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 love living in Iowa City! While it is a small town, there are plenty of cultural events going on all the time. Obviously, one of the most important aspects to me is the music scene. The music venues in Iowa City work hard to constantly bring in nationally-touring up-and-coming bands. The Blue Moose, Gabes, The Mill, and the Yacht Club have live music almost nightly, so you always have an opportunity to see a great show. The Bijou is an indie movie theater that shows awesome films for only $3. With the Writers' Workshop here, authors are frequently brought in to do readings and book talks, and the Iowa City Public Library is fantastic. The best thing about all of these is that they are cheap! Honestly, I am NEVER bored here! ”