Innovation District at UGA— a group that works to create community impact and economic development through innovation, entrepreneurship and experiential learning — as well as promoting students from different fields of study to collaborate and value one another.  

“My hope is to build more systems and opportunities so that we can collaborate together and really, again, learn about each other and do bigger things than we would be able to do independently,” Burg said. 

Burg also wants to use her role to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at UGA. She said that real world times that reflect diversity are necessary to solve real world problems.

Burg previously served as the vice president of research at Kansas State University from 2014 to 2016, and is optimistic about holding the same position at UGA, describing it as her “dream role.” 

“For me, making connections for people and being able to show or find opportunities that they weren't necessarily aware of or able to find for whatever reason – being very busy or just not knowing it existed – that's a huge part of what makes me tick and what gets me excited about the role,” Burg said. “In the short and the longer term, this is my passion.”

Burg is a highly regarded researcher in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Her research, which has implications of diagnosing and treating diseases such as cancer, has yielded more than $20 million in grants from agencies and organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

Burg has also earned numerous awards in her field, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and an appointment as an American Association for the Advancement of Science-Lemelson Invention Ambassador.

Despite her many accomplishments, Burg is most proud of her work with students. 

“When I see a lightbulb go off when I’m working with [students] directly or as they move along in their career and they do amazing things, far beyond anything I have ever done, that’s pretty awesome,” Burg said. “Without a doubt, it’s the people’s stories.”