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Department of Zoology


Broadly speaking I am interested in parental effects and how social experiences acquired across the lifespan could be inherited by, and impose specific developmental trajectories upon, future generations of offspring (non-genetic inheritance). One such possibility is epigenetic mechanisms, which are the biochemical marks and signals that ultimately determine how accessible DNA is to factors within the cell that allow it to be expressed. Understanding the interaction between genetic and epigenetic change under changing environments and the degree of flexibility afforded by these systems has broad implications for the study of how traits become heritable between generations with applications for the fields of behavioural ecology, conservation, medicine and epidemiology.

I use a combination of behavioural, physiological and genomic sequencing methods in both insect and mammalian species to tackle these questions.

Current research topics include:

  • Environmental influences on the epigenome and gene regulation.

  • Parental effects and the mechanisms driving transgenerational inheritance.

  • Role of epigenetic modifications in adaptive evolutionary change.

Key Publications

Mashoodh R, Habrylo IB, Gudsnuk KM, Pelle G, Champagne FA (2018) Maternal modulation of paternal effects on offspring development. Proc Roy Soc B, 285 (1874), 20180118.

Mashoodh R, Franks B, Curley JP, Champagne FA (2012) Paternal social enrichment effects on maternal behaviour and offspring growth. PNAS, 109 Suppl 2:17232-8.

Curley JP, Mashoodh R, Champagne FA (2011) Epigenetics and the origins of paternal effects. Horm Behav, 59:306-14.

Champagne FA & Mashoodh R (2009) Genes in context: gene–environment interplay and the origins of individual differences in behaviour. Curr Dir in Psych Sci, 18:127-131.

Full list of publications via Google Scholar



Contact Details

Group Leader

Dr Rahia Mashoodh

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St

01223  (3)34466

Group Members