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Treatment Horizons in Bipolar Disorder-Stem Cells and Pharmacology

Dr. John Kelsoe

Dr. Kelsoe graduated from medical school at the University of Alabama, Birmingham in 1981. He completed internship training at Washington University in St. Louis and psychiatry residency at UCSD. He then went to the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland for 4 years and returned to San Diego to join the Department of Psychiatry faculty in 1989 at UCSD.

Research Focus:  

Dr. Kelsoe's longstanding research focus has been the genetics of psychiatric illness, bipolar disorder in particular. Over the past 20 years, his work has been focused on using a variety of molecular genetic methods to identify the specific genes that predispose to bipolar disorder. He has pursued this primarily by using positional cloning methods such as linkage and association in families in which the illness is genetically transmitted. He has also employed animal models of bipolar disorder in order to identify possible candidate genes that can then be tested in clinical populations. This approach has led to the recent identification of the gene for G protein receptor kinase 3 (GRK3) as a likely gene for bipolar disorder on chromosome 22. Dr. Kelsoe is currently actively engaged in genome wide association studies of bipolar disorder. He directs the Bipolar Genome Study (BiGS) which is a 13-site consortium focused on identifying genes for bipolar disorder and their relationship to clinical symptoms. He also co-directs the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium for Bipolar Disorder (PGC-BD) which is an international collaborative effort designed to identify genes for bipolar disorder in a sample of over 10,000 patients. These large exciting new technological approaches promise great advances in understanding the causes of bipolar disorder.  

Clinical Focus: 

Dr. Kelsoe's primary clinical focus is the treatment of refractory mood disorders. He is the Medical Director of the STEP Clinic at the VA Hospital where they specialize in the treatment of chronic and refractory mood disorders. Patients at this clinic receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and are eligible to participate in longitudinal research studies of the ability of genes to predict course, outcome, and treatment response.