Dr. Donaldson received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University in 2009.
She then moved to Columbia University in New York City where she was a post-doctoral fellow with
Dr. Rene Hen. Dr. Donaldson is joining the faculty of CU Boulder as a joint appointment in MCDB and
Psychology and Neuroscience in 2016.
The Donaldson Lab uses mice and a monogamous prairie voles to better understand the biological
and social risk factors for mood and anxiety disorders. Studies in her lab use genetic and viral
strategies, along with manipulations of the social environment to model aspects of depression risk.
In order to link genes, brain and behavior in this context, her lab uses vivo calcium imaging in
behaving animals. The goal of this research is to improve the efficacy of mental health interventions
and treatments through an understanding of neural mechanisms.
1. Donaldson ZR, Hen R (2015): From psychiatric disorders to animal models: a bidirectional and
dimensional approach. Biol Psychiatry. 77:15-21.
2. Donaldson ZR, Piel DA, Santos TL, Richardson-Jones J, Leonardo ED, Beck SG, et al. (2014):
Developmental effects of serotonin 1A autoreceptors on anxiety and social behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology.
3. Donaldson ZR, Young LJ (2013): The relative contribution of proximal 5' flanking sequence and
microsatellite variation on brain vasopressin 1a receptor (Avpr1a) gene expression and behavior. PLoS Genet.
4. Donaldson ZR, Yang SH, Chan AW, Young LJ (2009): Production of germline transgenic
prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) using lentiviral vectors. Biol Reprod. 81:1189-1195.
5. Donaldson ZR, Young LJ (2008): Oxytocin, vasopressin, and the neurogenetics of sociality. Science.