The primary research interest of Marin Veldic, M.D., is in molecular epigenetics and development of novel treatment protocols for bipolar disorder.
Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that are not caused by variations in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes can be inherited and are susceptible to a wide range of environmental influences.
Dr. Veldic is currently studying epigenetic regulation of the neurotransmitter glutamate and related genes in bipolar disorder. He is also exploring the impact of epigenetic mechanisms on chronic pain conditions in children and adolescents. Dr. Veldic's ultimate goal is to develop more-effective individualized treatment protocols for mood disorders and other conditions that are presumably under strong epigenetic influence.
- Differences in epigenetic regulation in bipolar disorder subgroups. This study examines differences in bipolar patients with and without comorbid addiction (such as alcohol, nicotine or food). The goal is to develop individualized treatment approaches for different subgroups of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
- Comparative effectiveness trial of lamotrigine versus fluoxetine for adolescents with bipolar disorder and depression. In addition to a comparison of treatment effectiveness, this study evaluates genetic and epigenetic predictors of response to treatment and adverse events.
- Utilization of pharmacogenomic testing in clinical practice. This study looks at how results of genetic tests for enzymes involved in metabolism of medications (cytochrome P-450 family of genes) and testing for the serotonin transporter gene are impacting clinical decision-making and selection of treatments.
- Clinical phenotypes and biomarkers in youth with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents results in greater rates of comorbidity, suicide, psychotic symptoms and treatment resistance compared with adults. Identifying genetic risk factors and pharmacogenomic predictors of response for bipolar disorder in youth could enhance selective early intervention with pharmacological agents.
- Adolescent pain rehabilitation and epigenetic regulation. This study examines how participation in the adolescent pain rehabilitation program is impacting epigenetic regulation of chronic pain-related gene expression. The next phase of this project involves development of a biobank for adolescents with chronic pain.
Significance to patient care
Identifying clinical phenotypes and advancing the understanding of epigenomic and pharmacogenomic profiles lays a foundation for individualized treatment protocols for patients with bipolar disorder and other major psychiatric disorders.
From a practical perspective, the hope is that future routine psychiatric practices will involve administration of simple blood, saliva or urine tests to confirm the diagnosis and guide treatment selection, just as in other branches of medicine.
- Fellow, The International College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2016
- Recipient, Travel Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2013
- District branch representative, American Psychiatric Association Advocacy Day, 2009
- Council member, Minnesota Psychiatric Society, 2008-2011
- Reviewer, Neuroscience and Mental Health Board, Medical Research Council, United Kingdom, 2007