Todd Lencz, PhD

Professor, The Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Professor, Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Phone: (718) 470-8126
Email: tlencz@northwell.edu

About the Investigator

Dr. Lencz leads the Laboratory of Neurogenomic Biomarkers within the Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. He is founder and co-leader of The Ashkenazi Genome Consortium, an international collaboration of leading researchers studying the genetics of complex disease (ranging from cancer to mental illness to diabetes) by examining DNA samples drawn from members of this genetically unique “founder” population. Dr. Lencz also leads COGENT, the international cognitive genomics consortium, and is a member of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-analysis (ENIGMA) consortium.

Dr. Lencz was among the first recipients of the EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) award from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has previously received a Career Development Award from NIMH, as well as a Young Investigator Award and an Independent Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Dr. Lencz has also served as Chair of several grant review panels (study sections) at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Lencz is the author or co-author of more than 160 peer-reviewed publications of scientific and biomedical literature. He was an invited contributor to the Encyclopedia of Genetics, and has authored numerous book chapters and invited commentaries. Dr. Lencz received his BA from Yale University and his PhD from the University of Southern California.

Research Focus

Dr. Lencz’s primary research focus is the use of biomarkers, especially cutting-edge genetic, neuroimaging, and neurocognitive assessment technologies, to refine our understanding of the causes and treatment of schizophrenia.

The Laboratory of Neurogenomic Biomarkers develops and implements strategies for identifying relationships between genetic variation, brain function, and psychiatric disease. State-of-the-art molecular technologies, including genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, produce a flood of data capturing variation across the entire genome. At the same time, brain imaging technologies produce pictures of the brain, in action and at rest, with ever-increasing resolution. To manage this unprecedented flow of information, novel analytic methods are required to separate signal from noise.

Dr. Lencz has a particular interest in the development of biomarkers to predict symptom and side effect responses to antipsychotic medications. Dr. Lencz’s team also works closely with members of the Psychiatric Neuroscience department to examine the role that schizophrenia risk genes play in brain structure, function and development.

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Lab Members

Jin Yu
Email: Jyu6@northwell.edu

John Cholewa
Email: jchotewa@northwell.edu

Education

Yale University, New Haven, CT
Degree: BA
1989
Field of Study: Psychology

University of Southern California
Degree: MA
1992
Field of Study: Clinical Psychology

University of Southern California
Degree: PhD
1995
Field of Study: Clinical Psychology

Hillside Hospital
Degree: Postdoctoral Fellowship
1997
Field of Study: Clinical Neurosciences

Awards & Honors

1989 Yale University: Graduated magna cum laude, 1989; Awarded Distinction in the Major (Psychology)
1990-1993 University of Southern California: University Merit Fellowship
1993 Young Investigator’s Award, International Congress on Schizophrenia Research
1993-1994 Dissertation Fellowship
1993-1994 Predoctoral Fellowship Award, National Institute of Mental Health (NRSA program)
1995 Distinguished Dissertation Award
1996 Hillside Hospital Young Investigator’s Award
2001 NARSAD Young Investigator’s Award
2002 ISI “Hot Paper” Designation (Subfield: Psychiatry/Psychology; for Raine, Lencz et al. 2000)
2003 ACNP Memorial Travel Award
2005 KeySpan Research Fellowship
2007 American Psychopathological Association Robins/Guze Award
2008 NIH EUREKA (Exceptional Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) Award
2009 Elected Associate Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
2011 Chair, NIH Member Conflict Panel (Chronic Diseases)
2014 Elected Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
2015 Chair, NIMH Special Emphasis Panel (RFA-MH-15-400)
2015 Chair, NIMH Special Emphasis Panel (RFA-MH-16-300/310)

Publications
  1. Lam M, Trampush JW, Yu J, Knowles E, Davies G, …, Andreassen OA, Deary IJ, Glahn DC, Malhotra AK, Lencz T. (2017) “Large-scale cognitive GWAS meta-analysis reveals tissue-specific neural expression and potential nootropic drug targets.” Cell Reports,21(9): 2597-2613.
  2. Xue J, Lencz T, Darvasi A, Pe’er I, Carmi S. (2017) “The time and place of European admixture in the Ashkenazi Jewish history.” PLoS Genetics, 2017 Apr 4;13(4):e1006644.
  3. Trampush JW, Yang MLZ, Yu J, Knowles E, Davies G, …, Andreassen OA, Deary IJ, Glahn DC, Malhotra AK, Lencz T. (2017) “GWAS meta-analysis reveals novel loci and genetic correlates for general cognitive function: A report from the COGENT consortium.” Molecular Psychiatry, 22(3):336-345.
  4. Argyelan MA, Lencz T, Kaliora S, Sarpal DK, Weissman N, Kingsley PB, Malhotra AK, Petrides G. (2016) “Subgenual cingulate cortical activity predicts the efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy.” Translational Psychiatry, 6, e789.
  5. Zhang J-P, Robinson DG, Gallego JA, John M, Yu J, Addington J, Tohen M, Kane JM, Malhotra AK, Lencz T. (2015) “Association of a schizophrenia risk variant at the DRD2 locus with antipsychotic treatment response in first-episode psychosis.” Schizophrenia Bulletin, 41(6):1248-55.
  6. Sarpal DK, Argyelan M, Robinson DG, Szeszko PR, Karlsgodt K, John M, Weissman N, Gallego JA, Kane JM, , Lencz T*, Malhotra AK*. (2015) “Baseline striatal functional connectivity as a predictor of response to antipsychotic drug treatment.” American Journal of Psychiatry. 2015 Aug 28. [Epub ahead of print] *contributed equally (co-senior authors)
  7. Lencz T, Malhotra AK. (2015) “Targeting the schizophrenia genome: a fast track strategy from GWAS to clinic.” Molecular Psychiatry20(7):820-6.
  8. Carmi S, Hui KY, Kochav E, Liu X, Xue J, Grady F, Guha S, Upadhyay K, Ben-Avraham D, Mukherjee S, Bowen BM, Thomas T, Vijai J, Cruts M, Froyen G, Lambrechts D, Plaisance S, Van Broeckhoven C, Van Damme P, Van Marck H, Barzilai N, Darvasi A, Offit K, Bressman S, Ozelius LJ, Peter I, Cho JH, Ostrer H, Atzmon G, Clark LN, Lencz T*, Pe’er I*. (2014) “Sequencing an Ashkenazi reference panel supports population-targeted personal genomics and illuminates Jewish and European origins.” Nature Communications, 5:4835.*joint corresponding authors
  9. Mukherjee S, Guha S, Ikeda M, Iwata N, Malhotra AK, Pe’er I, Darvasi A, Lencz T. (2014) “Excess of homozygosity in the major histocompatibility complex in schizophrenia.” Human Molecular Genetics, 23(22):6088-95.
  10. Lencz T, Knowles E, Davies G, Guha S, …, Andreassen OA, Deary IJ, Glahn DC, Malhotra AK. (2014) “Molecular evidence for genetic overlap between general cognitive ability and risk for schizophrenia: A report from the Cognitive Genomics Consortium (COGENT).” Molecular Psychiatry, 19(2), 168-74.

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