Ellen Ketterson received her A.B. (1966), M.A. (1968), and Ph.D. (1974) degrees from Indiana University. She pursued postdoctoral studies at Washington State University, taught briefly at Bowling Green State University, and joined the faculty at IU Bloomington in 1984 as an associate professor. She was promoted to Distinguished Professor of Biology in 2006. She is director of the Environmental Resilience Institute and also affiliated with the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, the Neuroscience Program, the Cognitive Science program, and the Kinsey Institute.
Professor Ketterson studies the evolution and ecology of behavior and physiology in a songbird species, the dark-eyed junco. Her work, much of which has been conducted in the field, is done in collaboration with Val Nolan Jr. Professor Ketterson focuses on migratory and reproductive behavior, with an emphasis on sex differences, including the role of hormones in the evolution of mating systems and parental behavior. She addresses sex and gender in animals and seeks common themes in the vast diversity of reproductive modes found in nature.
Professor Ketterson has served at Vice President of the American Ornithologists's Union, President of the Board of Governors of the Kinsey Institute, and Editor or Associate Editor of nine scientific journals. She is co-founder of the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, a Guggenheim Fellow, and the recipient of numerous awards for career achievement. She has advised 14 Ph.D. students and 14 post-doctoral students. She teaches courses in the Biology of Birds, Behavioral Ecology, and Professional Ethics for the Bio-behavioral Sciences.
Ketterson received the IU Bicentennial Medal in September 2020 in recognition of her distinguished contributions to Indiana University.