2013 Klerman Prize Honorable Mention: Daniel Mueller, M.D., Ph.D.

Daniel Mueller, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain and behavior research expert on mental illness
Daniel Mueller, M.D., Ph.D.

2009 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant: Lipogenesis Gene Variants in Antipsychotic-Induced Weight Gain in Independent Samples from the US and Germany


Daniel Mueller, M.D., Ph.D., is Head of the Pharmacogenetics Research Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. The goal of his research is to improve psychopharmacological treatment by implementing personalized medicine. Toward this end he is developing genetically based test algorithms in patients affected by major mental illnesses, a research area known as psychiatric pharmacogenetics. 

In his 2009 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant project, Dr. Mueller addressed the widespread problem of antipsychotic-induced weight gain, a side-effect associated with most antipsychotic medications that can lead to diabetes and cardiac symptoms and a shortened life span. Dr. Mueller and his team identified important gene variants

associated with excessive weight gain induced by antipsychotic medications, including genetic variants of the dopamine D2 receptor, the main site of action for antipsychotic medications, and of the genes for Neurpeptide-Y and Cannabinoid-1-receptors, which are involved in modulating appetite.

Dr. Mueller is currently developing an algorithm that will incorporate gene-gene interactions and clinical and demographic risk factors, such as age, baseline weight and co-medications, as a predictive test for antipsychotic-induced weight gain. Genetic predictors of negative metabolic effects would help to avoid trial-and-error switches of medication, improve patient compliance and help to prevent premature death.

Dr. Mueller earned his M.D. at the University of Bonn, Germany, and his Ph.D. at Charité University Medicine Berlin. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at Bonn and at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

“My 2009 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant has provided me with the funds to conduct important studies examining the genetics of antipsychotic-induced weight gain. These studies have resulted in numerous publications which in turn have helped me in my promotion to Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. These achievements have then resulted in obtaining new grants, including my recently awarded 2013 NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant.”

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