The Genetics and Neuroscience SIG brings together researchers who are broadly involved in the biological science of anxiety and depressive disorders. This includes clinical and basic neuroscience (electrophysiology, imaging, animal models, experimental paradigms) and genetics (twin and family studies, molecular genetics, endophenotypes). The SIG provides ADAA members with opportunities to network, share ideas, form collaborations, and update one another and the broader ADAA community on the state of the genetics and neuroscience field. The group is comprised of a diverse array of clinicians, researchers, and clinician-researchers across the student, postdoctoral scholar/clinical trainee, and faculty/practitioner levels.

Recent SIG activities include: (1) Establishing a repository of information on measures relevant to the genetics and neuroscience study of anxiety and depression, so that anyone in the ADAA community can learn what measures are out there, how to find them, and how they link to other units of analysis within the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) domain, and (2) Providing monthly updates on articles relevant to the group’s focus.

At the 2018 ADAA Annual Conference in Washington DC., the SIG hosted a symposium on Ketamine as a Novel Approach for Treatment-Resistant Depression and Anxiety," presented by Drs. Carlos Zarate (National Institute of Mental Health) and Chadi Abdallah (Yale University).

SIG Co-Chairs:

  • Lynnette A. Averill, PhD, National Center for PTSD
  • Karmel Choi, PhD, Harvard University 
  • Sahib Khalsa, MD, PhD, Laureate Institute for Brain Research 
  • Sanne JH van Rooij, PhD, Emory University 

Board Liasion:
Sheila Rauch, PhD, ABPP, Emory University School of Medicine 

Current SIG News - October, 2018

New GAN SIG co-chairs

We are excited to announce that Lynnette (Nette) Averill (Yale University/National Center for PTSD) and Karmel Choi (Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) have joined the GAN SIG leadership team this year. They bring with them strong genetics and neuroscience expertise and a refreshing perspective, and have already made great contributions to the SIG. They will each serve a two-year term, meaning that this year will be the last year that Sanne and Sahib serve as the GAN SIG chairs.

GAN SIG membership update

We are growing! As of this update we now have 128 members and counting, up from about 100 members compared with last year’s meeting. If you have colleagues who may be interested in joining us, please pass along our information.

Plans for the GAN SIG

During last year’s member survey, the members expressed a clear desire for increased interaction surrounding the ADAA meeting with an emphasis on an active web presence. To that end, we have begun regularly posting new articles with particular relevance for to GAN SIG members via the online member portal. For example, see Sanne’s most recent blog post about the use of neuroimaging as a tool for treatment prediction, and consider letting us know your thoughts: Are we ready to use neuroimaging predictors for treatment response? What else do we need? What is the best way to apply this?  We also encourage our SIG members to post articles and start a discussion on topics that you are interested in. Stay tuned for future updates, you should see them in your email digest, or directly on the GAN SIG website.

Upcoming GAN SIG activities

  1. Webinar: We are pleased to announce that we will be co-sponsoring an upcoming webinar on the role of genetics in anxiety disorders with Dr. Jordan Smoller, on December 6, 2018 from 12:00-1:00 pm EST. Registration will be open soon. Dr. Smoller is an international expert on the role of genetics and psychopathology (and a GAN SIG member!), with innumerable publications on this topic. This article seems particularly relevant. 

  2. GAN SIG symposium: following the success of last year’s conference event, we are working on an exciting ADAA symposium on prediction in mental health using genetics and neuroimaging. Stay tuned for a future update with more details!

Send us your thoughts!

Can we do a better job with bringing the GAN SIG group together? Have any ideas for additional activities? We welcome suggestions! Please email us

2017-2018 Annual Report

Accomplishments 

  1. We informed the membership of the SIG activities at this year’s meeting.
  2. We asked past SIG meeting attendees (n=60) to confirm their intent to continue to participate so we could update the membership list and encourage more activity from junior members. This resulted in the current tally of 51 members. 
  3. We established toolbox of information on measures relevant to genetics and neuroscience studies of anxiety and depression, so that anyone in the ADAA community can learn what measures are out there, how to find them, and how they link to other units of analysis within the Research Domain Criteria domains. After we created this dropbox repository, we asked feedback from the GAN SIG members, and asked them to add any measures that were missing, thereby making it an interactive tool for all researchers to use.
  4. We posted monthly updates about recently published studies via blog and the GAN-SIG webpage. Posts covered the role of cannabinoids in anxiety, ketamine for depression, propranolol for PTSD, and prazosin for PTSD.
  5. For this year's ADAA meeting in Washington DC, we organized a symposium on “Ketamine as a Novel Approach for Treatment-Resistant Depression and Anxiety.” We invited two experts in this field to discuss this topic from a genetics and neuroscience perspective: Drs. Carlos Zarate (National Institute of Mental Health) and Chadi Abdallah (Yale University). Their presentation will be followed by an interactive discussion.

Ongoing/plans for the future

  1. We will continue our monthly updates on articles relevant to the group’s focus by posting these articles on the ADAA webpage. We also include an explanation of its relevance to the members of the GAN-SIG.
  2. Start our search for new leaders of the GAN-SIG,  such that we can transition after two years
  3. Organize the GAN-SIG symposium for the 2019 ADAA meeting; decide on a topic and and invite experts in the field of neuroscience and genetics to give a presentation about this their research related to this topic. 

If you’re interested in joining this SIG, please login to your member account and choose Groups under My Membership on the right hand navigation. Have a question about the member platform? Please contact Lisa Patterson, ADAA Membership Director. 

Please view the ADAA SIG Guidelines for responsibilities and expectations.