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Liz Karr

Liz Karr, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of the Graduate College
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Plant Biology

(405) 325-3811

Meet Liz Karr

Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Microbiology

Dr. Liz Karr joined the Graduate College in July 2020. Dr. Karr’s leadership and history of innovation in graduate education are helping the Graduate College maintain graduate student enrollments through recruitment and retention initiatives in a challenging environment. She is involved in many Graduate College initiatives, including drafting employment policies for graduate students and postdocs, outreach to students and departments, and enhancing faculty skills in mentoring graduate students and postdocs. Dr. Karr also oversees the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA). Recently, she has collaborated with partners at other institutions on a project aimed at increasing graduate student retention, GradThriving.


Graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members are welcome to contact Dr. Karr for confidential consultations and advice. To schedule, email her assistant Tracy Fowlkes.


Before joining the Graduate College, Dr. Karr was director of the graduate program in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology from January 2017 through June 2020. In that capacity, she worked with faculty on numerous reforms to improve graduate student recruitment, academic performance, evaluation, professional development, and support. She has served on Faculty Senate, Research Council, and as Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Executive Committee.


Dr. Karr received her BS in Biology from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, and her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She went on to The Ohio State University as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow and joined the faculty at OU in 2007. Throughout her career, her research has ranged from ecosystem-level studies of microorganisms in extreme environments to how microorganisms sense and respond to stress at the molecular level while conserving energy. Her work has been published in top microbiology journals. Her research program has been funded by the Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Price Family Foundation, Inc.


For more information about her research, visit her faculty page: