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

Dr. Robert Anholt


A native of The Netherlands, Dr. Robert Rene 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 director of the W.M. Keck Program 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 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 125 times, and is credited, with others, for three 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 and ocular hypertension. He is also working to understand the genetic underpinnings of phenotypic plasticity and to determine the functions of the olfactomedin gene family.


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 Genet. 36: 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 RF, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2020. Genotype by environment interaction for gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster. Nat 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 melanogaster. PLoS Genet 15: e1007834. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007834.

Anholt RRH, Mackay TFC. 2018. The road less traveled: From genotype to phenotype in flies and humans. Mamm Genome 29: 5-23.

Morozova TV, Hussain Y, McCoy LJ, Zhirnov EV, Davis MR, Pray VA, Lyman RA, Duncan LH,  McMillen A, Jones A, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH. 2018. A Cyclin E-centered network contributes to alcohol induced variation in Drosophila development. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 8: 2643-2653.

Garcia JF, Carbone MA, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH. 2017. Regulation of Drosophila lifespan by bellwether promoter alleles. Scientific Reports 7: 4109.

Fochler S, Morozova TV, Davis MR, Gearhart AW, Huang W, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH. 2017. Genetic variation in alcohol consumption in Drosophila melanogaster. Genes Brain Behav. 16: 675-685.

Zhou S, Luoma SE, St Armour GE, Thakkar E, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH. 2017. A Drosophila model for toxicogenomics: Genetic variation in susceptibility to heavy metal exposure. PLoS Genetics 13: e1006907.

He X, Zhou S, St Armour GE, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH. 2016. Epistatic partners of neurogenic genes modulate Drosophila olfactory behavior. Genes Brain Behav 15: 280-290.

Zhou S, Morozova TV, Hussain YN, Luoma SE, McCoy L, Yamamoto A, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH. 2016. The genetic basis for variation in sensitivity to lead toxicity in Drosophila melanogaster. Environ Health Perspect 124: 1062-1070.

Carbone MA, Yamamoto A, Huang W, Lyman RA, Brune Meadors T, Yamamoto R, Anholt RRH, Mackay TFC. 2016. Genetic architecture of natural variation in visual senescence in Drosophila. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113: E6620-E6629.

Shorter JR, Dembeck LM, Everett LJ, Morozova TV, Arya GH, Turlapati L, St Armour GE, Schal C, Mackay TFC, Anholt RRH. 2016. Obp56h  modulates mating behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 6: 3335-3342.

Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. (2015) Dissecting the genetic architecture of behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. Curr. Opin. Behav. Sci. 2:1-7.

Arya GH, Magwire MM, Huang W, Serrano-Negron YL, Mackay TFC and  Anholt RRH. (2015) The genetic basis for variation in olfactory behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. Chemical Senses 40: 233-243.

Shorter J, Couch C, Huang W, Carbone MA, Peiffer J, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. (2015) Genetic architecture of natural variation in Drosophila melanogaster aggressive behavior. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 112: E3555-E3563.

Huang W, Carbone MA, Magwire MM, Peiffer JA, Lyman RF, Stone EA, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. (2015) Genetic basis of transcriptome diversity in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 112: E6010-E6019.

Morozova TV, Huang W, Pray VA, Whitham T, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. (2015) Polymorphisms in early neurodevelopmental genes affect natural variation in alcohol sensitivity in adult Drosophila. BMC Genomics 16: 865.

Dembeck LM, Böröczky K, Huang W, Schal C, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. (2015) The genetic basis of natural variation in cuticular hydrocarbon composition in Drosophila melanogaster. eLife 4: e09861.