Rochester, Minnesota




The research of Brandon J. Coombes, Ph.D., focuses on the genetics of complex diseases, particularly in psychiatric disorders such as opioid use disorder, alcohol use disorder, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

Focus areas

  • Opioid use disorder. Along with Tyler S. Oesterle, M.D., M.P.H., Dr. Coombes is a co-principal investigator of the opioid and multiple addiction biobank at Mayo Clinic. The biobank provides a rich resource for researching addiction and understanding the biological and environmental factors involved in developing opioid use disorder, which provides a rich resource for research in addiction, and understanding biological and environmental factors for developing opioid use disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder. Dr. Coombes provides statistical genetics support for the Mayo Clinic Bipolar Disorder Biobank. The biobank studies include leading analyses in the largest genetic study of bipolar disorder conducted by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.
  • Electronic health records. With the ability to link biobank data to electronic health records (EHR), Dr. Coombes is conducting psychiatric genetics research using coded data and notes from the EHR to perform large-scale genetic analyses and investigate the clinical usefulness of genetic risk estimates that are derived using research cohorts.
  • Statistical genetics methods development. As the types of analyses described above require the application of advanced statistical techniques, Dr. Coombes also works on the development of novel statistical methods for the analysis of genetic and EHR data. His methods currently focus on polygenic risk scores and their application to diverse populations. He also is developing methods for gene-environment interaction and risk prediction using EHR data.

Significance to patient care

By furthering the understanding of the biological etiology of psychiatric illness, medical professionals can enable improved diagnosis and prevention, as well as develop novel therapies. Genetic risk of traits is now offered commercially, and it will be critical to consider how to best bring these risk estimates into the clinic. Dr. Coombes' goal is to apply them equitably and personalize medicine for patients.


Administrative Appointment

  1. Associate Consultant I-Research, Division of Computational Biology, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Academic Rank

  1. Assistant Professor of Biostatistics


  1. Ph.D. - Biostatistics University of Minnesota
  2. BS - Mathematics Abilene Christian University

Clinical Studies

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