|Academic advisors||Arto Salomaa|
Professor Kari earned a master's degree at the University of Bucharest in 1987, studying there with Gheorghe Păun, and then moved to the University of Turku in Finland for her graduate studies, earning a Ph.D. in 1991 under the supervision of Arto Salomaa. She came to the University of Western Ontario as a visiting professor in 1993, and by 1996 had been hired there as a tenure-track faculty member. In 2017 she accepted a position of professor of computer science and University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo.
Kari's thesis research was in formal language theory. In the mid-1990s, inspired by an article by Leonard Adleman in Science, she shifted her interests to DNA computing. In her research, together with Laura Landweber, she has initiated and explored the study of computational power of DNA processing in ciliates, using her expertise to show that the DNA operations performed by genetic recombination in these organisms are Turing complete. Her more recent research has studied issues of nondeterminism and undecidability in self-assembly, as well as studies of biodiversity informatics, such as proposing alignment-free methods based on Chaos Game Representation of DNA genomic sequences to identify and classify species. 
Awards and honors
- Lila Kari at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Biography on the website of the Journal of Universal Computer Science. Retrieved February 22, 2012
- "Biocomputing researcher awarded the Bucke Prize", Western News, University of Western Ontario, March 21, 2002.
- "Careers in Nanobiotechnology: Through the Eyes of a Mathematician", Science Careers, February 2, 2001
- Landweber, Laura; Kari, Lila (1999), "The evolution of cellular computing: Nature's solution to a computational problem", Biosystems, 52 (1–3): 3–13, doi:10.1016/s0303-2647(99)00027-1.
- Adleman, Leonard; Kari, Jarkko; Kari, Lila; Reishus, Dustin; Sosik, Petr (2009), "The Undecidability of the Infinite Ribbon Problem: Implications for Computing by Self-Assembly.", SIAM J. Comput., 38 (6): 2356–2381, CiteSeerX 10.1.1.158.2098, doi:10.1137/080723971.
- Kari, Lila; Hill, Kathleen; Sayem, Abu; Karamichalis, Rallis; Bryans, Nathaniel; Davis, Katelyn; Dattani, Nikesh (2015), "Mapping the Space of Genomic Signatures", PLoS ONE, 10 (5): e0119815, arXiv:1406.4105, Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1019815K, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119815.
- Karamichalis, Rallis; Kari, Lila; Konstantinidis, Stavros; Kopecki, Steffen (2015), "An investigation into inter- and intragenomic variations of graphic genomic signatures", BMC Bioinformatics, 16: 246, arXiv:1503.00162, Bibcode:2015arXiv150300162K, doi:10.1186/s12859-015-0655-4, PMC 4527362, PMID 26249837.
- "The Rolf Nevanlinna doctoral thesis award". Archived from the original on June 23, 2007. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- Hamalainen, Anna-Liisa (December 1992), "Tytto joka haluaa kaiken" (PDF), Kodin Kuvalehti (in Finnish): 22–24
- "Canada Research Chairs: Lila Kari". Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2012.