6488-Edenberg, Howard

Howard J. Edenberg, PhD

Distinguished Professor

635 Barnhill Drive
Medical Science, Room 4063E

Indianapolis, IN 46202-5120


Dr. Edenberg received his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1973, working in the laboratory of Dr. Philip Hanawalt on DNA repair in mammalian cells. Postdoctoral training with Dr. Joel Huberman (MIT) and Dr. Melvin DePamphilis (Harvard Med School) focused on DNA replication, and included the development of in vitro systems in which to study SV40 replication. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1977, continuing to work on both DNA replication and repair, as well as transcription and the effects of UV irradiation on all of these processes. He became interested in genes involved in alcohol metabolism, and cloned several alcohol dehydrogenase genes (ADHs). He has continued to study 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 founded and until recently ran the Center for Medical Genomics, bringing genomic technology to the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is a leader in a major family study, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, as well as in studies of how alcohol exposure affects gene expression in the brain. He is also a leader in a global initiative to carry out meta-analyses of alcohol- and other substance-use disorders, under the framework of 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. PMCID: PMC6286250

Walters RK, Polimanti R, Johnson EC … 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. PMCID: PMC6430207

Zhou H, Sealock JM, Sanchez-Roige S, Clarke T-K, Levey DF, Cheng Z, Li B, Polimanti R, Kember RL, Smith RV, Thygesen JH, Morgan MY, Atkinson SR, Thursz MR, Nyegaard M, Mattheisen M, Børglum AD, Johnson EC, Justice AC, Palmer AA, McQuillin A, Davis LK, 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.

Smoller JW, Andreassen OA, Edenberg HJ, Faraone SV, Glatt SJ, Kendler KS. (2018) Psychiatric genetics and the structure of psychopathology. Mol Psychiatry 24, 409-420.  PMID: 29317742. PMCID: PMC6684352

Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (2019) Genomic Relationships, Novel Loci, and Pleiotropic Mechanisms across Eight Psychiatric Disorders Cell 179, 1469-1482. PMID: 31835028

Breen G, Li Q, Roth BL, O'Donnell P, Didriksen M, Dolmetsch R, O'Reilly PF, Gaspar HA, Manji H, Huebel C, Kelsoe JR, Malhotra D, Bertolino A, Posthuma D, Sklar P, Kapur S, Sullivan PF, Collier DA, Edenberg HJ. (2016) Translating genome-wide association findings into new therapeutics for psychiatry. Nature Neuroscience 19, 1392-1396. PMID: 27786187. PMCID: PMC5676453

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. PMCID: PMC7725989.

Peterson R.E., K. Kuchenbaecker, R.K. Walters, C-Y. Che, A.B. Popejoy, S. Periyasamy, M. Lam, C. Iyegbe, R.J. Strawbridge, L. Brick, C.E. Carey, A.R. Martin, J.L. Meyers, J. Su, J. Chen, A.C. Edwards, A. Kalungi, N. Koen, L. Majara, E. Schwarz, J.W. Smoller, E.A. Stahl, P.F. Sullivan, E.s Vassos, B. Mowry, M.L. Prieto, A. Cuellar-Barboza, T.B. Bigdeli, H.J. 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

Titles & Appointments

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

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