Investigator, Research on Children, Youth and Families
Assistant Professor of Research Pediatrics
  • Summary
  • Publications
  • Research

Allison T. Knoll, PhD, earned her PhD in neurobiology from Harvard University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Pat Levitt, PhD, at The Saban Research Institute of CHLA and previously at the Zilka Neurogenetic Institute at USC. Knoll’s research examines the genetic and environmental basis of individual differences in typical social behavior and in risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.  She joined the department of Research on Children, Youth and Families in 2017 and is an assistant professor of research pediatrics with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.


Graduate School: 

Harvard University


Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Pat Levitt, PhD, University of Southern California and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles



BSc, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; PhD, Neurobiology, Harvard University

Professional Memberships: 

Society for Neuroscience: 2004-present


Autism Speaks Meixner Translational Postdoctoral Fellowship

Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship


Knoll, A.T., Jiang, K. and Levitt, P. QTL mapping and analysis of heritable variation in affiliative social behavior and co-occurring traits. Genes, Brain and Behavior. Genes, Brain and Behavior. 322:e12431, 2018. PMID: 29052939.

*Van Segbroeck, M., *Knoll, A.T., Levitt, P. and Narayanan, S. MUPET – Mouse Ultrasonic Profile ExTraction: A signal processing tool for rapid and unsupervised analysis of ultrasonic vocalizations. Neuron. 94(3): 465-485, 2017. PMID: 28472651. *Co-first authors

Knoll, A.T., Halladay, L.R., Holmes, A. and Levitt, P. Quantitative trait loci and a novel genetic candidate for fear learning. Journal of Neuroscience. 36(23): 6258-6268, 2016. PMID: 27277803.

Knoll, A.T., Muschamp, J.W., Sillivan, S.E., Ferguson, D., Dietz, D., Meloni, E.G., Carroll, F.I., Nestler, E.J., Konradi, C. and Carlezon, W.A. Jr. Kappa opioid receptor signaling in the basolateral amygdala regulates conditioned fear and anxiety in rats. Biological Psychiatry. 70(5): 425-433, 2011. PMID: 21531393.

Knoll, A.T. and Carlezon, W.A. Jr. Dynorphin, stress, and depression. Brain Research. 1314: 56-73, 2010. PMID: 19782055.

Research Interests: 

My research focuses on understanding the genetic and environmental basis of individual differences in typical social behavior and in risk for neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). We model genetic diversity using large families of recombinant inbred mouse strains in which genetic variation is extensive, fixed, and well-characterized. Current studies focus on 1) identifying genes that underlie strain differences in sociability and cognition using quantitative trait locus mapping and advanced gene validation strategies, 2) examining the interaction between genetic background and common genetic risk variants for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to identify the biological mechanisms underlying disorder risk/resilience, and 3) identifying the role of strain genetics in moderating risk/resilience to adverse outcomes associated with early-life stress. The goal of these studies is to understand the biology of heritable variation in sociability and cognition and to advance precision medicine approaches for the treatment of NDDs and early-adversity.