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Arpana Agrawal, PhD

Current Position
Professor of Psychiatry

University Roles
Courses taught:
(a) Psych 345: Genes, Environment and Human Behavior (Spring only)
(b) Biol 5483: Human Linkage and Association (Fall only)
(c) PHS 562: Addiction and Addictive Behaviors, Psychiatric Genetics (Spring only).
(d) Summer Workshop in Genomics Methods (ipng.wustl.edu)

Education and Training
PhD Human Genetics (Quantitative)


Areas of Research Interests
My research focuses on epidemiological and genomic approaches to the study of substance use and addiction. I am funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study how genetic and environmental factors work together to shape our liability to use cannabis and become addicted to it. In addition, I am co-PI of the Substance Use Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC). The goal of our working group is to identify common genetic variants that are related to liability for alcohol, nicotine, cannabis and other drug use disorders, and further to relate these loci (and their aggregate effect) to genetic risk for other psychiatric traits (e.g., personality) and disorders (e.g., depression).


Key Publications
Agrawal A, Nelson EC, Bucholz KK, Tillman R, Grucza RA, Statham DJ, Madden PA, Martin NG, Heath AC, Lynskey MT, (2017 Sep). Major depressive disorder, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, and cannabis involvement in discordant twins: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet Psychiatry. 4(9): 706-714.  Full Article ->

Carey Caitlin E.,Agrawal Arpana,Bucholz Kathleen K.,Hartz Sarah M.,Lynskey Michael T.,Nelson Elliot C.,Bierut Laura J.,Bogdan Ryan,;Associations between Polygenic Risk for Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Involvement;;  Full Article ->

Pagliaccio D, Barch DM, Bogdan R, Wood PK, Lynskey MT, Heath AC, Agrawal A, (2015 Oct). Shared Predisposition in the Association Between Cannabis Use and Subcortical Brain Structure. JAMA Psychiatry. 72(10): 994-1001.  Full Article ->

Dick DM, Agrawal A, Keller MC, Adkins A, Aliev F, Monroe S, Hewitt JK, Kendler KS, Sher KJ (2015 Jan). Candidate gene-environment interaction research: reflections and recommendations. Perspect Psychol Sci. 10(1): 37-59.  Full Article ->

Nelson EC, Agrawal A, Heath AC, Bogdan R, Sherva R, Zhang B, Al-Hasani R, Bruchas MR, Chou YL, Demers CH, Carey CE, Conley ED, Fakira AK, Farrer LA, Goate A, Gordon S, Henders AK, Hesselbrock V, Kapoor M, Lynskey MT, Madden PA, Moron JA, Rice JP, Saccone NL, Schwab SG, Shand FL, Todorov AA, Wallace L, Wang T, Wray NR, Zhou X, Degenhardt L, Martin NG, Hariri AR, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J, Bierut LJ, Clark DJ, Montgomery GW, (2016 May). Evidence of CNIH3 involvement in opioid dependence. Mol. Psychiatry. 21(5): 608-14.  Full Article ->

Carey CE, Agrawal A, Zhang B, Conley ED, Degenhardt L, Heath AC, Li D, Lynskey MT, Martin NG, Montgomery GW, Wang T, Bierut LJ, Hariri AR, Nelson EC, Bogdan R, (2015 Nov). Monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL) polymorphism rs604300 interacts with childhood adversity to predict cannabis dependence symptoms and amygdala habituation: Evidence from an endocannabinoid system-level analysis. J Abnorm Psychol. 124(4): 860-77.  Full Article ->


Funded Research Projects
NIDA(PI):Cannabis, Depression and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

NIDA(PI):Cannabis and Tobacco Involvement: A Twin Study

NIDA(Co-PI):Non-Dependent Opioid Misusers as GWAS Controls

NIDA(PI):Delineating the Role of Genetic Influences on Cannabis Involvement

NIMH(co-PI):7/7 Psychiatric Genomics Consortium: Finding Actionable Variation