Short Course on the Genetics of Addiction

Location: TBD
Dates: Winter, 2022/23 (to be confirmed)

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Millions of people worldwide struggle with addiction, a chronic, complex condition involving genes, environment, and behavior. To provide a path toward deeper understanding and improved public health measures, scientists must first unlock the fundamental biology of the disorder. This requires advanced genetic tools and methods to reveal the genes and biological networks that contribute to addiction.

This JAX short course brings together world-renowned experts in addiction, human genetics, and mouse genetics. Through a combination of lectures and hands-on computational modules, the course will feature:

  • New methods and applications of mouse genetics to addiction,
  • Genetic and bioinformatics approaches to augment behavioral studies, and
  • Techniques for analyzing human genetic studies of addiction.

The course also provides key opportunities to network with students, researchers, and other professionals; and explore potential scientific collaborations.

Genetics of Addiction is geared toward students of all experience levels, from undergraduate and graduate students who seek an introduction to the field, to experienced addiction researchers who wish to hone their genetic skills and knowledge. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn the latest tools and approaches in addiction and genetic research, allowing students and researchers alike to return to their own communities and make meaningful contributions to science and society.

 JAX strongly encourages diverse learners to participate. Scholarships are available by application.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute On Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R13DA032192.  The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.




Elissa J. Chesler, Ph.D.

Professor, Ann Watson Symington Chair in Addiction Research, The Jackson Laboratory

My laboratory integrates quantitative genetics, bioinformatics and behavioral science to understand and identify the biological basis for the relationships among behavioral traits. We develop and apply cross-species genomic data integration, advanced computing methods, and novel high-precision, high-diversity mouse populations to find genes associated with a constellation of behavioral disorders and other complex traits. This integrative strategy enables us to relate mouse behavior to specific aspects of human disorders, to test the validity of behavioral classification schemes, and to find genes and genetic variants that influence behavior.

Howard Edenberg, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr. Edenberg received his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1973, working in the laboratory of Dr. Philip Hanawalt on DNA repair in mammalian cells. Postdoctoral training with Dr. Joel Huberman (MIT) and Dr. Melvin DePamphilis (Harvard Med School) focused on DNA replication, and included the development of in vitro systems in which to study SV40 replication. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1977, continuing to work on both DNA replication and repair, as well as transcription and the effects of UV irradiation on all of these processes. He became interested in genes involved in alcohol metabolism, and cloned several alcohol dehydrogenase genes (ADHs). He has continued to study their regulation in different cell types. He developed the first PCR-based methods for genotyping variants in the ADH and aldehyde dehydrogenase genes, and with colleagues demonstrated that functional variants in three of these genes affected risk for alcoholism. This led to an interest in alcoholism and other complex genetic diseases, and in applying genomics to understand them. He founded and until recently ran the Center for Medical Genomics, bringing genomic technology to the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is a leader in a major family study, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, as well as in studies of how alcohol exposure affects gene expression in the brain. He is also a leader in a global initiative to carry out meta-analyses of alcohol- and other substance-use disorders, under the framework of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.