Karen Holbrook, Ph.D. USF System Senior Vice President for
Global Affairs & International Research,
Professor of Molecular Medicine, Retired

Karen Holbrook

Karen Holbrook, Ph.D.

Dr. Karen Holbrook was elected to the Board of Trustees for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in June 2007. She serves as a member of the Committee on Trustees, Executive, and International Affairs committees.

Dr. Holbrook recently retired from the USF System Senior Vice President for Global Affairs & International Research and a Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida, one of the nation's top public research universities designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Prior to her appointment at the University of South Florida, Dr. Holbrook retired from the Presidency of Ohio State, the largest university in the nation, after serving from 2002 to 2007.

At Ohio State, Dr. Holbrook made cutting-edge research a priority and an integral part of the educational process at all levels of the university. As a result, Ohio State’s sponsored research funding topped $652 million, an all-time high, with $100 million earmarked for 10 high-impact research projects such as climate change and public health preparedness. In the category of research expenditures, the National Science Foundation now ranks Ohio State eighth in the nation among public universities.

Before joining Ohio State, Dr. Holbrook held executive-level positions at the University of Georgia and the University of Florida. She spent the majority of her academic career as a professor of biological structure and medicine at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.

Dr. Holbrook earned a B.S. and M.S. degrees in zoology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a Ph.D. in biological structure from the University of Washington, School of Medicine, where she pursued postdoctoral training in the Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology.

Dr. Holbrook is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the President’s Award for Leadership in Technology Development from TechColumbus in 2007, the Empowered Woman Award from the Women Presidents’ Organization in 2006, and the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award in 2006.

She is married to Jim Holbrook, a retired oceanographer and past deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Research Laboratory in Seattle. She and her husband have one son, James.

Faculty and Student Delegates