864-889-0519 chg@clemson.edu

Provost’s Distinguished Professor, Department of Genetics and Biochemistry
Director of Faculty Excellence, College of Science

Visit the Mackay-Anholt Lab

Email: ranholt@clemson.edu
Phone: 864-889-0521

Dr. Robert Anholt


A native of The Netherlands, Dr. Robert René Henri Anholt has built a career as a distinguished researcher and teacher in the field of genetics. In 2018, Anholt was named Provost’s Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Biochemistry, Department of Genetics and Biochemistry, College of Science, Clemson University, and the director of Faculty Excellence for Clemson’s College of Science. Anholt began his academic pursuits at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in 1973. He would go on to receive a Master of Science in biochemistry in 1975 from University College in London, and, in 1982, a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

He received an interim postdoctoral appointment from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland from 1982–1986. Anholt was an assistant professor in Duke University Medical Center’s departments of Physiology and Neurobiology from 1986-88 and from 1988–93, respectively. From 1992–93, he was a member of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. From 1993 through 2018, Anholt held several teaching positions at North Carolina State University. He was a research associate professor in the Department of Zoology (1993–96); an associate professor in the Department of Zoology (1996–2000); the program director for the W.M. Keck Program for Behavioral Biology (1998–2000), and founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology (2000–18); professor in the Department of Zoology (2000–08); the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Biology (2008–13); and the Willian Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences (2013–18). While at N.C. State, Anholt was also a member of the Genomics Sciences Faculty (2000–18); an associate member of the Department of Genetics (2000–13); a member of the Comparative Biomedical Sciences Program, College of Veterinary Medicine (2006–18); and a member of the Comparative Medicine Institute (2014–19). During his career, Anholt has received numerous awards and special recognitions for his work. He received the Martin Kamen award for most outstanding doctoral thesis in 1982 from the University of California, San Diego. In 2000, he received the Faculty Resource Development Award, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, N.C. State University. In 2011, he was named a top referee by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, and in 2016 he was honored with the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence at N.C. State University. From 2016–19, he was conferred an honorary professorate by China’s Beijing Forestry University. In 2023 he received the University Research, Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Award from Clemson University. In addition, Anholt is a member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been published more than 160 times, and is credited, with others, for four inventions relating to his research.


Anholt’s research focuses on dissecting the genetic architecture of behavior in the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, including olfactory and startle behaviors, phototaxis, aggression and locomotion, and developing Drosophila as a genetic model for identifying ensembles of genes that predispose to human disorders such as alcohol-related phenotypes, substance use disorders and rare genetic diseases.   His laboratory focuses on whole genome transcriptional analyses and the incorporation of state-of-the-art genomic strategies in studies on a wide range of phenotypes, with a special interest in the genetic underpinnings of phenotypic plasticity and genotype-environment interactions using systems approaches.  His research program is focused on establishing causal relationships between DNA sequence variants and variation in organismal phenotype. The Anholt laboratory has a long and productive history of synergistic collaborations with Dr. Trudy Mackay.


Yamamoto A, Huang W, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2024. The genetic basis of variation in Drosophila melanogaster mating behavior. iScience, in press.

Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2024. Pleiotropy, epistasis, and the genetic architecture of quantitative traits. Nat Rev Genet, EPub ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41576-024-00711-3

Mokashi SS, Shankar V, Johnstun JA, Mackay TFC and Anholt, RRH. 2023. Pleiotropic fitness effects of a Drosophila odorant binding protein. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 13, jkac307.

Lyman RF, Lyman RA, Yamamoto A, Huang W, Harbison ST, Zhou S, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2023. Natural genetic variation in a dopamine receptor is associated with variation in female fertility in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Roy Soc B 290, 20230375.

MacPherson RA, Shankar V, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2023. Genetic and genomic analyses of Drosophila melanogaster models of chromatin modification disorders. Genetics 224, iyad061.

Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2023. The genetic architecture of behavioral canalization. Trends Genet 39, 602-608.

The Precision Tox Consortium (95 authors, including R. Anholt). 2023. The Precision Toxicology Initiative. Toxicol Lett 383, 33-42.

