Subscribe to our mailing list  |  Search:  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Jefferson Science Fellowship
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs
Fellows Directory



Karen Lips
University of Maryland, College Park

Dr. Karen Lips is Professor of Biology and Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Lips received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Miami. She is a field ecologist who studies how global change – wildlife disease, climate change, land use – affects biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles in Latin America and the U.S., especially the Appalachian Mountains. A primary focus of her research is determining the ecological and environmental factors that influence amphibian species' response to disease, and how that information might be used in conservation and recovery plans. She is also interested in how the loss of biodiversity affects communities and ecosystems, and how human activities such as trade and exotic species contribute to the spread of disease and loss of biodiversity. Dr. Lips is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and at the U.S. Museum of Natural History. Dr. Lips has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on amphibian ecology, host-pathogen ecology, and tropical biology. She co-organized RANA, an NSF–funded international network of researchers working on amphibian disease ecology throughout Latin America, and has offered many training courses in amphibian ecology and biodiversity sampling. She was named a Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow in 2015, an AAAS Fellow in 2011, and a Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2005. She was awarded the President's Award of the Chicago Zoological Society in 1997, a Bay and Paul Biodiversity Leadership Award in 1998, and the Sabin Amphibian Conservation Award in 2012. In 2015, she received the inaugural University of Maryland Impact Communicator Award. Dr. Lips is interested in increasing engagement on environmental issues, promoting scientific leadership, and fostering international scientific collaborations.

State Department Profile

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Office of Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy

Karen Lips served as an advisor in WHA/PDA on issues related to environmental science, climate change, sustainable development, emerging infectious diseases, STEM education, and women in STEM. She supported office programs such as the 100000 Strong in the Americas, the Young Leaders of the Americas Institute, and various science and education-themed International Visitors Leadership Programs. In addition to supporting her colleagues in WHA in DC Karen traveled to posts in the region to talk with science leaders, government officials, and educators about science and educational issues. Karen is part of several groups working on ways to promote greater coverage of science in the media, and to strengthen collaborations between scientists and policymakers in Latin America and the Caribbean.