Dr. Zoe Donaldson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. She joined the faculty
after completing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University and pursuing post-doctoral training at
Columbia University. She studies how close social bonds, such as those that mediate friendships and
romantic love, are encoded in the brain. In order to understand the cells and molecules that make
bonding possible, her lab uses monogamous prairie voles. Unlike rats and mice, these rodents forms
lifelong pair bonds between mates akin to human romantic partnerships. By examining the neurobiology
underlying these bonds and what happens when they are lost, she hopes to identify novel treatments
for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr. Donaldson’s research is funded by the Whitehall Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and
the National Institutes of Health. Her work has been highlight in the Economist, and she routinely works
with the National Academies of Science’s Science and Entertainment Exchange to encourage the
accurate representation of science in art and film. Her work with them includes an award for “Most
Diabolical” movie murder plot from the Austin Film Festival.