Smoller Laboratory

The Smoller Laboratory works to understand the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders in order to improve diagnosis and treatment. It is part of the Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit (PNGU) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Overview

Lab director: Jordan W. Smoller, MD, ScD

Dr. Smoller

Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. He is the associate chief for research for the Mass General Department of Psychiatry and director of psychiatric genetics. He is director of the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit in Mass General's Center for Human Genetics Research. Dr. Smoller also serves as co-director of the Genetics and Genomics Unit of the Mass General Clinical Research Program, is an Associate Member of the Broad Institute and a Senior Scientist at the Broad’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.

Dr. Smoller earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and his medical degree at Harvard Medical School. After completing residency training in psychiatry at McLean Hospital, Dr. Smoller received masters and doctoral degrees in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Training Program in Psychiatric Genetics.

The focus of Dr. Smoller’s research interests has been the identification of genetic determinants of childhood and adult psychiatric disorders. Dr. Smoller and colleagues have also been studying genetic predictors of treatment response and the ways in which advances in genetics may impact clinical practice in psychiatry. He is an author of more than 200 scientific articles, book chapters and reviews; the recipient of numerous research awards; and a principal investigator on NIH-funded studies of the genetics of anxiety and the genetics of bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia as well as brain imaging phenotypes.

See Dr. Smoller's publications

 


Assistant to Dr. Smoller:

Kristin Joyce
Simches Research Building
185 Cambridge Street, CPZN-6
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-724-9076; Fax: 617-726-0830
Email: kjoyce@partners.org

Lab members

Postdocs

  • Chia-Yen Chen, ScD

    Chia-Yen Chen, ScD, is a postdoctoral research fellow at both the PNGU and the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit (ATGU) at Mass General. Dr. Chen is also affiliated with the Broad institute and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

  • Karmel Choi, PhD, Clinical and Research Fellow

    Karmel Choi, PhD, is mentored by Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, and Karestan Koenen, PhD, through the T32 Training Program in Psychiatric Genetics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Choi's research focuses on the interplay of genetic and environmental factors that influence trauma and resilience across the life course, leveraging methods from statistical genomics, network science and developmental epidemiology. Her clinical work focuses on treatment of mood and anxiety disorders and stress-related health conditions, particularly among women. Dr. Choi earned her PhD in clinical psychology at Duke University with Kathleen Sikkema, PhD, where her research characterized the impact of childhood trauma on mental health and health behavior during the perinatal period. She completed her clinical internship in behavioral medicine at Mass General. She is also affiliated with the Broad Institute.

  • Yen-Chen (Anne) Feng, PhD

    Anne works with Dr. Smoller at PNGU and Ben Neale, PhD, at ATGU. She graduated from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a doctoral degree in genetic epidemiology. Her thesis focused on developing and applying statistical methods to a range of human -omics data, including GWAS, epigenomics, and metabolomics. She’s excited to explore the genetic underpinnings of and across neuropsychiatric traits, including projects to identify genetic variation affecting the risk of common epilepsies and to investigate cross-disorder relationships.

  • Robert Mealer, MD, PhD, Psychiatry Resident

    Robbie Mealer is a third year resident in the Mass General/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency Program and will be starting the Stanley Center Psychiatric Genetics and Neuroscience Fellowship in 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Smoller. He received his MD and PhD degrees from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, working in the lab of Solomon H. Snyder, MD. He received his undergraduate degree from Montana State University while performing basic neuroscience research with Thomas E. Hughes, PhD.

  • Randi Schuster, PhD, Clinical and Research Fellow

    Randi Schuster is a neuropsychologist with specialized expertise in the cognitive ramifications of early drug exposure. She is currently funded by a five-year NIH NIDA career development award, mentored by Dr. Evins in the Center for Addiction Medicine and Dr. Smoller in the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit.

  • Amanda Zheutlin, PhD, Research Fellow

    Amanda Zheutlin, PhD is a postdoctoral research fellow advised by Dr. Smoller at PNGU. She received her PhD from Yale University where she worked with Tyrone Cannon, PhD, investigating how genes influence neurodevelopment and cognition in psychosis. At PNGU she is interested in continuing that line of work, as well as developing risk prediction algorithms for psychiatric disorders.

Graduate Students

  • Yen-Feng Lin, MD, MS, MHS

    Yen-Feng Lin is a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also a board-certified psychiatrist in Taiwan. Yen-Feng’s research interest is focused on population genetics and genetic epidemiology of psychiatric disorders. He is working with Dr. Smoller studying the genetic overlaps between personality traits and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the impact of personality traits on the association between genetics and CVD.

    Yen-Feng received his MD degree from National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan. He received an MS in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health, and his MHS in mental health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

  • Meg Ming-Jung Wang, MSc

    Meg Wang, MSc, is a doctoral student in Epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She graduated with a BA in the biological basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and MSc in epidemiology from Imperial College, London. Her research interests include understanding the genetic underpinnings of depressive disorders and using genetic methods to elucidate the etiology of depression.

