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Karen Meysick, PhD

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Karen Meysick, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Microbiology

6 George Lynn Cross Hall
770 Van Vleet Oval 
Norman, OK 73019


BSc, Biology,  University of Windsor 1987
MSc, Microbiology,  University of Ottawa 1990
PhD, Microbiology, University of Ottawa 1996
Postdoc, Uniformed Services University 1996-2000

Research areas:
Science education

Research Interest:
How do pathogenic microbes evade our immune defenses and cause disease?

How do we identify the causative agent of an infectious disease?

How do vaccines that protect us against these pathogenic invaders actually work?

These are the types of questions I’ve always found really interesting.  That’s why after I received my BSc I decided to pursue my post-graduate training in microbial pathogenesis.  Throughout the years I’ve worked on all sorts of different disease-causing organisms ranging from uropathogenic E. coli (a microbe frequently associated with urinary tract infections), Yersinia species, including those that can cause food-borne illness as well as those that cause plague, and even a eukaryotic protozoan associated with a sexually transmitted disease!  In particular I’ve been interested in understanding how the virulence factors (aka toxins) secreted by these organisms contribute to the diseases they cause.  Before coming to OU I even worked at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Washington, DC, helping to assess how well certain vaccines against bacterial infections worked in providing protection.  Here at OU my primary responsibility within the department involves teaching and my normal course load includes classes like the Introductory Microbiology course for nursing majors, Basic Immunology, Pathogenic Microbiology Lab as well as coordinating the Fundamentals of Microbiology labs for our majors.