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. 

“This is a great place—perhaps the best place—to do cognitive neuroscience research with neurological patients. There is excellent functional imaging work going on here, too, as well as a very interesting assortment of molecular and cellular research.”