Genetics Studies

Cellular Models for Mood Disorders

Principal Investigator: Fernando Goes, M.D. (IRB NA_00044928)

Enrollment is now closed.

For more information about participation in future studies, please call 410-614-1017.

In the past scientists have had almost no access to living brain tissue. This has slowed research of brain disorders like bipolar disorder and major depression since we have not been able to study the nerve cells that are likely to play an important role in disease. Now, new technologies may help us gain a “proxy”, or a window into the brain from tissue that is much more easily accessible. Scientists at Johns Hopkins are able to isolate nerve cells from the superficial lining of the nose (the nasal epithelium) and to transform skin cells into living neurons.

These nerve cells (or neurons) were studied to detect molecular abnormalities that may be associated with severe mood disorders. These cells were also studied with medications that are currently used to treat these illnesses so that we may detect molecular differences that could help guide more effective treatment.

Family Genetic Studies of Bipolar Disorder

Enrollment for the family genetic studies of bipolar disorder is closed. Data analysis is ongoing.

We are collecting contact information from interested families for future studies. For these studies Johns Hopkins is looking for large families with bipolar disorder and depression to participate. If you have bipolar disorder and a biological family member has bipolar disorder or depression, your family may qualify for our research study. Please call our research staff at 410-614-1017.

Participation involves having an interview with a clinician and giving a small blood sample. You do not have to come to Johns Hopkins to participate. All information gathered will be confidential and results will be published in a manner to ensure anonymity. All family members would be compensated for participating.

Lithium Study: Pharmacogenomics of Mood Stabilizer Response in Bipolar Disorder

Principal Investigator: Peter Zandi, MPH, MHS, PhD; IRB NA_00043300

Enrollment is now closed.

For more information about participation in future studies, please call 410-614-1017.

If you have bipolar disorder, you know that the medications used to treat it often have different effects on each patient.  You also know that finding the right medication(s) for you is mostly a process of trial and error, a frustrating process that is often hard on both patients and their families.  This study is being done to find out more about if there are genes that influence whether patients with bipolar disorder benefit from a particular medication.  The purpose to identify genes that affect the response to two medications commonly used for bipolar disorder: lithium and valproate (Depakote). The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a test that would help doctors know which medication has the best chance of helping patients like you – without the trial and error.