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. 

“What convinced me to attend Iowa was the Neuroscience Program. There's a deep commitment to neuroscience research at the University of Iowa, and it's reflected in the strength of the Neuroscience Program. Annually, it's ranked as one of the highest doctoral programs at the university, and the ongoing research conducted by the faculty and students is excellent. The interdisciplinary aspect of the program is tremendous for one's graduate education. There's a conflux of molecular/cellular, cognitive, systems, and behavioral research in the program and it really allows each student in the program to gain a broad spectrum of skills and knowledge in the field of neuroscience. But, the program was also attractive to me for reasons outside of the curriculum and research. From the moment I arrived on campus, the program has felt like a family. Students help each other out, and offer a great support system. And after several years of being in the program, I can undoubtedly say, Iowa was the perfect choice for me.”