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Peter Zandi

PETER ZANDI, PhD, is the Arlene and Robert Kogod Professor of Mood Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine and Professor of Mental Health in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Zandi is Co-Director of Research for the Mood Disorders Center, and Vice-Chair of Research for the Department of Mental Health. He received a BA in biology from the University of Pennsylvania, and then went on to earn a PhD in psychiatric epidemiology from the Bloomberg School. After earning his doctorate, he joined the faculty in Mental Health, and has developed a program of research studying the genetic epidemiology of mood disorders.

Dr. Zandi is an international leader in statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology studies of psychiatric disorders. He leads several large, multi-site genetics studies of mood disorders, including the Bipolar Sequencing Consortium. His research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Aging, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. He also serves as a consultant on a large DNA sequencing study of bipolar disorder with the Broad Institute, supported by the Dalio Family Foundation. Additionally, Dr. Zandi has joined national collaborations to identify genetic risk factors for autism and panic disorder, and to assess Alzheimer’s disease therapies.

Dr. Zandi is engaged in research to understand the causes of severe mental illnesses, particularly mood disorders, and to develop more effective strategies to reduce the burden of these illnesses. In his genetic epidemiology work, he leads a dry laboratory that uses statistical and bioinformatics tools to analyze and interpret “big” genomic data from genome-wide studies of psychiatric disorders. In his pharmacoepidemiology work, he investigates strategies for the treatment and prevention of mental illnesses.

Bringing together his interests in genetics and pharmacoepidemiology, Dr. Zandi studies the pharmacogenetics of response to psychiatric medications. His goal: to develop genetic tests that can predict who will respond to a particular drug or who can be prevented from becoming ill by using that drug.

Dr. Zandi has been working to develop new approaches that leverage emerging health informatics tools, such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and mobile technology, for carrying out the next generation of large-scale psychiatric epidemiology research. He is funded to study these methods in young adults with depression. He also leads the National Network of Depression Centers’ Mood Outcome Registry, which takes advantage of EMRs across 26 sites around the country.

Dr. Zandi directs an NIMH-supported Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program to prepare the next generation to use big data to study mental illnesses. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including The Harold and Sylvia Halpert Award and The Morton Kramer Award for the Application of Biostatistics and Epidemiology in Research on the Prevention and Control of Mental Disorders.