Parker Lab Social Neurosciences Research Program



Karen J. Parker, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Contact: kjp at [kjparker]


I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan. As a doctoral student in Dr. Theresa Lee’s Biopsychology laboratory, I investigated how oxytocin and vasopressin brain systems regulate social bond formation in rodents.

I continued to pursue my interest in social behavior while I was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University working with Dr. David Lyons and Dr. Alan Schatzberg. During my fellowship I studied both oxytocin biology and stress resilience.  

As a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, I have focused my research program on elucidating the biological mechanisms underlying complex social functioning, both in animal models and in patient populations. We have also initiated a series of interwoven translational projects, including biomarker development and treatment trials in autism.

When I am not writing grants or mentoring students in the laboratory, I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, hiking in the local redwood tree forests with my favorite canine, and spending time with my family.


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