Dr. Konopka received dual bachelor of science degrees in biology and in brain and cognitive sciences from MIT. She obtained her PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard University where she studied the signaling pathways underlying astrocyte transformation. Next, she completed a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award supported postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin where she studied the signaling pathways involved in cell adhesion.

Subsequently, Dr. Konopka completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Neurology Department at UCLA where she was supported by an A.P. Giannini Foundation fellowship, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award and an NIH Pathway to Independence Award for her studies into the evolution of language and FOXP2-regulated signaling pathways in autism and schizophrenia.

Dr. Konopka joined the faculty in the Department of Neuroscience in 2011.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997), Biology
Graduate School
Harvard University (2004)

Research Interest

  • Brain evolution
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neurogenetics


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Molecular networks and the evolution of human cognitive specializations.
Fontenot M, Konopka G Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 2014 Sep 29C 52-59
Mutation of Senataxin Alters Disease-Specific Transcriptional Networks in Patients with Ataxia with Oculomotor Apraxia Type 2.
Fogel BL, Cho E, Wahnich A, Gao F, Becherel OJ, Wang X, Fike F, Chen L, Criscuolo C, De Michele G, Filla A, Collins A, Hahn AF, Gatti RA, Konopka G, Perlman S, Lavin MF, Geschwind DH, Coppola G Hum. Mol. Genet. 2014 Apr
Decoding the molecular evolution of human cognition using comparative genomics.
Usui N, Co M, Konopka G Brain Behav. Evol. 2014 84 2 103-16
Decoding human gene expression signatures in the brain.
Wang GZ, Konopka G Transcription 2013 May 4 3
Connecting signaling pathways underlying communication to ASD vulnerability.
Lepp S, Anderson A, Konopka G Int. Rev. Neurobiol. 2013 113 97-133
ASD-relevant Animal Models of the Foxp Family of Transcription Factors.
Bowers JM, Konopka G Autism Open Access 2012 Dec Suppl 1 10


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Evolution and Development of Language. In Advances in Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Miller, D.J., and Konopka, G. (2013). Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc

FOXP2: linking language and autism. In The Autisms: Molecules to Model Systems

Konopka, G. (2013). New York, NY, Oxford University Press

Honors & Awards

  • Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award
    March of Dimes (2013)
  • Young Investigator Award
    International Society for Autism Research (2013)
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award
    NIMH (2010)
  • Young Investigator Award
    National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) (2008)
  • A. P. Giannini Foundation Medical Research Fellowship
  • NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • International Society for Autism Research (2012)
  • UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) (2011)
  • Society for Neuroscience (1997)