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Kenneth Seedman Kendler

Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
Professor of Human Genetics
Director, Psychiatric Genetics Research Program
Director, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

Tel: 804 828 8590
Fax: 804 828 1471
P.O. Box:
Biotech 1-123

The major focus of my research is in the genetics of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. Two major methodologies are used in this research. The first involves large population based twin samples. In these twins, we address the aggregate role of genetic and environmental factors. We seek to understand how these factors interact and correlate, and how, through development, the vulnerability to psychiatric illness and drug abuse is expressed. I have focused my work with twin samples from Virginia - in particular the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders - but also worked with twin samples from Norway, Sweden and Holland. My work has focused on a wide range of disorders including major depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, externalizing behaviors, alcoholism, and drug abuse. I have worked a lot toward understanding the genetic and environmental sources of comorbidity of psychiatric and substance use disorders. My work has recently focused on developmental models and models examining the structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for DSM disorders examined at the criteria level.
The second major research strategy that I work with is molecular genetics. I am closely involved in molecular genetics studies of schizophrenia, alcoholism, major depression and nicotine dependence. We have used the strategies of linkage analysis, candidate gene association analysis, but most of the current focus now is on genome wide association. I have recently been especially interested in polygene models as applied to GWAS data.
Two other active areas of interest are psychiatric nosology. I have been heavily involved in the developments of DSM-III-R and DSM-IV and am now deeply involved in the various aspects of the development of DSM-V. Finally, I have a developed interest in the interface between Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Philosophy with several paper-writing projects on-going.

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