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Laura Jean Bierut, MD

Current Position
Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry

University Roles
Vice Chair for Faculty Development

Education and Training
B.A.: Harvard Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982
Medical Degree: Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1987
Residency: Psychiatry, Washington University/Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, 1991

Major Awards
Sidney I. Schwab Prize in Psychiatry
Washington University Book Award
International Brain Research Organization Award
Tenth Annual Nancy C.A. Roeske, M.D., Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education awarded by the American Psychiatric Association, 1999/2000
Distinguished Teaching Award voted by students for work as course master of Diseases of the Nervous System: Psychiatry, 1997
Washington University Alumni Award, 2007
NIDA Independent Scientist Award
The Best Doctors in America (Psychiatry), 2009-2016
Washington University Founders Day Award, 2009
Alpha Omega Alpha, 2010
WUSM Distinguished Educator Postdoctoral Research Mentoring Award, 2012
The Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease, 2014
Langley Award for Basic Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 2018

Areas of Clinical Interest
Smoking behavior, substance dependence, genetically informed clinical care


Areas of Research Interests
As a physician scientist, I have led several studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study environmental and genetic contributions to smoking behaviors, addiction and other psychiatric and medical illnesses. I am an active member in the NIDA Genetics Consortium, a national group of scientists who are leading NIDA’s efforts to understand genetic causes of substance dependence. My research group conducted the initial studies which found that the a5 nicotinic receptor subunit genes on chromosome 15 and the a6ß3 nicotinic receptor subunit genes on chromosome 8 increase a smoker’s risk for nicotine dependence. In collaboration with other groups, we have since demonstrated that the same genetic variants that contribute to smoking in the chromosome 15 region also influence the development of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We are currently exploring how to translate genetic information to guide more effective clinical care. We have ongoing studies of genetic factors and smoking cessation treatment.
Lab website: https://healthbehaviorcenter.wustl.edu

More articles and abstracts at the National Library of Medicine

Key Publications
Bierut LJ, Tyndale RF, (2018 Feb). Preparing the Way: Exploiting Genomic Medicine to Stop Smoking. Trends Mol Med. 24(2): 187-196.  Full Article ->

Ramsey AT, Chen LS, Hartz SM, Saccone NL, Fisher SL, Proctor EK, Bierut LJ, (2018 Jan). Toward the implementation of genomic applications for smoking cessation and smoking-related diseases. Transl Behav Med. 8(1): 7-17.  Full Article ->

Srivastava AB, Ramsey AT, McIntosh LD, Bailey TC, Fisher SL, Fox L, Castro M, Ma Y, Baker TB, Chen LS, Bierut LJ, (2018 Feb). Tobacco use prevalence and smoking cessation pharmacotherapy prescription patterns among hospitalized patients by medical specialty. Nicotine Tob. Res..   Full Article ->

Hartz SM, Horton AC, Hancock DB, Baker TB, Caporaso NE, Chen LS, Hokanson JE, Lutz SM, Marazita ML, McNeil DW, Pato CN, Pato MT, Johnson EO, Bierut LJ, (2018 Apr). Genetic correlation between smoking behaviors and schizophrenia. Schizophr. Res.. 194: 86-90.  Full Article ->

Culverhouse RC, Saccone NL, Horton AC, Ma Y, Anstey KJ, Banaschewski T, Burmeister M, Cohen-Woods S, Etain B, Fisher HL, Goldman N, Guillaume S, Horwood J, Juhasz G, Lester KJ, Mandelli L, Middeldorp CM, Olié E, Villafuerte S, Air TM, Araya R, Bowes L, Burns R, Byrne EM, Coffey C, Coventry WL, Gawronski KAB, Glei D, Hatzimanolis A, Hottenga JJ, Jaussent I, Jawahar C, Jennen-Steinmetz C, Kramer JR, Lajnef M, Little K, Zu Schwabedissen HM, Nauck M, Nederhof E, Petschner P, Peyrot WJ, Schwahn C, Sinnamon G, Stacey D, Tian Y, Toben C, Van der Auwera S, Wainwright N, Wang JC, Willemsen G, Anderson IM, Arolt V, Åslund C, Bagdy G, Baune BT, Bellivier F, Boomsma DI, Courtet P, Dannlowski U, de Geus EJC, Deakin JFW, Easteal S, Eley T, Fergusson DM, Goate AM, Gonda X, Grabe HJ, Holzman C, Johnson EO, Kennedy M, Laucht M, Martin NG, Munafò MR, Nilsson KW, Oldehinkel AJ, Olsson CA, Ormel J, Otte C, Patton GC, Penninx BWJH, Ritchie K, Sarchiapone M, Scheid JM, Serretti A, Smit JH, Stefanis NC, Surtees PG, Völzke H, Weinstein M, Whooley M, Nurnberger JI, Breslau N, Bierut LJ, (2018 Jan). Collaborative meta-analysis finds no evidence of a strong interaction between stress and 5-HTTLPR genotype contributing to the development of depression. Mol. Psychiatry. 23(1): 133-142.  Full Article ->

Chen LS, Baker TB, Hung RJ, Horton A, Culverhouse R, Hartz S, Saccone N, Cheng I, Deng B, Han Y, Hansen HM, Horsman J, Kim C, Rosenberger A, Aben KK, Andrew AS, Chang S-C, Saum K-U, Dienemann H, Hatsukami DK, Johnson EO, Pande M, Wrensch MR, McLaughlin J, Skaug V, van der Heijden EH, Wampfler J, Wenzlaff A, Woll P, Zienolddiny S, Bickeboller H, Brenner H, Duell EJ, Haugen A, Bruske I, Kiemeney LA, Lazarus P, Marchand LL, Liu G, Mayordomo J, Risch A, Schwartz AG, Teare MD, Wu X, Wiencke JK, Yang P, Zhang Z-F, Spitz MR, Amos CI, Bierut LJ. Genetic risk can be decreased: Quitting smoking decreases and delays lung cancer for smokers with high and low CHRNA5 risk genotypes–a meta-analysis. EBioMedicine, 2016, 11:219-226.   Full Article ->

Funded Research Projects
NIAAA (Co-PI):Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism
NIDA (PI): Nicotine Dependence to Smoking Cessation: Sequencing Common and Rare Variants
NIDA (PI): Washington University Career Development Program in Drug Abuse and Addiction
NCATS (Leader of Precision Medicine Function): Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences
NIDA (Co-investigator): Integrating Epigenomics in Human Brain and Genomics of Nicotine Dependence
NIDA (Co-investigator): Harnessing Knowledge of Gene Function in Brain Tissue for Discovering Biology Underlying Heroin Addiction
NIDA (Co-investigator): Enhancing Discovery of HIV Host Genetics Using Drug Abuse and Other Interactions
NCI (Co-investigator): Integrative Analysis of Lung Cancer Etiology and Risk
NCI (Key Personnel): Cancer Center Support Grant