Zoe Donaldson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in the Department of Psychiatry
Zoe Donaldson is a neurogeneticist interested in what it is that makes people different. She seeks to understand how a mixture of genetic and environmental influences results in variations in personality, behavior, and physiology. While pursuing her Ph.D. at Emory University, Zoe focused on the link between genes and behavior. Working with prairie voles, a small monogamous rodent, her research highlights how genetic diversity leads to differences in social behavior. As a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar at Columbia University, she is interested in the reciprocal process of how our experiences are integrated biologically. She plans to pursue parallel human and animal experiments to investigate the epigenetic encoding of social experience in order to understand why some individuals are more profoundly influenced by social interactions than others. Such work has the potential to identify biological correlates of risk and resiliency which may have important implications for interventions in "at risk" populations.