Jeremiah Scharf

Faculty of the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School
Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit
Center for Genomic Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital
Richard B. Simches Research Center
185 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-5532
E-mail: jscharf@partners.org

I am a behavioral neurologist and neuropsychiatric geneticist who works at the interface between neurology and psychiatry using genetics and clinical research tools to investigate the etiology and pathogenesis of Tourette syndrome (TS) and related disorders (e.g., OCD, ADHD and ASD) as model neuropsychiatric illnesses. My scientific goals are to characterize the genetic architecture of TS and OCD and to use these data to:

  • Identify the molecular, cellular and circuit-level dysfunction underlying these disorders to enable the development of targeted therapies
  • Integrate aggregated common and rare genetic variation with clinical markers of disease severity, comorbidity and persistence to work toward the long-term goal of predicting disease outcomes

Current genetics projects include:

  • Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of TS and OCD as well as cross-disorder analyses with other neuropsychiatric disorders through the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC)
  • Copy-number variant (CNV)/structural variant (SV) analyses evaluating the role of large, rare deletions/duplications/complex chromosomal re-arrangements in TS pathogenesis
  • Whole-exome and targeted sequencing of large, multi-generational TS families to identify rare mutations of large effect
  • Exome and whole genome sequencing of smaller nuclear families (parent-proband trios) to identify spontaneous de novo coding mutations
  • Application of newer statistical approaches to estimate the aggregate genetic burden across TS subjects to examine whether increased genetic loading correlates with different clinical measures of disease severity and prognosis.
  • Studies of TS- and OCD-derived neurons generated from induced pluripotent stem cells

Current clinical research projects include:

  • Co-leadership of an ongoing nation-wide genetic collection of new TS subjects, including a web-based collection project to augment traditional high-cost ascertainment through specialty clinics.
  • Web-based longitudinal follow-up of research participants assessing ongoing disease severity and the role of stress and adverse life events
  • Phenotypic analyses of TS examining the developmental trajectory of TS across the lifespan
  • Clinical predictors of tic persistence and severity in adulthood
  • Predictors of TS-associated comorbidities
  • Recruitment of new TS and OCD subjects for collection of blood samples and coordination of skin biopsies for a subset of subjects to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can be used to generate patient-specific TS/OCD neurons for in vitro functional studies.

I am currently the co-chair of the Tourette Association of America International Consortium for Genetics (TAAICG) steering committee, data access committee representative for the OCD/TS Workgroup of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), a member of the TAA Scientific Advisory Board and principal investigator of the TAAICG multi-center R01 grant from the NINDS. I am also director of the Partners Neurology Tic Disorders Clinic and co-director of the TAA TS Center of Excellence, which currently sees over 100 new cases a year and provides comprehensive clinical assessments and ongoing management of TS patients referred from local, regional, national and international sources. These patients also contribute to ongoing clinical and genetic research projects.

Publications:

See a publications by Dr. Scharf

Staff:

Cornelia Illmann, PhD
Project Director

Lisa Osiecki
Database Manager

Angela Essa
Clinical Research Coordinator

Dongmei Yu, MS
Statistical Geneticist

Erica Greenberg, MD
Chief Resident, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital

Xiumei Liu, MD, PhD
Visiting Research Fellow

Marisela Dy-Hollins, MD
Pediatric Movement Disorders Faculty Member; Clinical Research Fellow

Alumni

Kelly Yang
Former Position: Clinical Research Coordinator
Current Position: Medical Student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Caitlin Gauvin
Former Position: Clinical Research Coordinator
Current Position: Medical Student, NYIT

Sarah Weatherall
Former Position: Research Lab Technician
Current Position: Medical Student, Brown University

Jacqueline Crane
Former Position: Laboratory Technician
Current Position: Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology Fellow, UCLA

Janelle Alabiso
Former Position: Clinical Research Assistant
Current Position: Graduate Student in Psychology, Northeastern University

Gloria Gerber
Former Position: Research Lab Technician
Current Position: Internal Medicine Resident, Weill Cornell Medical Center

Lauren Barton
Former Position: Clinical Research Assistant
Current Position: Registered Nurse, North Shore Medical Center

Lauren McGrath, PhD
Former Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University Denver

Paul Lee, MD
Former Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Current Position: Staff Psychiatrist, Department of Defense, Honolulu, HI

Erica Greenberg, MD
Former Position: Resident Research Fellow
Current Position: Director, Pediatric Psychiatry OCD and Tic Disorders Program, Mass General

Back to Top