Karen Gale

Professor of Pharmacology
Ph.D., Psychology
University of Washington, 1975

Dr. Karen Gale passed away on August 21st, 2014.  A memorial service will be held on
Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm.
Copley Formal Lounge in Copely Hall
Georgetown University

Closest entrance is at O or P St along 37th St 

 Reception to follow memorial at 
The Dahlgren Quadrangle
(see below for rsvp)
 (a short walk south of Copley Hall) or inside the adjacent Healy Hall, if it is raining.
RSVP  -  If possible, to aid with planning seating, please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing Tina Underhill at  jju@georgetown.edu.  

Gifts to help found "The Karen Gale Memorial Lecture for Women in Neuroscience" can be sent

(1) by check to:
Georgetown University Advancement Office
P.O. Box 571253
Washington, D.C. 20057-1253
Please make checks payable to "Georgetown University" and include "Dr. Karen Gale Memorial Lecture" in the memo field.
(2) via our secure website.
(a)  Go to giving.georgetown.edu
(b)  Click on "Make a Gift" on the left side of the screen
(c)  Under "Direct Your Gift" click "Other"
(d)  Type in "Dr. Karen Gale Memorial Lecture"
(e)  Complete any other fields, as necessary
(f)  Click "Submit My Gift"

Dr. Karen Gale passed away on August 21st, 2014. A memorial service and celebration of Dr. Gale’s life, planned by the Gale family along with colleagues in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, will be taking place on September 21st at Georgetown.

The family and close colleagues are setting up a lectureship fund in Dr. Gale’s memory through the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology and the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience. This lectureship will be dedicated to Outstanding Women in Neuroscience, with the initial funds provided by Dr. Gale’s recent awards. Information on the memorial service and making gifts in Dr. Gale’s memory are noted above. Dr. Gale is survived by her husband, Dr. Charles Underhill, daughters Tina and Ali Underhill, and her brother Dr. Howard Gale. Remembrances can be sent to Tina Underhill (jju@georgetown.edu).



Laboratory research projects focus on specific neural networks in the brain and their role in neurological disorders. Currently, special attention is devoted to the limbic system and the basal ganglia, with respect to glutamate and GABA-mediated influences on epileptic seizures and memory. Also under investigation are neural substrates of Parkinsonism and cocaine-induced hyperkinesias.

My co-workers and I have identified the substantia nigra as a critical site of action of GABA agonists and glutamate antagonists for protecting against experimental seizures. We have discovered a crucial site in the prepiriform cortex (named area tempestas) of the rat and monkey, from which complex partial epileptic seizures can be triggered. Our current research is aimed at determining how GABA, glutamate, serotonin, and norepinephrine interact in these brain regions to influence forebrain excitability.

In experiments, drugs are applied into discrete regions of the brain of awake animals to selectively manipulate local synaptic transmission. Acute behavioral and EEG seizure activity are evaluated, as well as short and long term molecular changes (e.g., in the expression of genes encoding neurotrophic factors) in response to seizure activity.

Related projects under development include: a) patch clamp recordings of area tempestas neurons in brain slices; b) the use of viral vectors to manipulate the genetic expression of enzymes involved in the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters in specific brain regions in vivo in an attempt to reduce seizure susceptibility; c) positron emission tomography (PET) studies of changes in regional brain metabolism during seizures; and d) determining the role of glutamate transmission in piriform cortex for recognition memory.

Selected Publications:

Click here to do a Medline Search for all publications of Karen Gale