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Gelernter Lab

Mental health problems are hugely consequential on an individual and on a societal basis. To understand psychiatric traits better, we need to improve our understanding of the underlying biology. Learning about genetics is a great way to do this, and there has been rapid progress in the study of the genetics of complex psychiatric traits. Our lab is researching this problem from numerous perspectives. We focus on a range of psychiatric traits – stress- and trauma-related traits like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety; substance use disorders (SUDs), including alcohol traits, cannabis use disorder, and use of opioids and stimulants; and other SUDs and psychiatric traits. We also study medical traits – for example, the ophthalmologic trait of epiretinal membrane (macular pucker). We use data from samples we have collected over decades of research in the US and Thailand; and biobank samples, especially the US Department of Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program, and also data from other large biobanks. These data are used to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genetic variants that affect risk for traits of interest; and sequence-based and epigenetic analyses. We also perform post-GWAS analyses, which is critical to understanding biology. With this increased biological understanding, we work to identify potential therapeutic targets that will eventually lead to new treatments and new hope for the patients experiencing these mental health issues. We are active collaborators in the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), where Dr Gelernter co-leads the Substance Use Disorder Working Group and participates in numerous other working groups. We lead ongoing NIH-funded projects based in the US and in Thailand, and receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIMH, NIDA, and NIAAA) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Gelernter,, or any lab member, to discuss further, as we are always interested in working with talented people and welcome inquiries from people interested in joining our lab.

Dr Gelernter leads the Division of Human Genetics in Psychiatry at Yale; besides his own lab the Division includes labs led by Dr Renato Polimanti, Dr Janitza Montalvo-Ortiz, Dr. Daniel Levey, and Dr Hang Zhou (all of whom are Gelernter Lab Alumni). Within the Division there are extensive ongoing research collaborations between all of our labs. We also collaborate widely with other groups at Yale and elsewhere, most notably with Dr Murray Stein at UC San Diego and other MVP investigators; many other PGC investigators, as mentioned above; Drs Rasmon Kalayasiri and Apiwat Mutirangura at Chulalongkorn Faculty of Medicine (Bangkok), and Dr Henry Kranzler at the University of Pennsylvania.