Workgroup Chairs

Click on the workgroup name for more information about the workgroup chair(s):


 

Alzheimer's Workgroup back_to_top_icon.JPG

Danielle Posthuma

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Ole Andreassen

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Anxiety Workgroup back_to_top_icon.JPG

Jürgen Deckert

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Thalia Eley

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John Hettema

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_stephen_faraone.jpgStephen Faraone, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He is also Instructor at Harvard Medical School and Senior Scientific Advisor to the Research Program Pediatric Psychopharmacology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. 

His research seeks to use genetic studies to discover new biological pathways that will, eventually, improve the diagnosis and treatment of disorders.  He currently using genomewide association and proteomic studies to clarify the genetics of psychiatric disorders and also engage in laboratory and bioinformatics research aimed at translating genetic findings into therapeutics.

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Autism Spectrum Disorders back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_mark_daly.jpgMark Daly, PhDis the founding chief of the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit (ATGU) at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor in the Harvard Medical School.  His research has historically focused on the development and application of statistical methods for the discovery and interpretation of genetic variation responsible for complex human disease and with the creation of the ATGU, he and other core faculty are focused on the interpretation of genome sequence and the use of genome information in clinical settings.  Mark is also a senior associate member and co-director of the Program in Medical and Population Genetics at the Broad Institute, where he leads many large scale genome sequencing studies in autism and inflammatory bowel disease.

Daly’s group has developed numerous methods and widely used software tools, including GENEHUNTER and HAPLOVIEW, genetic analysis tools used in thousands of laboratories worldwide; GRAIL and DAPPLE, web-based utilities for the interpretation of genome-wide association results; and have contributed to additional widely distributed tools developed in the Broad community such as PLINK and GATK.  His earlier work at the Whitehead Institute and Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research (precursor to the Broad Institute) was instrumental in developing an understanding of patterns of variation in the human and mouse genomes, and in the use of these patterns in disease gene mapping.

While developing computational and statistical methods that can be broadly applied, his group has several primary medical genetics research foci.  He has extensive research program in neuropsychiatric genetics - particularly in autism, schizophrenia and ADHD – and has led large-scale GWAS and exome sequencing efforts in this area.  His lab serves as the analytic hub for the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium, and international consortium leading the largest collaborative GWAS studies in 5 major psychiatric disorders.  He also has a longstanding effort in the mapping of genes for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis where he helped found and lead an international effort that has identified more than 150 genetic risk factors and, in collaboration with Dr. Ramnik Xavier’s group, pursues the functional interpretation and clinical ramifications of these continued gene discovery efforts.

More recently, the group also participates in numerous studies using exome sequencing to articulate the genetic origins of rare inherited diseases, early-onset and pediatric cancers, and severe adverse drug responses. He is also a visiting professor at the Finnish Institute of Molecular Medicine (FIMM) in Helsinki and has co-authored more than 50 manuscripts with Finnish scientists studying the genetic origins of human disease.

Mark received his B.S. in physics from MIT and his Ph.D. in human genetics from Leiden University, Netherlands. Mark is a recipient of the 2014 Curt Stern Award, presented by the American Society of Human Genetics for outstanding scientific achievements in human genetics.  He has an extensive publication record with an h-index of 150 and has been listed multiple times by publisher Thomson-Reuters as one of the top 10 most cited scientific authors.

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Bernard Devlin

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Bipolar Disorders back_to_top_icon.JPG

Pamela Sklar

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John Kelsoe

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Copy Number Variation Group back_to_top_icon.JPG

Jonathan Sebat

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chair_stephen_scherer.jpgStephen Scherer, PhD, DSc, FRSCholds the GlaxoSmithKline-Canadian Institutes of Health Research Endowed Chair in Genome Sciences at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and University of Toronto (UofT) and he is Director of the UofT McLaughlin Centre, as well as The Centre for Applied Genomics at SickKids. In 2004, his team co-discovered global gene copy number variation (CNV) as a common form of genetic variation in human DNA. His group then identified CNV to contribute to the aetiology of autism and many other disorders, and the Database of Genomic Variants he founded facilitates hundreds of thousands of clinical diagnoses each year. His research is documented in some 450 publications and he is one of the most highly cited scientists in the world. Dr. Scherer has won numerous honors such as the Steacie Prize, an Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship, and the Premier’s Summit Award for Medical Research. He is a distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Society of Canada. In 2014, he was selected as a Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate in the field of Physiology or Medicine for “the discovery of large-scale CNV and its association with specific diseases”. 

