Karen Williams

Karen Williams

Previous Degrees

  • Ph.D. Biology (York University, 2001). Supervisor: Marla Sokolowski.
  • M.Sc. Biology (York University, 1992). Supervisor: Marla Sokolowski.
  • B.Sc. Biology and Environmental Science (University of Toronto, 1990)

Current Position

  • Research Associate, Sokolowski Lab


Williams, K.D., Schmidt, P.S. and Sokolowski, M.B. 2010. Photoperiodism in insects: molecular basis and consequences of diapause. IN Photoperiodism: The Biological Calendar. Nelson, R.J., Denlinger, D. L. and Somers, D. (eds) Oxford University Press. ISBN10: 0195335902.

Williams, K.D.  and Sokolowski, M.B., 2009. Evolution: How fruit flies adapt to seasonal stresses. Current Biology 19: R63-R64.

Williams, K.D., Suster, ML., So, A.K-C., Busto, M., Ben-Shahar, Y.,Leevers, S.J. and Sokolowski, M.B. 2006.  Natural variation in Drosophila melanogaster diapause due to the insulin-regulated PI3-kinase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:15911-15915. Chosen as one of NSERC’s top 50 papers for 2006.

Williams, K.D., Helin, A.B., Posulszny, J., Roberts, S. and Feder, M. 2003. Effect of heat shock, pretreatment and hsp70 copy number on wing development in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Ecology 12: 1165-1177.

Williams, R.W., Dubnau, J., Enoch, M.A., Flaherty, L., Slayler, F., Gannon, K.S., Maxson, S.C., Riedl, C.A., Williams, K.D., Holmes, A., Bolivar V.J. and Crusio, W.E. 2002. Hot topics in behavioral and neural genetics. Genes Brain Behavior 1:117-130.

Williams, K.D. and Sokolowski, M.B. 1993. Diapause in Drosophila melanogaster females: a genetic analysis. Heredity 71: 312-317.

Research Summary

All organisms must deal with change: changes in seasons, changes during development, and the changes in stress resistance that accompany ageing. My research interests are in elucidating the genetic basis of insect responses to changing environments. I am interested in responses to changing internal environments that occur during development and adaptations to changing external environments such as seasonally occurring stress. I use the well established genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster with its extensive literature indicating that many studies on fruit flies have relevance for other insects, mammals and humans.