Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Our laboratory focuses on genetic factors that predict response to medications (pharmacogenetics). In collaboration with clinical researchers at Stanford and elsewhere we are examining polymorphisms that affect the metabolism and/or pharmacodynamic effects of medications used in neuropsychiatry. A large bank of DNA samples from patients treated with medications having different pharmacologic actions in the brain has been assembled, along with clinical efficacy and side effect data. Polymorphisms that affect receptors, transport proteins, and metabolic enzymes are being tested as predictors of clinical outcome. We have identified several genetic markers that predict treatment discontinuations due to side effects in patients receiving widely-prescribed antidepressant medications. We are also studying the pharmacogenetics of antidepressant medications as a treatment for smoking cessation, and have recently identified markers that predict response to bupropion and transdermal nicotine.