OCD: Using Genome Data to Predict Risk, Symptoms and Treatment Response

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
OCD: Using Genome Data to Predict Risk, Symptoms and Treatment Response

Dr. Zai will discuss how the human genome holds clues to understanding the heterogeneity and complexity of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She will explain her team's use of genome data to identify genetic variations that contribute to the risk of developing OCD and which may enable prediction of the response of individual patients to antidepressant medications.

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Presented by 
Gwyneth Zai, M.D., FRCP(C), Ph.D.
Gwyneth Zai, M.D., FRCP(C), Ph.D.
2016 Young Investigator Grant

Assistant Professor

University of Toronto


Many people with OCD who take medication to manage their disorder need to try several different medications before finding one that works. This means months or even years of trying — and failing — to find effective treatment for their symptoms. Dr. Zai’s research seeks to reveal biomarkers that can be identified through a blood test, and could predict the type of antidepressant that will work best for each unique patient. Matching patients with effective medication immediately could dramatically improve outcomes for many people with OCD.

Moderated by
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host and executive producer of the series. The program, broadcast nationwide, is available online, and focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein served as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association from 2012 - 2023.

Dr. Borenstein is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Section of Psychiatry at the Academy. He also has served as the President of the New York State Psychiatric Association. Dr. Borenstein earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his medical degree at New York University.