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Principal Investigator: Kathleen R Merikangas

Kathleen R Merikangas

Chief
Section on Developmental Genetic Epidemiology
Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch

Photo of Kathleen Merikangas

Biography

Dr. Kathleen Ries Merikangas is Senior Investigator and Chief of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Merikangas received a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in experimental psychology and music from the University of Notre Dame. She received clinical training through an NIAAA-sponsored master's program and internship at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she continued to conduct clinical research on the Affective Disorders Clinical Research Unit while she pursued a Ph.D. in chronic disease epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. Through a Career Development Award from the NIMH, she completed postdoctoral training in population genetics/genetic epidemiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she joined the faculty and ultimately became a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Psychiatry and Psychology and the Director of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Unit in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.

Research Interests

The major areas of Dr. Merikangas' research are: (1) studies of the patterns and components of familial aggregation of mental disorders and familial mechanisms for comorbidity of mental and medical disorders; (2) identification of early signs and risk factors for psychiatric disorders among high and low risk youth using prospective longitudinal high risk studies; and (3) large scale population based studies of mental disorders including high risk designs and prospective longitudinal research. The major project underway in her research group is a community-based family study of affective spectrum disorders and their overlap with other mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders and medical disorders such as migraine and cardiovascular disease. The goal of this research is to identify the endophenotypes that are closer to the biologic expression of genes underlying these disorders and environmental moderators of genetic expression. Findings from this research are likely to have important implications for targets of prevention and treatment of affective illness.

Selected Publications

Mania with and without depression in a community sample of US adolescents . Merikangas KR, Cui L, Kattan G, Carlson GA, Youngstrom EA, Angst J. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;69(9):943-51. PMID: 22566563.

Magnitude, impact, and stability of primary headache subtypes: 30 year prospective Swiss cohort study . Merikangas KR, Cui L, Richardson AK, Isler H, Khoromi S, Nakamura E, Lamers F, Rössler W, Ajdacic-Gross V, Gamma A, Angst J. BMJ. 2011 Aug 25;343:d5076. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d5076. PMID: 21868455.

Prevalence and correlates of bipolar spectrum disorder in the world mental health survey initiative . Merikangas KR, Jin R, He JP, Kessler RC, Lee S, Sampson NA, Viana MC, Andrade LH, Hu C, Karam EG, Ladea M, Medina-Mora ME, Ono Y, Posada-Villa J, Sagar R, Wells JE, Zarkov Z. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;68(3):241-51. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.12. PMID: 21383262.

Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication--Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) . Merikangas KR, He JP, Burstein M, Swanson SA, Avenevoli S, Cui L, Benjet C, Georgiades K, Swendsen J. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Oct;49(10):980-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.017. Epub 2010 Jul 31. PMID: 20855043.

Building 35A, Room 2E410, MSC 3720
Bethesda, MD 20892

Phone: +1 301 496 1172
Fax: +1 301 480 2915

merikank@mail.nih.gov