2020-2024 Steering Committee Candidate:

Karen Burg


My background is in biomaterials development and I have always worked in and/or managed interdisciplinary
environments. In 2006, I founded the Clemson University Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering, an
interdisciplinary Institute spanning life sciences, physical sciences and engineering and dedicated to the development of
engineered tissues, and worked to gain formal recognition of the Institute from the University and the State. I enjoy the
challenge of finding methods of producing useful technologies and I enjoy the freedom of exercising my research talents
to solve problems that can directly improve the human condition. My creative energy and experiences over the past 17
years have been channeled into engineered tissues research; the creative findings are as a result of working with
individuals of uniquely different technical backgrounds. My publication and intellectual property development record
demonstrate my commitment to biomaterials innovation. During 2014-2016, I assumed responsibilities as Vice President
for Research at Kansas State University; hence, the recent disruption to my research program. I am now embedded in
the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia and excited to have the opportunity to bridge clinical work
with biomedical research. I have, with my mentees, over 100 publications, over 145 technical presentations, over $18
million in research funding, and received over 30 awards/honors (with an additional 67 to my students). Most importantly,
my team’s research led, over a decade ago, to the startup of a highly successful company that builds 3D tissue test
systems and now contracts with pharma to provide personalized therapeutic options for cancer patients.

Vision & Purpose:

I have served in a variety of leadership roles for the US Society For Biomaterials, including service as President, as Biomaterials Forum editor, and as US delegate to the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (IUSBSE). I was honored to be elected to the College of Fellows in 2016. I would be delighted to serve on the Steering Committee for the College and herewith provide a few thoughts as to future College directions. I strongly believe Fellowship is more than an honorific designation, it is in fact a call to ongoing leadership; we as Fellows are charged with serving as role models, leaders and mentors. I believe we first must review, solicit input and update the mission and scope of the College of Fellows and its bylaws, including its relationship to the IUSBSE and the Member Societies. We must seek to communicate our discussions and decisions in a multi-modal, thoughtful fashion so that all members of the College and the biomaterials community have the opportunity to engage and we must consistently review, audit, and refine our approach and activities. In addition to supporting existing College functions, I propose spearheading a discussion to determine areas of future focus and priority for the College – e.g. providing thought leadership for biomaterials issues of global relevance, mentoring of students and junior researchers/practitioners, disseminating biomaterials information to non-biomaterials communities. I propose invigorating the College of Fellows to proactively engage with mentees through our respective Member meetings, in the way most meaningful to each Member society. We must conduct a customer discovery exercise to determine how Fellows wish to engage with each other and the biomaterials community at large in new and meaningful ways and we must enhance communication with Member societies. I also propose planning networking events for Fellows from the aggregate Member societies. Most importantly, I propose we defy the 80/20 rule of engagement for any volunteer organization (80% of the work/engagement completed by 20% of the membership) and seek to invigorate the majority of our Fellows.