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Associate Professor
Karen Bolla

Departmental Affiliations

School of Medicine

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Info


Research Interests

  • neuropsychology
  • drug abuse
  • behavioral neurotoxicology
  • aging
Experiences & Accomplishments

Dr. Bolla's research focuses on exploring brain-behavior relationships in the areas of :1) substance abuse (alcohol, cocaine, MDMA, heroin, methadone, marijuana); 2) neurotoxicant exposures; and 3) normal and abnormal aging, using neurocognitive measures.  She is also interested in sleep medicine and sleep disorders associated with substance abuse and drug withdrawal. Within the area of substance abuse her current interests concentration on the neurobiological effects of heavy marijuana use.

Dr. Bolla's has also been involved in international studies including: 1) neurocognitive effects of lead exposure in Korean workers; and 2) cognitive effects of alcohol and heroin in Russian substance abusers. Dr. Bolla has hosted students and visiting scientists from Brazil and Spain.

Select Publications
  • Bolla, K.I., Rothman, R., Cadet, J.L. Dose-Related Neurobehavioral Effects of Chronic Cocaine Use. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 11(3):361-369, 1999.

  • Stewart, W.F., Schwartz, B.S., Simon, D., Bolla, K.I., Todd, A.C., Links, J. The Relation between Neurobehavioral Function and Tibial and Chelatable Lead Levels in 543 Former Organolead Manufacturing Workers. Neurology, 52(8):610-617, 1999. Bolla, K.I., Funderburk, FR, Cadet, JL. Differential Effects of Cocaine and Cocaine + Alcohol on Neurocognitive Performance. Neurology, 54(12):2285-2291, 2000.

  • Schwartz, BS, Stewart, WF, Bolla, KI, Simon, D., Bandeen-Roche, K, Gordon, B, Todd, AC, Links, JM. Past Adult Lead Exposure Is Associated With Longitudinal Decline In Neurobehavioral Function. Neurology, 55(2):1144-1150, 2000.

  • Schwartz, BS, Lee, BK, Lee, GS, Stewart, WF, Lee SS, Hwang, KY, Dong, K, Kim, YB, Bolla, KI, Simon, D, Parsons, P, Todd, AC. Associations of Blood Lead, Dimercaptosuccinic Acid- chelatable Tibia Lead with Neurobehavioral Test Scores in South Korean Lead Workers. American J. of Epidemiology, 153(5):453-464, 2001.

  • Hwang, KY, Lee, BK, Bressler, JP, Bolla, KI, Stewart, WF, Schwartz, BS. Protein Kinase C Activity and the Relations Between Blood Lead and Neurobehavioral Function in Lead Workers. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110(2):133-138, 2002.