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Karen Holbrook

Karen Holbrook

Distinguished Fellow

Karen A. Holbrook, Ph.D., became the Interim President of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on April 18, 2016. She previously was the Senior Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida, where she also served as the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, followed by Senior Vice President for Global Affairs and International Research.


Dr. Holbrook served as the President of The Ohio State University from 2002-2007 and was previously the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Georgia; Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida; and Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Biological Structure and Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She has served on the boards of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Council of Education (ACE), the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (now APLU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), among others.


Dr. Holbrook has also participated on advisory panels and councils for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was a member of the Advisory Committee to the immediate past Director of the NIH (Elias Zerhouni). She currently serves on the boards of the Institute of International Education (IIE), CRDF Global, Bio-Techne, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and is the past board chair for Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). She is on the Board of Trustees for KAUST and was a member of the Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees for 10 years.


Earlier in her career, Dr. Holbrook was a biomedical researcher and NIH MERIT Award investigator. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a doctorate in biological structure at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where she served as a postdoctoral fellow in dermatology, faculty member and research administrator.


She is married to Jim Holbrook, a physical oceanographer who spent his career with NOAA at Pacific Marine Environmental Lab in Seattle, Wash., and in Washington, D.C. They have one married son, James, who is the Senior Art Director and Producer for ABC World News in New York City.

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