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Senior Investigator

Kathleen R. Merikangas, Ph.D.

Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch
Building 35A Room 2E 410
35 Convent Drive MSC3720
Bethesda MD 20892-3720
Office: (301) 496-1172
Lab: (301) 496-1172
Fax: (301) 480-2915

Dr. Kathleen Ries Merikangas is Senior Investigator and Chief of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Merikangas received a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in experimental psychology and music from the University of Notre Dame. She received clinical training through an NIAAA-sponsored master's program and internship at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she continued to conduct clinical research on the Affective Disorders Clinical Research Unit while she pursued a Ph.D. in chronic disease epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. Through a Career Development Award from the NIMH, she completed postdoctoral training in population genetics/genetic epidemiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she joined the faculty and ultimately became a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Psychiatry and Psychology and the Director of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Unit in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.

The Section on Developmental Genetic Epidemiology applies the tools of epidemiology and genetics to identify risk factors for mood and anxiety disorders, and their association with other mental and medical disorders. The group's major research project is a community-based family study investigating affective spectrum disorders and their overlap with other mental disorders, especially anxiety disorders and medical disorders such as migraine and cardiovascular disease. The goal of this research is to identify the endophenotypes that are closer to the biologic expression of genes underlying these disorders as well as environmental moderators of genetic expression. Findings from this research are likely to have important implications for targets of prevention and treatment of affective illness.

Staff Image
  • Kwangmi Ahn, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist

  • Francesca Belouad, M.A.
    Research Psychologist

  • Claudia Choque, B.S.
    Clinical Interviewer

  • Lihong Cui, M.Sc

  • Jaclyn Dozier Franco, B.A.
    Data Manager

  • Jennifer Glaus, Ph.D.
    Visiting Fellow

  • Jian-Ping He, M.S.

  • Jordan Johns, M.S.
    Predoctoral IRTA Fellow

  • Tarannum Lateef, M.D.
    Staff Clinician

  • Peter Leeds, B.S.
    Laboratory Administrator

  • Alyssa McGraw, B.S.

  • Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D.
    Senior Investigator

  • Erin Nakamura, M.P.H.
    Clinical Epidemiology Coordinator

  • Kathy O’Leary, M.S.W
    Senior Clinical Advisor

  • Diana Paksarian, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow

  • Emma Stapp, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow

  • Megan Tsui, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow

  • Kailyn Witonsky, B.A.
    Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow

  • Yao (Mike) Xiao, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow

  • Xueping Zhou, RN, BSN, CCRP