Rand MD, Tennessen JM, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2023. Perspectives on the Drosophila melanogaster model for advances in toxicological science. Curr Protoc 3, e870.

Morozova TV, Shankar V, MacPherson RA, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2022. Modulation of the Drosophila transcriptome by developmental exposure to alcohol. BMC Genomics 23, 347.

Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2022. Gregor Mendel’s legacy in quantitative genetics. PLoS Biology 20, e3001692.

MacPherson RA, Shankar V, Sunkara LT, Hannah RC, Campbell III MR, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2022. Pleiotropic fitness effects of the lncRNA Uhg4 in Drosophila melanogaster. BMC Genomics 23, 781.

Walters JD, Hatfield JS, Baker BM, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2021. A high-throughput microplate feeder assay for the quantification of consumption in Drosophila. J Vis Exp 172, e62771.

Mokashi SS, Shankar V, MacPherson RA, Hannah RC, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2021. Developmental alcohol exposure in Drosophila: Effects on adult phenotypes and gene expression in the brain. Front Psychiatry 12, 699033.

Özsoy ED, Yilmaz M, Patlar B, Emecen G, Durmaz E, Magwire MM, Zhou S, Huang W, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2021. Epistasis for head morphology in Drosophila melanogaster. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 11, jkab285.

Nazario-Yepiz NO, Fernández Sobaberas J, Lyman R, Campbell MR III, Shankar V, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2021. Physiological and metabolomic consequences of reduced expression of the brummer triglyceride lipase. PLoS One 16, e0255198.

Huggett SB, Hatfield JS, Walters JD, McGeary J, Welsh J, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH and Palmer RHC. 2021. Ibrutinib as a potential therapeutic for cocaine use disorder. Transl Psychiatry 11, 623.

Baker BM, Carbone MA, Huang W, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2021.   Genetic basis of variation in cocaine and methamphetamine consumption in outbred populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118, e2104131118.

Johnstun JA, Shankar V, Mokashi SS, Sunkara LT, Ihearahu UE, Lyman RL, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2021. Functional diversification, redundancy and epistasis among paralogs of the Drosophila melanogaster Obp50a-d gene cluster. Mol Biol Evol 38, 2030-2044.

Baker BM, Mokashi SS, Shankar V, Hatfield JS, Hannah RC, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2021. The Drosophila brain on cocaine at single-cell resolution. Genome Res 31, 1927-1937.

Anholt RRH. 2020. Chemosensation and evolution of Drosophila host plant selection. iScience 23: 100799. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.100799.

Anholt RRH. 2020. Evolution of epistatic networks and the genetic basis of innate behaviors. Trends Genet36: 24-29. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2019.10.005.

Anholt RRH, Wolfner MF, O’Grady P and Harbison ST. 2020. Evolution of reproductive behavior. Genetics 214: 49-73. doi: 10.1534/genetics.119.302263.

Everett LJ, Huang W, Zhou S, Carbone MA, Lyman RF, Arya GH, Geisz MS, Ma J, Morgante F, St Armour G, Turlapati L, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2020. Gene expression networks in the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel.  Genome Res 30: 485-496. doi: 10.1101/gr.257592.119.

Huang W, Carbone MA, Lyman RFAnholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2020. Genotype by environment interaction for gene expression in Drosophila melanogasterNat Commun. 11: 5451. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19131-y.

Huang W, Campbell T, Carbone MA, Jones WE, Unselt D, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2020. Context-dependent genetic architecture of Drosophila lifespan. PLoS Biol 18: e3000645. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000645.

Sass TN, MacPherson RA, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2020. A high-throughput method for measuring alcohol sedation time of individual Drosophila melanogaster. J Vis Exp 158: e61108. doi: 10.3791/61108.

Zhou S, Morgante F, Geisz MS, Ma J, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2020. Systems genetics of the Drosophila metabolome. Genome Res 30: 392-405. doi: 10.1101/gr.243030.118.

Highfill CA, Baker BM, Stevens SD, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2019. Genetics of cocaine and methamphetamine consumption and preference in Drosophila melanogasterPLoS Genet 15: e1007834. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007834.