James B. Potash, MD, MPH


Paul W. Penningroth Chair, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry
Professor of Psychiatry

Contact Information

Office: 8984 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-356-1144

Lab: B002J Medical Laboratories
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-7225

Web: James B. Potash Laboratory, Molecular Psychiatry Division
Web: Faculty Video


BA, English, Yale College, New Haven, CT
MPH, Epidemiology and International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD
MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Internship, Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD
Residency, Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Chief Resident, Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

Licensure and Certifications

Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

I am interested in the genetic variation and DNA methylation variation that confer susceptibility to depression and bipolar disorder. Family, twin, and adoption studies have made it abundantly clear that these disorders are substantially heritable, but only a very small proportion of that heritability has thus far been explained molecularly. Similarly, the environment clearly plays a role in the etiology of depression, but the molecular basis of that role remains undefined. I have an R01 grant from the NIMH to perform next-generation exome sequencing in about 3,000 bipolar disorder cases and controls, and examine the data searching for rare variants associated with this illness. I also have an R01 grant from the NIMH to assess genome-wide DNA methylation variation in a mouse model of stress and depression. Both of these projects involve bench work including DNA sequencing, bisulfite pyrosequencing, and gene expression assays. They further involve bioinformatics and statistical genetics assessment of large data sets.

Selected Publications

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Goes F, Pirooznia M, Parla J, Kramer M, Ghiban E, Mavruk S, Chen Y, Monson E, Willour V, Karchin R, Flickinger M, Locke A, Levy S, Scott L, Boehnke M, Stahl E, Moran J, Hultman C, Landén M, Purcell S, Sklar P, Zandi P, McCombie W, Potash J.  Exome sequencing of familial bipolar disorder.  JAMA Psychiatry.  2016 June 1. 73(6):590-7.

Lee R, Tamashiro K, Yang X, Purcell R, Harvey A, Willour V, Huo Y, Rongione M, Wand G, Potash J.  Chronic corticosterone exposure increases expression and decreases deoxyribonucleic acid methylation of Fkbp5 in mice.  Endocrinology.  2010 September. 151(9):4332-43.

Ladd-Acosta C, Pevsner J, Sabunciyan S, Yolken R, Webster M, Dinkins T, Callinan P, Fan J, Potash J, Feinberg A.  DNA methylation signatures within the human brain.  Am J Hum Genet.  2007 December. 81(6):1304-15.

Goes F, Zandi P, Miao K, McMahon F, Steele J, Willour V, Mackinnon D, Mondimore F, Schweizer B, Nurnberger J, Rice J, Scheftner W, Coryell W, Berrettini W, Kelsoe J, Byerley W, Murphy D, Gershon E, Bipolar Disorder Phenome Group , Depaulo J, McInnis M, Potash J.  Mood-incongruent psychotic features in bipolar disorder: familial aggregation and suggestive linkage to 2p11-q14 and 13q21-33.  Am J Psychiatry.  2007 February. 164(2):236-47.

Potash J, Zandi P, Willour V, Lan T, Huo Y, Avramopoulos D, Shugart Y, MacKinnon D, Simpson S, McMahon F, DePaulo J, McInnis M.  Suggestive linkage to chromosomal regions 13q31 and 22q12 in families with psychotic bipolar disorder.  Am J Psychiatry.  2003 April. 160(4):680-6.

Date Last Modified: 06/21/2016 - 09:51:27