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Cross-Disorder Group back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_jordan_smoller.jpgJordan Smoller, MD, ScDis Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. He is Associate Chief for Research for the MGH Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit in the MGH Center for Human Genetics Research. Dr. Smoller also serves as co-Director of the Omics Unit of the MGH Division of Clinical Research and co-Director of the Partners HealthCare Biobank at MGH. He is an Associate Member of the Broad Institute and a Senior Scientist at the Broad’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.

The focus of Dr. Smoller’s current research interests has been the genetic and environmental determinants of childhood and adult psychiatric disorders, neuroimaging genetics, and the use of electronic health records in genomic medicine and research.  Dr. Smoller and colleagues have also been studying genetic predictors of treatment response and the ways in which advances in genetics may impact clinical practice in psychiatry. He is a principal investigator on genetic studies of anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, suicide, and schizophrenia as well as brain imaging phenotypes. 

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chair_ken_kendler.jpgKenneth Kendler, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Human Genetics in the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. Since 1983, he has been engaged in studies of the genetics of psychiatric and substance use disorders, including schizophrenia, major depression, alcoholism, personality disorders and drug abuse and dependence. He has utilized methods ranging from family studies, to large-sample population-based twin and adoption studies to molecular genetic studies including linkage, association, GWAS and sequencing aimed at identifying specific genes that influence the vulnerability to schizophrenia, alcoholism, depression, personality disorders and nicotine dependence. Data collection for these studies has been completed in Virginia, Ireland, England, China, Norway, Finland and Sweden. He has published over 800 articles, has received a number of national and international awards for his work, is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, is Editor of Psychological Medicine. He has been actively involved in DSM-III-R, DSM-IV and DSM-5 where he chaired the Scientific Review Committee and currently is Vice-Chair of the APA DSM Steering Committee. Since 1996, he has served as Director of the Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. He co-directs the PGC Cross-Disorder Group with Jordan Smoller and is an active participant in the Schizophrenia and Major Depression PGC working groups.

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Eating Disorders back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_cindy_bulik.jpgCynthia Bulik, PhD, is the Founding Director of the University of North Carolina Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor of Nutrition in UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Professor of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Her research includes treatment, laboratory, animal, epidemiological, twin and molecular genetic studies of eating disorders and body weight regulation. She founded and led the 18-country Genetic Consortium for Anorexia Nervosa and is the lead Principal Investigator of the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI). Dr. Bulik hopes that her genetic research will inform our understanding of the biology of eating disorders, ultimately leading to novel and effective treatments that target the core biology of the illnesses, improve outcome, and eliminate mortality.

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chair_gerome_breen.jpgGerome Breen, PhD, is a Reader in the MRC Centre for Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He leads a biobank and a core for Genomics & Biomarkers in the NIHR BRC for Mental Health at KCL, managing a team of postdocs, lab staff and collection staff. He is an experienced psychiatric geneticist and has published more than 150 articles. He has recently moved into eating disorder research, leading the academic part of the Charlotte’s Helix project (see www.charlotteshelix.net), which is focussing on creating an anorexia genomics and biomarkers biobank in the UK.

Gerome is also a theme lead (unit leader) at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for Mental Health and the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (a type of translational medicine centre). His team is involved in the UK 100K Genomes project, collecting multiply affected severe enduring anorexia families from England for whole genome sequencing. Gerome also chairs the Network and Pathway Analysis subgroup of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and is also an active member of the Major Depressive Disorder PGC group.

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Major Depression Disorders back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_cathryn_lewis.jpgCathryn Lewis, PhD, is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology & Statistics at King’s College London. She leads the Statistical Genetic Unit at King’s College London, and the Biomarkers and Genomics theme at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health and the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. She received her PhD in Statistics from the University of Sheffield, and since then her research has focused on statistical analysis methods to dissect the genetic contribution to complex disorders. Her research group investigates the genetics of major depressive disorder, stroke, psychosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She has a long-standing interest in the statistical underpinnings of personalised medicine, particularly in risk estimation, pharmacogenetics, and the potential of translating polygenic scores to clinical medicine.  

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chair_patrick_sullivan.jpg

Patrick Sullivan, MD, is Yeargan Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and directs the Center of Psychiatric Genomics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a Professor in the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. His lab investigates the molecular genetics of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, anorexia nervosa, and autism. Dr. Sullivan is a founder and the lead principal investigator of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and Tourette Syndrome back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_carol_mathews.jpgCarol Mathews, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida. Her research is focused on how genes, environment, and culture interact to influence the development and expression of neuropsychiatric symptoms/syndromes, including anxiety, resilience, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), compulsive hoarding, tic disorders, including Tourette Syndrome (TS), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These disorders are common, usually begin in childhood, and are frequently co-morbid with one another. In addition, there is some evidence that they may have overlapping etiologies. One component of her research focuses on identifying susceptibility genes for OCD and TS. Another component focuses on identifying potential endophenotypes or intermediate phenotypes for these complex traits, using clinical, neuropsychological, electrophyisological and neuroimaging approaches. See Dr. Mathews’ website for more details on a particular project.

