Sokolowski Lab

Sokolowski Lab

Genes, Environment & Behaviour

Hiwote Belay


Previous Degrees

  • M.Sc. Neuroscience (University of Toronto at Scarborough)
  • B.Sc. Biology (York University)

Degree Pursuing

  • PhD Biology/Genetics, Department of Cell and Systems Biology


Lovic V, Belay H, Walker CD, Burton CL, Meaney MJ, Sokolowski M, Fleming AS. 2013. Early postnatal experience and DRD2 genotype affect dopamine receptor expression in the rat ventral striatum. Behav Brain Res. Jan 15;237:278-82

Belay, H, Lovic, V, Burton, C, Meaney, M, Sokolowski, M.B, Fleming, A. 2011. Early adversity and serotonin transporter genotype interact with hippocampal glucocorticoid receptor mRNA expression, corticosternone, and behavior in adult male rats. Behavioral Neuroscience. 125(2): 150 – 160.

Belay, H.T., Brown I.R. (2006) Cell death and expression of heat shock protein Hsc70 in the hyperthermic rat brain. Journal of Neuroscience. 97: 116-119

Belay, H.T., Brown I.R. (2003) Spatial analysis of cell death and Hsp70 induction in brain, thymus and bone marrow of the hyperthermic rat. Cell Stress and Chaperones. 8: 395-404

Research Summary

I joined the Sokolowski lab as a PhD student in 2008. I am interested in understanding the influence of naturally occurring genetic polymorphisms on individual behavioral differences. I am particularly interested in identifying genetic variations which interact with stressful environmental changes. My thesis focuses on developing a model for Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), a seasonal mood disorder presumed to result due to the short photoperiod associated with winter and fall. Using natural variants of Drosophila melanogaster at the circadian locus, timeless, I analyze the behavioral responses to a winter-like decrease in day-length.


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