Marla Sokolowski

faculty_img Academic Title: University Professor

Campus: St. George

CSB Appointment: Cross Appointment

Primary Undergraduate Department:
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Programs:
Cell & Systems Biology
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Titles and Honors:
University Professor
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Weston Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Academic or Administrative Appointments:
Co-director of the Child and Brain Development Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Ph.D. University of Toronto 1981
B.Sc. University of Toronto 1973


Mailing Address
Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
25 Willcocks St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3B2


Contact Information
Office phone: 416-978-8501
Office: ESC 3040
Lab: ESC 2065/RW 508
Lab phone: 416-978-3139


Research Areas



Prof Sokolowski has trail-blazed the development of a branch of Behaviour Genetics that addresses the genetic, molecular, environmental underpinnings of natural individual differences in behaviour and is best known for her discovery of the foraging gene. Her award winning innovative work is esteemed worldwide as a clear, integrative mechanistic paragon of the manner in which genes interact with the environment and impact behaviour.


Selected Publications

1. *Anreiter, I. Sokolowski, M.B. 2018. Deciphering pleiotropy: how complex genes regulate behavior. Communicative and Integrative Biology, DOI: 10.1080/19420889.2018.1447743

2. *Anreiter, I., Sokolowski, H.M. Sokolowski, M.B. 2017. Gene-environment interplay in behavior. Mind Brain and Education (published Dec 2017, DOI: 10.1111/mbe.12158).

3. Jonas, W. Fleming, A. Stener, M. Meaney, M.J. Atkinson, L. Mileva, V. Sokolowski, M. Kennedy, J. 2017. Early adversity symptoms of depression and adversity. European Psychiatriy 41:S30

4. +Williams K.D. and Sokolowski, M.B. Phenotypic plasticity and insect behaviour. Chapter 5. In Insect Behavior from mechanisms to ecological and evolutionary consequences. Alex Córdoba Aguilar, Daniel González-Tokman & Isaac González-Santoyo (Editors). Cambridge University Press. (in press Oct 2017).

5. *Patrícia P. Silveira, Irina Pokhvisneva, I., Hélène Gaudreau, Leslie Atkinson, Alison S. Fleming, Marla B. Sokolowski, Meir Steiner, James L. Kennedy, Laurette Dubé, Robert D. Levitan, Michael J. Meaney, on behalf of the MAVAN research team. 2017. Fetal growth interacts with multilocus genetic score reflecting dopamine signaling capacity and predicts spontaneous palatable food intake in children. Appetite. 2017 Oct 14;120:596-601. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.10.021.

6. *Anreiter, I. Kramer, J.M., Sokolowski. M.B. 2017. Epigenetic mechanisms modulate differences in Drosophila foraging behavior. PNAS Nov 21;114(47):12518-12523. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1710770114. Epub 2017 Oct 16. Received a 3 page commentary in PNAS entitled Epigenetic switch turns on genetic behavioral variations by Y. Ben Shahar, 2017.

7. *Hughson BN, *Anreiter I, Jackson Chornenki NL, Murphy KR, Ja WW, Huber R, Sokolowski MB. 2017. The adult foraging assay (AFA) detects strain and food-deprivation effects in feeding-related traits of Drosophila melanogaster. J Insect Physiol. Aug 30. pii: S0022-1910(17)30108-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2017.08.011. (*co first authors).

8. *Malé, P-J.*, Turner, K.M.*, Doha, M., Anreiter, I., Allen, A.M., Sokolowski, M.B., Frederickson, M.E. 2017. An ant-plant mutualism through the lens of cGMP-dependent kinase genes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences. Sept 13:284(1862). pii: 20170896. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0896.* shared first authors.

9. *Wang, S. and Sokolowski, M.B. 2017. Aggressive behaviours, food-deprivation and the foraging gene. Royal Society Open Science 4: 170042.

10. *Allen, A.M., Anreiter, I., Neville M.C., Sokolowski, M.B. 2017. Feeding-related traits are affected by dosage of the foraging gene in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 205, 761-773. Feb. doi: 10.1534/genetics.116.197939. Chosen for a highlight in Genetics and AAAS news eurekalert

11. *Sokolowski, H.M., Vasquez, O.E., Unternaehrer, E., Sokolowski, D.J. Biergans, S.D., Atkinson, L., Gonzalez, A., Silveira, P.P., Levitan, R., O’Donnell, K.J., Steiner, M., Kennedy, J., Meaney, M.J., Fleming, A.S., Sokolowski M.B. on behalf of the MAVAN and Toronto Longitudinal Cohort research teams. (2017). The Drosophila foraging gene human orthologue PRKG1 predicts individual differences in the effects of early adversity on maternal sensitivity. Cognitive Development 42: 62-73.