  • Vicki Wang

  • Qiu-Yue Zhong

    Qiu-Yue Zhong is a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Qiu-Yue’s research interest is focused on maternal mental health. She is working with Dr. Smoller developing a phenotypic algorithm to identify pregnant women with suicidal behaviors using natural language processing.

Affiliated Investigators

Mei-Hua Hall, PhD
Mert Sabuncu, PhD
Avram Holmes, PhD
Justin Baker, MD
Tamar Katz, MD, PhD

Alumni

Founding Director
David Pauls

Visiting Investigators
Carolina Blaya
Soraya Seedat

Post-docs
Jennifer Barnett
Shaunna Berkovitch
Sarah Bergen
Jennifer DiNieri
Laramie Duncan
Erin Dunn
Laura Germine
Jie Huang
Phil Hyoun Lee
Lauren McGrath
Alisha Pollastri
Shaun Purcell
Nadia Solovieff
Margaret Wey
Anna Wiste
Lo-Hua Yuan

Program Managers
Holly Sciortino
Alison Hoffnagle

Project Managers
Felecia Cerrato
Stephen Haddad
Patience Gallagher
Francine Molay
Priya Moorjani
Beth Rosen-Sheidley
Catherine Shain

 

Office/Grants Managers
Talia Goldsmith
Jennifer Pinto
Katie Sklarsky
Jamie Weller
Samantha Schwartz
Erin Anderson

Analysts
Lori Thomas

Graduate Students
Jessica Agnew-Blais
Jian Kong

Laboratory Managers
Jes Fagerness
Brian Galloway

Laboratory Technicians
Sarah Andrus
Natalie Balkema
Aditi Basu
Jonathan Chaponis
Jacqueline Crane
Daisy Dai
Amanda Galenkamp
Allan Guiney
Boyd Gunnell
John Kennedy
Catherine Mayerfeld
Miles Nugent
Gerri Tangren
Jenna Tarasoff
Sarah Weatherall
Aaron Wolf
Lesley Yamaki

Research Coordinators
Stefanie Block
Maria Bulzacchelli
Bridget Chak
Caitlin Clements
Yael Dai
Erica Gardner-Schuster
Connie Guille
Tamar Kaim
Stephanie Racette
Lisa Susswein
Lisa Watras
Sydney Weill
Candace White
Mirella Young

Lab Interns
Noura Al-Juffali
Shannon Bean
Katherine Beattie
Jennifer Bourne
Sofia Chua-Rubenfeld
Catherine Demers
Tomer Finkelberg
John Hoffer
Brendan Lang
Sam Levin
Lydia Lewis
Sony Mysore
Cameron Peebles
Sara Rubenstein
Liz Rubin
Jared Soundy
Zeke Vainer

Undergraduate Thesis Advisee
Malorie Snider

 

Research staff

Research Staff

  • Kristin Joyce

    Kristin Joyce

    Kristin Joyce is the assistant to Dr. Jordan Smoller. Kristin has held this position for over five years and has become an integral part of the PNGU team.

  • Heather Marino

    heather marino
  • Emily Madsen

    emily madsen

    Emily Madsen graduated from SUNY Stony Brook University with a BS in biology specializing in developmental genetics. She previously worked closely with the clinical interpretation team of a clinical genetics laboratory focused on rare pediatric disorders. She is excited to learn more about complex trait genetics and psychiatric disorders.

  • Ashley Seiger, MSc, Program Manager

    Ashley Seiger

    Ashley Seiger brings over eight years of research experience to the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit. Ashley received her BS in psychology and biology from Sacred Heart University and recently completed her masters in research administration from Emmanuel College.

 

Research projects

International Cohort Collection for Bipolar Disorder

The major goals of this project are to collect a large cohort of bipolar disorder cases and unaffected controls and construct a harmonized data source for genome-wide studies. The cohort will combind phenotypic data from the U.S. case-control sample with a parallel, separately funded European case-control sample.

Gene Regulation and Linkage Analysis in Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

PIs: Bruce Cohen and Dost Ongur
The goal of this study is to examine genetic variants associated with psychotic disorders in a large cohort of patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder.

Exposure, D-Cycloserine Enhancement and Genetic Modulators in Panic Disorder

PI: Mark Pollack
The major goals of this project are to compare the acute efficacy of d-cycloserine (DCS) augmentation relative to placebo augmentation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of patients with panic disorder, examine the longer-term effects of DCS and to examine whether genetic loci strongly implicated in the neurobiology of fear conditioning and extinction are associated with extinction learning in response to CBT alone or CBT/DCS treatment.


Contact the Smoller Lab to learn more about our research.

 

Publications

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