Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
109 Zina Pitcher Pl 5047 TC BSRB
Ann Arbor MI 48109-2200
Epidemiological studies indicate that genes and life stress are two of the most important factors in the etiology of depression. The goal of our laboratory is to shed light on how human genetic variation and stress interact to create the pathophysiological architecture underlying major depression.
While there has been growing interest in gene x stress interactions in depression over the past decade, progress has been limited because the onset of stressful situations is difficult to predict beforehand and because the type of stress encountered varies widely between individuals. Our primary study at this time, seeks to overcome these barriers by utilizing medical internship as a model of stress. Medical internship, the first year of professional physician training, presents a unique situation where the onset of a uniform, chronic stressor can be prospectively predicted. We are utilizing focused genotype arrays in the internship sample to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms and copy number variants involved in moderating the relationship between stress and depression. In addition, we are using models such as medical internship to investigate the effects of stress on epigenetic patterns, serum protein levels, endothelial and neural function.