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Introduction to Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics

East Baltimore
4th term
Mental Health
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Hybrid In-person and Synchronous Online
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  3:30 - 4:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Peter Zandi

Prior or concurrent coursework in epidemiology /biostatistics.


Provides an overview of research methods and their application to the study of behavioral and psychiatric genetics. Introduces necessary concepts in molecular and population genetics. Studies designs and analytic methods used to investigate the genetic contribution to human behavior and its disturbances. Includes the following: family, twin, and adoption studies to evaluate the extent of genetic contribution; segregation studies to determine the mode of inheritance; linkage and association studies to map genes; and other epidemiological designs to elucidate gene-by-environment interactions. Illustrates through examples of real studies. Familiarizes with our current understanding of the role genetic factors play in human behavior, its disturbances, and how our research may further that understanding.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Review the basic molecular genetic concepts necessary for discussing how genetic factors may contribute to behavioral and psychiatric traits
  2. Describe the latest research methods that may be used to investigate the genetics of behavioral and psychiatric traits
  3. List the principles of quantitative genetic studies, such as family, twin and adoption studies, and molecular genetic studies, such as linkage and association studies, and the challenges of applying these study designs to behavioral and psychia
  4. Discuss the role genetic factors play in behavioral and psychiatric traits of major public health concern, including schizophrenia, personality and smoking
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 50% Final Exam
  • 35% Presentation(s)
  • 15% Participation

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required of undergraduates.

For consent, contact:

Special Comments:

This is the onsite section of a course also held virtually/online. You are responsible for the modality in which you register.