What Genetics is Telling Us About Substance Use Disorders

Tuesday, July 11, 2023
What Genetics is Telling Us About Substance Use Disorders

Decades of family and twin studies have established that substance use disorders have a familial and heritable component. With the advent of genome-wide association studies, our understanding of the genetic factors influencing substance use and misuse has progressed tremendously; hundreds of locations in the human genome have now been implicated in different aspects of substance use, and the list is expanding each year. Many of these DNA risk variations are shared across other psychiatric and other health disorders, a finding that suggests new ways of defining and potentially treating substance use disorders. This webinar will discuss these findings and some of the key advances that have made them possible, as well as new avenues of research that promise to shed new light on the biology of substance use disorders.

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Presented by 
Sandra Sanchez-Roige, Ph.D.
Sandra Sanchez-Roige, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine

University of California, San Diego

Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

2018 Young Investigator Grant


Dr. Sandra Sanchez-Roige is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), and the Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). Her work is focused on understanding causal factors contributing to substance use disorders and diseases characterized by high levels of impulsivity. In the past, she has used behavioral and pharmacological experiments and molecular analysis to address this question, with special emphasis on translational validity to human studies. Her current research focuses on the quantitative analysis of complex traits in humans, and translating some of the research findings in mouse and rat models. More recently, she has used big data and advanced technologies to identify individuals with substance use disorders based on data contained in electronic health records. For this work, she collaborates with many professional societies and international consortiums (the psycheMERGE Consortium, the Externalizing Consortium, the Latin American Genomics Consortium, the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium). Over the next decade, she seeks to integrate the oceans of data generated by human addiction genetics research with data from model organisms, with the goal of furthering our biological understanding of addiction and bringing the most promising results to the clinic.

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 also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association.

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.