Joel Gelernter, M.D., the newly named Foundations’ Fund Professor of Psychiatry, focuses his research on the genetics of psychiatric illness.

The director of the Division of Human Genetics in the Department of Psychiatry, Gelernter seeks to identify genes that predispose individuals to substance-dependence traits—primarily cocaine, opioid, nicotine, and alcohol dependence, as well as to other psychiatric traits, especially anxiety disorders. In addition, he explores the genetics of other phenotypes, such as neuroimaging measures and basic issues in population genetics. His laboratory is engaged in ongoing research collaborations on the genetics of substance dependence with colleagues at the Chulalongkorn Faculty of Medicine in Bangkok, Thailand, and he helps to train Thai investigators in substance-dependence genetics at Yale. He has also conducted research in China and Israel.

Gelernter is a 1979 graduate of Yale College. He received his M.D. at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1983, and fellowship training at the National Institute of Mental Health. He has been a full professor at the School of Medicine since 2002, and is currently professor of psychiatry, genetics, and neurobiology.

He also is affiliated with the Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics, and Development track of the Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

An associate editor of Neuropsychopharmacology, Gelernter is on the editorial boards of Biological PsychiatryThe American Journal of Medical Genetics Part BPsychiatric Genetics, and Asian Biomedicine.

The professorship was established with contributions from The Foundations’ Fund for Research in Psychiatry, established by philanthropist Charles B.G. Murphy, a member of the Yale College Class of 1928.