C. Sue Carter, PhD

Dr. Carter’s research program focuses on the neurobiology of social monogamy in prairie voles, including pair bonding and biparental care. The long-term goal of these studies is to develop translational animal models for understanding the possible role of neuropeptide hormones, including oxytocin, vasopressin and CRF, in human disorders such as autism or anxiety. These models are currently being used to examine the hypothesis that perinatal social experiences or hormonal experiences may produce epigenetic changes that influence subsequent social behavior and neuroendocrine responses to challenge. Recent studies have demonstrated that in male voles exposure to an infant can release oxytocin and reduce corticosterone, which may in turn increase neurogenesis. Dr. Carter also has studied endocrine changes associated with human behavior, including studies that demonstrate the physiological benefits of lactation to the mother. She has edited or co-edited four volumes dealing with the neurobiology of sexual and social behaviors. Dr. Carter was recipient of a Research Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, and currently directs two NIH RO1 grants aimed at discovering neuroendocrine mechanisms through which social behavior regulates the nervous system. She is also involved in studies of the impact of neuropeptide hormones on human behavior, including disorders such as autism. Dr. Carter is past president of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.


The 2007 Conference