The Psychiatric Genomics and Pharmacogenomics Program advances scientific knowledge about genetic factors related to complex mental health conditions, especially bipolar disorder and addiction. Researchers in our program study how genetic variants contribute to specific aspects of mental health conditions, including prognosis and response to treatment.
Our work includes a focus on pharmacogenomics, which is the study of how genes affect the way a person responds to medicine. Pharmacogenomics is part of the field of precision medicine. In precision medicine, treatment is customized to each person based on their genetics and other individual factors.
The Psychiatric Genomics and Pharmacogenomics Program also provides expertise on statistical genetics and bioinformatics for several large research programs and studies. These include the Samuel C. Johnson Genomics of Addiction Program, the Bipolar Disorder Biobank and pharmacogenomics research studies of response to antidepressant medicine.
The program also provides analytical expertise for psychiatric pharmacometabolomics and other biomarker studies. Pharmacometabolomics, another area of precision medicine, studies a person's metabolic profile, including diet, age, health and other factors, to help evaluate their individual response to medicine. The program also develops novel statistical methods to analyze genomic data in the study of complex psychiatric traits — genetic variants that influence mental health conditions.
The director of the Psychiatric Genomics and Pharmacogenomics Program is Joanna M. Biernacka, Ph.D., an expert in the area of the genetics of complex diseases. Dr. Biernacka is also chair of the Division of Computational Biology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She holds full professorships in both biostatistics and psychiatry at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Read more about Dr. Biernacka.