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Pathway Analysis Group back_to_top_icon.JPG

Gerome Breen, PhD, is also co-chair of the Eating Disorders workgroup.

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorders back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_karestan_koenen.jpgKarestan Koenen, PhD, is a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard-Chan) and leads the Global Neuropsychiatric Genomics Initiative of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute. The broad goal of this initiative is to advance the genetic analysis of serious mental illness while contributing to global mental health equity by expanding the infrastructure and research findings from large-scale psychiatric genetic epidemiology to Africa and Mexico. 

At Harvard-Chan Koenen does research and teaches about trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her work on PTSD focuses on three areas. First, she studies why, when exposed to a similar traumatic event, some persons develop PTSD while others are resilient. She is particularly interested in how genes shape risk for PTSD. Much of this work is done through the PTSD working group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium that she co-leads with Kerry Ressler and Israel Liberzon. Second, she investigates how trauma and PTSD influence weight gain and alter long-term physical health. Third, she documents global burden of trauma and PTSD through her work with the World Mental Health Surveys. Koenen also co-leads the training program in psychiatric epidemiology and biostatistics. Koenen’s work also uses research findings to advocate for evidence-based prevention of PTSD and response to trauma survivors, particularly victims of sexual violence.

In May 2011, Dr. Koenen testified before the House Foreign Affairs Full Committee hearing “Peace Corps at 50,” about the epidemic of sexual violence and victim blaming culture of the Peace Corps. She has written for the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Women’s Media Center’s Women Under Siege Project, a journalism project founded by Gloria Steinem that investigates how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in conflict. 

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chair_caroline_nievergelt.jpg

Caroline Nievergelt, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego and Associate Director of Neuroscience in the Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health VA San Diego Healthcare System.

Her research is focused on genetics, genomics and epigenetics to discover genes and biological pathways involved in the etiology of psychiatric disorders and complex biomedical traits.

Trained as a population geneticist and biological anthropologist, Dr. Nievergelt is especially interested in trans- and multi-ethnic genome-wide association studies.


chair_israel_liberzon.jpgIsrael Liberzon, MD, is a Professor Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan. Dr. Liberzon established the PTSD program at the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor VAMC, and co-founded the Trauma, Stress, and Anxiety Research Group (TSARG), program that are on the forefront of biological research of PTSD worldwide. Dr. Liberzon’s primary research interest centers on emotions, stress and stress related disorders like PTSD, particularly in the regulation and dysregulation of stress response systems.  His work integrates cognitive, functional neuroimaging, neuroendocrinological and genetic methods. Under Dr. Liberzon’s leadership, the TSARG had be continuously funded with multiple NIMH RO1 grants, VA Career development and NIH K awards, VA merit awards, Army and DoD grants, and he has mentored multiple doctoral candidates, post doctoral research fellows and junior faculty members, publishing over 200 peer reviewed manuscripts, and numerous book chapters. He is a Fellow of American College of Neuropsychpharmacology, a past president of Psychiatric Research Society, and he regularly serves on NIH and VA study sections, as a reviewer for Institute of Medicine, Congressional reports and more. 

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chair_kerry_ressler.jpgKerry Ressler, MD, PhD, is Chief Scientific Officer and Chief of the Division of Depression and Anxiety at McLean Hospital, and James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Psychiatry at McLean and Harvard Medical School.  He recently relocated to McLean after 18 years at Emory University where helped to found the Grady Trauma Project focusing on trauma and trauma-related sequela in inner-city Atlanta.  He received his BS degree in molecular biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his MD/PhD from Harvard Medical School. He is a former Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Member of the National Academy of Medicine, a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and has been on advisory boards for a number of large studies focusing on trauma, PTSD, and TBI in military and veteran cohorts. His work focuses on translational research bridging molecular neurobiology in animal models with human genetic research. His basic and clinical research examines neurobiological, molecular, genetic and behavioral processes that underlie fear-related processing and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Schizophrenia back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_mick_odonovan.jpgProf Michael O’Donovan is a clinical academic with dual qualifications in medicine (MBChB) and science (PhD). He is accredited to practice psychiatry (FRCPsych), is Deputy Director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University where he is also Professor of Psychiatric Genetics. He began his research career in 1989 as an MRC Training Fellow at Cardiff where, during his PhD (1989-1992), he developed novel methods for quantitating mRNA, and used these to show alterations in the relative expression of genes encoding subunits of GABAA receptors was a mechanism that contributes the biology of benzodiazepine tolerance. He was then an MRC Travelling Fellow at MIT (1992-93) based as a member of The Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group, He has a broad interest in the molecular genetics and neurobiology of mental disorders and has held grants from major funding bodies for molecular genetic studies of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dyslexia, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease, and pharmacogenomics.

