Allison Knoll

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Children's Hospital of Los Angeles

Allison   Knoll

Research Topics

  • Genetic basis of individual differences in typical social behavior and cognition
  • Influence of genetic background on risk/resilience for impairments associated with common genetic risk variants for autism spectrum disorder.
  • Influence of strain genetics on response to early-life stress
  • Influence of strain genetics, experience, and social context on vocal communication repertoires

Research Images

Mouse Ultrasonic Profile ExTraction (MUPET) software user interfaceUltrasonic vocalization (USV) repertoire for DBA/2 strain males built using MUPETMouse strain differences in affiliative partner sniffing Quantitative trait locus mapping for USV number, with a significant locus on chromosome 18

Research Overview

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.

Contact Information

Mailing Address
Office Location CHLA Saban Building
Office Phone (323) 442-2776
Lab Location USC Ray R. Irani Hall
Lab Phone
Office Location CHLA Saban Building


  • PhD (2010) Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

Selected Publications

  • 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. PubMed
  • 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. PubMed
  • 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. PubMed