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ADVANCE Scholar Award Seminar and Networking Reception: Oxytocin−Social Bonding, Autism, and Women’s Health with Karen Bales
Davis, CA

Dr. Karen Bales received the prestigious UC Davis ADVANCE Scholar Award, for her outstanding research and contributions to mentorship, on February 23, 2015. As part of the ADVANCE Scholar Award Seminar and Networking Reception, Dr. Bales gave an exciting lecture on “Oxytocin−Social Bonding, Autism, and Women’s Health” to a well-attended audience of over 40 attendees.

Dr. Bales summarized results of studies on clinical and pharmaceutical manipulations of oxytocin as well as neuroanatomical studies. Dr. Bales also presented a series of studies aimed at determining the long-term effects of developmental exposure to intranasal oxytocin. It was concluded that the effects of intranasal oxytocin may be long-lasting, different by sex, may differ between rodent species and between rodents and primates, and obstetric and other clinical uses of oxytocin that may have long-lasting effects on offspring.

Dr. Karen Bales received her Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Maryland and has been faculty at UC-Davis since 2004. Her work on social bonds has included studying cooperatively breeding marmosets and tamarins in the laboratory and in the wild, as well as working with socially monogamous prairie voles and titi monkeys. Currently, her research focuses on the hormone oxytocin and its role in social bonding. She uses animal models to examine how human health practices using oxytocin, such as the use artificial oxytocin (Pitocin) to induce labor, and the use of intranasal oxytocin to treat developmental disorders such as autism, can potentially affect social behavior, neural systems, and reproductive biology. 

She was the recipient of the 2002 Burroughs-Wellcome/American Society of Primatologists Young Investigator Award, an NSF ADVANCE Individual Fellow Award, is a Kavli Fellow and the President of the American Society of Primatologists. Her research has been funded by NSF, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and the Good Nature Institute. In addition to mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students in her laboratory, she is the Graduate Advisor for the Psychology Graduate Group.

For more information about the UC Davis ADVANCE program please visit our website: http://ucd-advance.ucdavis.edu

About the ADVANCE Scholar Award Program

The ADVANCE Scholar Awards is a newly instituted, prestigious award program and lecture series that will be held in conjunction with the Faculty Networking Receptions. The events are widely advertised and target a multidisciplinary audience of faculty, post-doctoral scholars and students.  The intent of the program is to encourage research leadership and outreach to underserved communities and/or mentorship or underrepresented students, and to highlight and celebrate the contributions that women STEM faculty at UC Davis have made to their respective fields.

Two ADVANCE Scholars awarded in 2014-2015 are delivering campus lectures on their research and mentorship activities: Karen Bales, Professor of Psychology and Tina Jeoh, Assistant Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. 

For more information about the ADVANCE Scholar Award Program, please visit the UC Davis ADVANCE Mentorship and Networking Initiative webpage.