Joel Gelernter MD

Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and of Neurobiology; Director, Division of Human Genetics (Psychiatry)

Research Interests

Complex trait genetics; Psychiatric genetics; Population genetics; Substance dependence; Gene mapping

Research Summary

The research focus of my laboratory is genetics of psychiatric illness. We study a range of behavioral phenotypes including cocaine, opioid, nicotine, and alcohol dependence, panic and other anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and affective disorders. In addition we study 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. Current studies include NIDA and NIAAA-funded multicenter case/control association studies with the goal of identifying genes predisposing to cocaine, opioid, nicotine, and alcohol dependence (using genomewide association analysis and other approaches); an international drug dependence genetics training project in collaboration with Chulalongkorn Faculty of Medicine (Bangkok, Thailand); and studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Additional projects include functional studies of candidate genes, studies of within-locus linkage disequilibrium at candidate loci, studies of social phobia and related social-anxiety traits, and studies of several other phenotypes.

Selected Publications

  • Gelernter J, Sherva R, Koesterer R, Almasy L, Zhao H, Kranzler HR, Farrer LA. Genomewide association study of cocaine dependence and related traits: FAM53B identified as a risk gene. (2013) Mol Psychiatry. Aug 20. doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.99. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:23958962 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Xie P, Kranzler HR, Krystal JH, Farrer LA, Zhao H, and Gelernter J: Deep resequencing of 17 glutamate system genes identifies rare variants in DISC1 and GRIN2B affecting risk of opioid dependence. (2013) Addict Biol. Jul 16. doi: 10.1111/adb.12072. [Epub ahead of print]PMID:23855403 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
  • Han S, Yang BZ, Kranzler HR, Oslin D, Anton R, Farrer LA, Gelernter J. Linkage Analysis Followed by Association Show NRG1 Associated with Cannabis Dependence in African Americans. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Apr 18. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Li D, Zhao H, Kranzler HR, Oslin D, Anton RF, Farrer LA, Gelernter J.: Association of COL25A1 with comorbid antisocial personality disorder and substance dependence. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Apr 15;71(8):733-40. Epub 2012 Jan 31.
  • Li D, Zhao H, Gelernter J: Strong Association of the Alcohol Dehydrogenase 1B Gene (ADH1B) with Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol-Induced Medical Diseases. Biol Psychiatry. 2011 6:504-12. PMID: 21497796 PMCID: PMC3142297 NIHMS:282602
  • Xie P, Kranzler HR, Krauthammer M, Cosgrove KP, Oslin D, Anton RF, Farrer LA, Picciotto MR, Krystal JH, Zhao H, and Gelernter J: Rare nonsynonymous variants in alpha-4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene protect against nicotine dependence. Biological psychiatry 2011 Jun 15. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:21683344 PMCID: PMC3199609 NIHMS:307419
  • Xie P, Kranzler HR, Poling J, Stein MB, Anton RF, Brady K, Weiss RD, Farrer L, and Gelernter J: The Interactive Effect of Stressful Life Events and Serotonin Transporter 5-HTTLPR Genotype on PTSD Diagnosis In Two Independent Populations. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009 Nov; 66(11):1201-9 PMID: 19884608 NIHMSID188327

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