Genetic Underpinning of Psychiatric Disorders

Fall UW Series

Saturday, September 29, 2018
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Swedish Medical Center - Cherry Hill Campus, James Tower Educational Conference Center
500 17th Ave | Seattle, WA 98122

This training is jointly-provided by the American Psychiatric Association and the Washington State Psychiatric Association.  

Online registration closed, walk-ins welcome!

Do you want to grow your knowledge base and skills on the subject of genetic underpinning of psychiatric disorders? This program seeks to educate general practice psychiatrists in the state of Washington in the current understanding of genetic underpinning of psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. It will specifically focus on education about the genetic underpinnings for autism, schizophrenia and dementing disorders. It will provide a practical approach to genetic counseling for patients at risk for developing psychiatric disorders.

This program will increase the general psychiatrist's knowledge base about genetic underpinnings of psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. This knowledge base will enable general psychiatrists to have a better understanding of the biological etiology of psychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and dementia. This knowledge base will also help them identify the need for psychiatric counseling and the potential need for genetic testing in patients who present with clinical signs or symptoms and other comorbid medical syndromes associated with genetic disorders. It will improve competence and skills in providing patient advice about genetic risk for developing psychiatric disorders across the lifespan in autism, schizophrenia, and dementia. General psychiatrist knowledge and skill acquisition are required to improve patient outcomes - in this area, patients satisfaction outcomes with their psychiatrist when they come to them with questions about their genetic risk for developing psychiatric disorders based on their family history, or genetic testing results.

Featured Presenters

Jon McClellan, MD

Dr. McClellan is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington, and is the Medical Director of Child Study and Treatment Center. His clinical research addresses the diagnosis and treatment of early-onset psychotic illnesses. He is the primary author for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Practice Parameters for the assessment and treatment of early-onset schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Dr. McClellan also conducts genomic research to discover genes responsible for complex neuropsychiatric illnesses. He and his collaborators were the first to demonstrate the importance of individually rare damaging mutations for schizophrenia.

Areas of Interest:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Genomics
  • Evidence-based treatments

Debby Tsuang, MD
Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences/ Adjunct Professor, Epidemiology
Director, GRECC, VISN-20 Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center
ADRC, Co-Investigator, Clinical Core

Dr. Debby Tsuang is a board-certified geriatric psychiatrist, UW Professor, and researcher who seeks to advance our understanding and treatment of complex aging-related disorders.

In her role as a co-investigator in the ADRC Clinical Core, she has used her skills as a geriatric psychiatrist to assess study subjects who are enrolled in the UW ADRC and then investigated risk factors for Alzheimer's disease and developed biomarkers, especially biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), for the early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. In addition to studying the conventional AD biomarkers of Aβ1-42 and tau, she has worked with fellow ADRC investigators to determine the relationship of other potential CSF biomarkers, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), F2-isoprostane, and norepinephrine, to brain function in normal adults. As a PI, she was funded by the National Institutes on Aging to conduct a clinical trial of simvastatin on the risk of Alzheimer's disease in normal adult volunteers using the CSF biomarker as a primary study outcome. As an epidemiologist, she has been a long-time co-investigator on a community-based cohort study of dementia, the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, building an understanding of the role of cardiovascular risks and protective factors in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Research Interests:

  • Clinical-neuropathology of dementing disorders
  • Psychosis in dementia genetics
  • Endophenotypes of schizophrenia

Jen Gerdts, PhD

Jennifer (Jen) Gerdts, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and is the Director of the LEND Program. She is also a clinical psychologist and sees families at the Seattle Children’s Autism Center who are in need of diagnostic evaluations for their children. Dr. Jen received her doctoral degree in child clinical psychology from the University of Washington. She completed her clinical psychology internship with a specialty in developmental disabilities at UCLA and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UW Autism Center. Dr. Jen’s research interests involve understanding the genetic basis of autism, including studying autism-related traits in family members of children with autism.

Angela Inglis, MS
Genetic Counsellor, Adapt Clinic, Provincial Medical Genetics Program
Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychiatry

Angela Inglis is a genetic counselor and a clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Angela worked in psychiatric research for a number of years, coordinating and overseeing the day to day operations for a research program which involved studies in postpartum depression, stigma among family members of individuals with psychiatric disorders, and a genetic counseling study for individuals with psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder). 


7:00 - 8:00 am Registration & Exhibits
8:00 - 8:05 am Welcome/Introductions
8:05 - 9:00 am Genetics of Autism
9:00 - 9:10 am Break & Exhibits
9:10 - 10:00 am Genetics of Schizophrenia
10:00 - 10:10 am Break & Exhibits
10:10 - 11:00 am Genetics of Dementing Disorders
11:00 - 11:10 am Break & Exhibits
11:10 - 12:00 pm Genetic Counseling









Learning Objectives

  • Describe the clinical approach to genetic counseling for patients at risk for developing psychiatric disorders
  • Understand the genetic underpinnings of autism
  • Understand the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia
  • Understand the genetic underpinnings of dementing disorders


WSPA Members: Free
Non-Member Physicians: $95
Nurses/Non-Physicians: $50
Psychiatry Residents (ID required at registration): Free

Online registration closed, walk-ins welcome!

Live vs. Virtual Attendance

Unable to attend in person? Access the meeting virtually via Adobe Connect. Registrants who select the virtual option will be provided with instructions on accessing the meeting prior to September 29. If you have any questions about this option, email the WSPA Office. We strongly suggest only using this option if you are unable to travel to Seattle and are comfortable using the technology.


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and WA State Psychiatric Association. The APA is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The APA designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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