Karen G. Hales ’87, Ph.D.
Vivian Webb School
Karen G. Hales '87 is a professor of biology at Davidson College. She received her doctorate in genetics from Stanford University. In her research with undergraduate students, Hales identifies and characterizes genes in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster that control the shaping and placement of mitochondria (power plants of the cell) within developing sperm cells.
Such genes often control mitochondria in nerve cells, and human versions have been found by other researchers to be associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Hales's research has been funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award.