Turhan Canli, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychology

Associate Professor, Radiology

Director, Graduate Program in Genetics

Director, SCAN (Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience) Center

Member, Program in Neuroscience



Dr. Canli (shown here with Ian Canli, his feline study-buddy and lab mascot) is a busy professor! His primary research interests cover the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology. His Ph.D. is in psychobiology (Yale University ’93), with postdoctoral training in behavioral, cognitive and affective neuroscience (Yale University’93-’95; Stanford University’95-2001), and later training in molecular biology (certification Molecular Biology Summer Workshop, Smith College, 2002; sabbatical leave at the Genomics Core Facility, Stony Brook University, Jan-Dec 2008). As the Director of the Graduate Program in Genetics, he is responsible for the education and training activities across 100 laboratories at Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Brookhaven National Laboratory, and 50 Ph.D. students in Genetics. As the

Founder and Director of the NSF-funded SCAN (Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience) Center, he is responsible for the scientific and administrative successes of Long Island’s only research-dedicated brain imaging facility.

Current work in Dr. Canli’s laboratory is carried out by Ph.D. students in the psychology, neuroscience, and genetics programs, several highly talented staff, and more than a dozen enthusiastic undergraduate research assistants. The research focuses on gene-environment interactions, specifically the molecular genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene expression across the human genome. This general approach is applied to studies of individual differences in social stress reactivity, traits, and emotional behavior.

Research in Dr. Canli’s laboratory covers all levels of analysis: self-report, behavioral, neural, and molecular. Behavioral studies are conducted in the Department of Psychology. Neuroimaging studies are conducted in the SCAN (Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience) Center. Molecular (epi-) genetic studies are conducted in Dr. Canli’s lab in the Center for Molecular Medicine and the Psychology Department, the Genomics Core Facility, and the Proteomics Core Facility.


Dr. Canli’s work includes both human participants and analysis of postmortem human brain tissue from donors with known behavioral phenotypes. Projects are now planned that will involve rodent behavioral models and optogenetics. Together, these approaches make up a seamless set of interlocking discoveries involving links between behavior and brain (human imaging studies), brain and gene expression (human postmortem studies), and assessment of causal functions of these gene-brain-behavior links (optogenetic rodent studies).


Dr. Canli’s secondary area of interest is related to problems in the real world. He is a co-founder of the Neuroethics Society, an international scholarly society concerned with the ethical implications of neuroscience applications in the real world. He has served on the Executive Board of the Neuroethics Society since its inception in 2006. Because he hates boredom, he also serves on Stony Brook’s Institutional Review Board and carries a host of other advisory functions. Non-academic passions include kiteboarding and motorcycles.



Victoria Siegal
Lab Phone: 631.632.4209
Lab Location: Psychology B275



Prerona Mukherjee, Ph.D.



Jamie Ferri
Integrative Neuroscience Ph.D. Program
jamie.ferri [at] gmail.com



Magdalena Jurkiewicz
M.D./Ph.D. Program



Stephanie Izzi
Genetics Ph.D. Program









Previous Post Docs:

Anett Müller-Alcazar, Ph.D.

Dirk Moser, Ph.D.

Kazufumi Omura, Ph.D.


Previous Graduate Students:

Elif Aysimi Duman, Ph.D.

Zenab Amin, Ph.D.

Eliza Congdon, Ph.D.

Brian Haas, Ph.D.