Sokolowski Lab

Drosophila Research by Max Licht

We are interested in how DNA variation predisposes organisms to be more or less affected by their experiences (gene-environment interactions), how our experience gets embedded in our biology (epigenetics) and finally how DNA variation interacts with epigenetic processes to affect behavior.

Experiential affects, like developmental ones can occur on different time scales. For example nutritional or social adversity (or enrichment) can occur throughout an organisms life, in early life alone with enduring effects on later life stages, or acutely over a matter of minutes or hours.

To address these issues we take a genetic perspective using mostly Drosophila melanogaster but also rats and humans and consider both candidate single genes and candidate pathways. This approach provides interesting opportunities and challenges because many genes and pathways that modulate behavior have multiple functions (pleiotropy) and do themselves exhibit plastic responses to experience.