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Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch

Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch (GEB-SDGE)

Dr. Kathleen Ries Merikangas is Senior Investigator and Chief of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Prior to joining the NIMH IRP, Dr. Merikangas was a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she served as Director of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Unit in the Department 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.

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.

Kathleen Ries Merikangas, Ph.D.
Chief, Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch
Intramural Research Program
National Institute of Mental Health
35A Convent Drive, MSC #3720
Bethesda, MD 20892-3720
Tel: (301) 496 1172
Fax: (301) 480 2915
Email: merikank@mail.nih.gov