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Joel Gelernter, MD

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

Contact Information

Joel Gelernter, MD

Mailing Address

  • Psychiatry

    VA CT Healthcare Center S116A2, 950 Campbell Avenue

    West Haven, CT 06516

    United States

Research Summary

The research focus of my laboratory is genetics of psychiatric illness. We study a range of behavioral phenotypes including opioid, cannabis, methamphetamine, and alcohol use disorders, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders. In addition we study a range of intermediate phenotypes, such as neuroimaging measures; pharmacogenomics; and basic issues in population and complex trait genetics.

The overall approach involves genomics: genomewide study of genetic polymorphism and sequence variation, on a molecular level, and from the perspective of population genetics. Current studies include a study of cannabis use disorder genetics and the relationship of genetics to THC laboratory challenge paradigm; the genetics of methamphetamine dependence and other substance use disorders in Thailand and Taiwan; and studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), internalizing disorders, sleep, level of physical activity and numerous substance use disorders in the US Million Veteran Program. I also co-lead the Substance Use Disorders group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium; and, with Dr Marc Potenza, a NIH-funded International Training Program in collaboration with institutions in Thailand. And I co-lead a VA-funded mental health biobank project. We analyze microarray, whole genome sequence, and epigenetic data, and do extensive in-silico post-GWAS analyses.

Specialized Terms: Complex trait genetics; Genomics; Psychiatric genetics; Population genetics; Substance dependence; PTSD; Pharmacogenomics


Research Interests

Affective Disorders, Psychotic; Alcoholism; Anxiety Disorders; China; Genetics; Genetics, Population; Israel; Polymorphism, Genetic; Psychiatry; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Thailand; Global Health; Substance-Related Disorders

Research Image

Selected Publications

Clinical Trials

ConditionsStudy Title
Diseases of the Nervous System; Genetics - Adult; Genetics - Pediatric; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchBrain Emotion Circuitry-Targeted Self-Monitoring and Regulation Therapy (BE-SM