6488-Edenberg, Howard

Howard J. Edenberg, PhD

Distinguished Professor

635 Barnhill Drive
Medical Science, Room 4063E

Indianapolis, IN 46202-5120
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Dr. Edenberg is a molecular biologist and geneticist currently focusing upon complex psychiatric disorders, particularly substance use disorders and bipolar disorder. His early work was on the mechanisms of DNA repair and DNA replication in mammalian cells, and included the development of in vitro systems in which to study them. He became interested in genes involved in alcohol metabolism and cloned several alcohol dehydrogenase genes (ADHs) and studied their regulation in different cell types. He developed the first PCR-based methods for genotyping variants in the ADH and aldehyde dehydrogenase genes, and with colleagues demonstrated that functional variants in three of these genes affected risk for alcoholism. This led to an interest in alcoholism and other complex genetic diseases, and in applying genomics to understand them. He has been a leader in a major family study, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, now in its 34th year, and has studied how alcohol exposure affects gene expression in cells and in the brains of rodents and humans. He founded and until recently ran the Center for Medical Genomics, bringing genomic technology to the Indiana University School of Medicine. More recently he is a leader in the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, a global initiative to carry out meta-analyses of psychiatric and substance-use disorders. He is also carrying out massively parallel reporter assays to determine which genetic variants affect gene expression. He has won several major awards for his work over the decades, including the Distinguished Researcher Award and the Henri Begleiter Excellence in Research Award from the Research Society on Alcohol, and the Valued Colleague Award from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

Key Publications

Edenberg HJ, McClintick JN. (2018) Alcohol dehydrogenases, aldehyde dehydrogenases and alcohol use disorders: a critical review. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 42, 2281-2297. PMID: 30320893.

Smoller JW, Andreassen OA, Edenberg HJ, Faraone SV, Glatt SJ, Kendler KS. (2019) Psychiatric genetics and the structure of psychopathology. Mol Psychiatry 24, 409-420. PMID: 29317742.

Walters RK, Polimanti R … Gelernter J, Edenberg HJ, Agrawal A. (2018) Transancestral GWAS of alcohol dependence reveals common genetic underpinnings with psychiatric disorders. Nature Neuroscience 21(12):1656–1669. PMID: 30482948.
Zhou H, Sealock JM … Edenberg HJ, Agrawal A, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J (2020) Genome-wide meta-analysis of problematic alcohol use in 435,563 individuals yields insights into biology and relationships with other traits. Nature Neuroscience 23: 809-818. PMID: 32451486.

Hatoum, A.S., Colbert … Edenberg, H.J., Bogdan, R., & Agrawal, A. (2023) Multivariate genome-wide association meta-analysis of over 1 million subjects identifies loci underlying multiple substance use disorders. Nat. Mental Health 1, 210–223. PMID: 37250466

Kapoor M, Chao MJ … Edenberg HJ, Marcora E, Agrawal A, Goate A. (2021) Multi-omics integration analysis identifies novel genes for alcoholism with potential overlap with neurodegenerative diseases. Nat Commun. 12(1):5071. PMID: 34417470.

Thapa KS, Chen AB, Lai D, Xuei X, Wetherill L, Tischfield JA, Liu Y, Edenberg HJ. (2020) Identification of Functional Genetic Variants Associated with Alcohol Dependence and Related Phenotypes Using a High-Throughput Assay. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 44, 2494 – 2518. PMID: 33119910.

Breen G, Li Q … Sullivan PF, Collier DA, Edenberg HJ. (2016) Translating genome-wide association findings into new therapeutics for psychiatry. Nature Neuroscience 19, 1392-1396. PMID: 27786187.

Peterson R.E., Kuchenbaecker … Edenberg, H. Huang, L.E. Duncan. (2019) Genome-wide Association Studies in Ancestrally Diverse Populations: Opportunities, Methods, Pitfalls, and Recommendations. Cell 179, 589-603. PMID: 31607513

Edenberg HJ: Perspective on Beyond Statistical Significance: Finding Meaningful Effects. (2021) Complex Psychiatry 7, 1-8. PMID: 35603094.

Additional publications can be found at PubMed and myNCBI

Titles & Appointments

  • Distinguished Professor
  • Chancellor's Professor, IUPUI
  • Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics

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