Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D.

University of Maryland

Tracy L. Bale, Ph.D. is a Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry, and Director of the Center for Epigenetic Research in Child Health and Brain Development in the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr. Bale completed her Ph.D. at the University of Washington and her postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute with Dr. Wylie Vale. She was previously a Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania for 15 years. Dr. Bale was recruited to the University of Maryland School of Medicine as a STRAP recruit and the Director of the Center for Epigenetic Research in Child Health and Brain Development.  

Dr. Bale’s research focuses on understanding the role of stress dysregulation in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases, and the sex differences that underlie disease vulnerability. Her groundbreaking work has uncovered the molecular mechanisms by which the environment influences parental germ cell signals and placental trophoblast development, altering fetal brain development and maturation. Her lab is particularly interested in developing models of parental stress and the germ cell involvement in intergenerational epigenetic programming of neurodevelopment.

Her research also has a significant translational component, focusing on identifying biomarkers of disease risk and stress experience in semen, placental tissue, microbiome samples and plasma. In addition to building translational research across the campus, her Center has an extensive outreach component to facilitate building relationships in the Baltimore community and promoting a greater appreciation for the impact of the environment on child health and brain development. She serves on many advisory committees, panels, and boards, including the Scientific Advisory Board for the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, the Congressional Committee on Gulf War and Health for the National Academy of Sciences, and the Strategic Planning Committee for the National Institute of Child Health and Development.

She recently served as Chair of the NNRS CSR study section and was a Reviewing Editor at the Journal of Neuroscience. She is currently serving on the Press Committee for the Society for Neuroscience and the Education Committee for the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her research including the Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award by the Endocrine Society, the Medtronic Award from the Society for Women’s Health Research, the Daniel H. Efron award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the NIH Award from the International Federation of Placenta Associations, and the Joseph Erlanger Distinguished Lecturer Award from the American Physiological Society.