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Statistical Analysis Group back_to_top_icon.JPG

Mark Daly, PhD, is also co-chair of the Autism Spectrum Disorders workgroup.

chair_stephan_ripke.jpgStephan Ripke, MDhas had an interest in statistical genetics since the early days of his medical training. His rare combination of strong computational and statistical background with medical/clinical training allows him to execute all necessary steps of GWAS analysis (QC, imputation, meta-analysis, PCA, etc.) and draw medical/clinical conclusions from the results. During recent years, leading most statistical analyses of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium – the biggest collaborative experiment in psychiatric genetics  he developed a strong sense for future requirements in order to continue the successful path of recent years. It is his conviction that collecting new psychiatric individuals and healthy, matched controls with the possibility to recontact is one of the most valuable contributions to further progress in psychiatric research.

While keeping his central position at the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, he recently moved to Berlin, leading the "Laboratory for Statistical Genetics" within the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Charite.

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chair_naomi_wray.jpgNaomi Wray, PhDis Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) of the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) and she is an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellow. She is co-director of the Centre for Neurogenetics and Statistical Genomics within QBI, an analytical hub of > 20 post-doctoral researchers working on complex trait genomics . Her early training was in theoretical quantitative genetics and she uses these tools to interpret empirical results from studies in psychiatric genetics and has a particular interest in risk prediction. She has contributed to analyses conducted by many working groups of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (MDD, SZ, CDG, ADHD, TS/OCD, BP/SZ) and leads data collection studies in MDD and autism spectrum disorders. She is Associate Editor for the journals JAMA Psychiatry and Genetics.

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Substance Use Disorders back_to_top_icon.JPG

chair_arpana_agrawal.jpgArpana Agrawal, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. She received her PhD in Human Genetics (Quantitative) from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her research focuses on the role of genetic and genomic influences on substance use and misuse, in particular alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. She uses a variety of latent and measured genetic approaches to explore the genetic basis of  comorbidities across substances and between substances and other forms of psychopathology (e.g. cannabis and suicide). A majority of her NIDA-funded research focuses on understanding the role of genomic influences on cannabis involvement and its relationship with other mental illness. She is also a co-investigator on several projects focused on substance involvement (e.g. Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism) as well as studies incorporating genomics as a key aspect of their research paradigm. She has also served on the addiction component of PhenX, which aims to identify substance-related measures that can be readily harmonized across large-scale projects.

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chair_howard_edenberg.jpgHoward Edenberg, PhDis Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Medical and Molecular Genetics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He has been a leader in the Collaborative Study on the Genomics of Alcoholism since its inception and is currently one of the PIs of that project, and has also been involved as one of the leaders of the Bipolar Genome Study. He also directs the Center for Medical Genomics at Indiana University School of Medicine. In addition to the Substance Use Disorder Workgroup, he participates in the Bipolar Disorder Workgroup and the Cross Disorders Workgroup.

His research focuses on the genetics and genomics of alcoholism, bipolar disorder and other complex diseases, and spans interrelated areas that extend from genome-wide searches for genes affecting the risk for disease to molecular studies of the mechanisms by which associated variants affect gene expression, and from studies of the regulation of individual genes to genome-wide studies of expression using microarrays and now RNAseq. In parallel with genetic studies, he examines global gene expression in rodent models of alcoholism using next-generation RNA sequencing and in studies of post-mortem brains and cell lines derived from alcoholics and controls.

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chair_joel_gelernter.jpgJoel Gelernter, MDis Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and  Neurobiology; and Director, Division of Human Genetics (Psychiatry), at the Yale University School of Medicine.

The research focus of his laboratory is genetics of psychiatric illness - phenotypes including cocaine, opioid, nicotine, cannabis, and alcohol dependence, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and panic and other anxiety disorders. He also studies a range of intermediate phenotypes, such as neuroimaging measures; and basic issues in population and complex trait genetics. The overall approach involves study of genetic polymorphism and sequence variation, on a molecular level and from the perspective of population genetics.  Dr Gelernter’s laboratory published genomewide association studies (GWAS) for cocaine and opioid dependence, PTSD, alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence, and several related traits. All of these studies have resulted in the identification of novel risk loci.

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