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.
We also have a large database of microarray gene expression results that we generated with transgenic mice modeling Alzheimer’s disease. Using these data, we are currently examining the effects of a chronic high fat diet on global gene expression and Alzheimer’s neuropathology in the transgenic mouse brain.
I also teach strength and conditioning to Stanford undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students, and postdoctoral trainees. My current offering is Athletics 177, Circuit Aerobic Weight Training. This is a high intensity workout combining strength training, plyometrics, agility, and cardiovascular conditioning. Interested students should contact me in advance as there is normally a wait list.