Karen L. Bales

Karen Bales

Position Title

  • Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
1129 Green Hall

Research Interests

Professor Bales studies the neurobiology and physiology of pair bonding in socially monogamous species. She works with prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus), and lined seahorses (Hippocampus erectus), all species in which males and females form pair-bonds, and males have a role in infant care. In particular, she is interested in the role of neuropeptides such as oxytocin and vasopressin in these behaviors, as well as the effects of early experiences on the development of these behaviors. She is currently investigating the mechanisms for pair bonding in seahorses; the role of pair bond quality in healthy aging in prairie voles; and the role of the kappa opioid receptor in titi monkey pair bonds.

Graduate Program Affiliations

Education and Degree(s)
  • 1993 B.A. in Anthropology, minor in Biology, University of New Orleans
  • 1995 M.A. in Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • 2000 Ph.D. in Biology, University of Maryland
  • 2000-2004 Postdoc in Psychiatry, University of Illinois, Chicago