Professor Karen Spencer

University of St Andrews

Professor Karen Spencer is a Behavioural Neuroendocrinologist based within the School of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She began her scientific career as a Zoology graduate from the University of London then moved to her spiritual home of Scotland to undertake a PhD integrating physiological and ecological approaches to understand how body state influenced reproductive decision making in a range of bird species. Since this time Prof. Spencer has worked in several institutions across the UK and Europe (e.g. Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, Groningen). Throughout her career her work has retained the integrative and multi-disciplinary approach that she was inspired by during her PhD and her current research interests are diverse, including understanding basic neuroendocrine mechanisms, developmental biology, animal behaviour, animal welfare and species ecology, ecotoxicology and conservation. Prof. Spencer continues to focus on birds as her model taxonomic group, due to their amazing diversity in ecology, behaviour and development and she has built a dynamic and active research group, the Mechanisms of Behaviour group focusing on all these aspects. She is passionate about collaboration and currently has active collaborations all over the World, with academic institutions, SMEs and NGOs and government departments and this has led to exciting opportunities for knowledge exchange. Prof. Spencer currently lives in a small village with a sea view with her partner, two children and a range of pets.