Large biobanks for genetic studies of psychiatric traits: Finding risk variants and learning from them

For our next talk, in the BDI/CHG (gen)omics Seminar series, we will be hearing from Dr Gelernter, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience; Director, Division of Human Genetics (Psychiatry) and Dr Daniel Levey, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine. We’re delighted to host Dr Gelernter and Dr Levey in what promises to be a great talk!

Date: Wednesday 26 June
Time: 12:30 – 13:30
Talk title: Large Biobanks for genetics studies of psychiatric traits: Finding risk variants and learning from them
Location: Big Data Institute, Seminar Room 0

Dr. Gelernter is Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience; and Director, Division of Human Genetics (Psychiatry), at Yale University School of Medicine. He studied music and biology as an undergraduate at Yale University; completed his MD at SUNY-Downstate; and trained in psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (Pittsburgh) followed by fellowship at the NIMH. He returned to Yale in 1988 to join the psychiatry faculty, where he has been ever since.

The research focus of his laboratory is complex trait genetics, especially genetics of psychiatric illness: a range of behavioral phenotypes including substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders, and other traits. To this end, he studies genetic polymorphism and sequence variation, genomewide, usually in large samples, and from the perspective of population genetics. He leads studies based in the US and Thailand. Dr. Gelernter co-leads, with Dr Murray Stein of UCSD, the Million Veteran Program PTSD project, and also co-leads the Substance Use Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Studies published recently include genomewide association studies of cannabis use disorder, problematic alcohol use, and sleep duration. His research is supported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and by multiple US National Institutes of Health agencies: NIDA, NIAAA, NIMH, and the Fogarty Center.

Dr. Dan Levey is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.
He is a human geneticist with a research focus on the overlap and intersection between personality traits, psychiatric disorders, and cannabis use and abuse. He has a particular interest in leveraging the demographic characteristics of the world’s largest biobank, the Million Veteran Program, to advance the study of understudied populations in this context. My latest work focused on the underlying genetic architecture of Cannabis use disorder was published in Nature Genetics late last year. He is currently funded by a Veterans Affairs Office of Research & Development Career Development Award to study the genetics of anxiety disorders and is the Aimee Mann Fellow of Psychiatric Genetics in the Yale Division of Human Genetics. Dr. Levey has served on VA review groups and also for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He has authored 58 peer-reviewed papers since receiving his PhD in 2017, including first author publications in journals such as Nature Neuroscience, The American Journal of Psychiatry, and Nature Genetics.

All members of the University are welcome to join, please let reception at BDI know you’re here for the seminar and sign-in. We hope you can join us!

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As a reminder, the (gen)omics seminar series runs every other Tuesday morning and is intended to increase interaction between individuals working in genomics across Oxford. We encourage in-person attendance where possible. There is time for discussion over, tea, coffee and pastries after the talks.

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