James B Potash, MD, MPH

PotashJ
Psychiatry
Paul W. Penningroth Chair, Professor and Head of Psychiatry
Summary statement: 

Genetics and epigenetics of mood disorders

Office phone: 
(319) 356-1144
Office number: 
2887
Office building: 
JPP
Lab phone: 
(319) 335-7225
Lab room number: 
B005
Lab building: 
ML

I am interested in the genetic variation and DNA methylation variation that confer susceptibility to depression and bipolar disorder. Family, twin, and adoption studies have made it abundantly clear that these disorders are substantially heritable, but only a very small proportion of that heritability has thus far been explained molecularly. Similarly, the environment clearly plays a role in the etiology of depression, but the molecular basis of that role remains undefined. I have an R01 grant from the NIMH to perform next-generation exome sequencing in about 3,000 bipolar disorder cases and controls, and examine the data searching for rare variants associated with this illness. I also have an R01grant from the NIMH to assess genome-wide DNA methylation variation in a mouse model of stress and depression. Both of these projects involve bench work including DNA sequencing, bisulfite pyrosequencing, and gene expression assays. They further involve bioinformatics and statistical genetics assessment of large data sets. 

“I searched for a school that boasted a positive environment for collaboration, commitment to scientific training, and a high caliber of mentorship, all surrounded by a town I could feel at home in.  My first exposure to the University of Iowa was during a summer undergraduate research fellowship.  During that ten weeks training, I found that that the University of Iowa fulfilled all of my expectations for graduate school and much, much more.  It was that experience that I compared all of my other graduate interviews too, and needless to say, but I will anyway, I chose the University of Iowa. ”