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Edward S. Brodkin, M.D.
      (Ted Brodkin)
  Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Center for Neurobiology and Behavior
Perelman School of Medicine
Translational Research Laboratory, Room 2220
125 S. 31st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3403
Phone: (215)-746-0118
Fax: (215)-573-2041


B.A. 1988, Harvard University (History of Science)
M.D. 1992, Harvard Medical School
Intern in Pediatrics, 1992-1993, Yale-New Haven Medical Center
Resident in Psychiatry, 1993-1996, Yale University School of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellow (Neuroscience), 1996-1998
   Yale University School of Medicine
   laboratory of Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow (Genetics), 1998-2002
   Department of Molecular Biology
   Princeton University, laboratory of Lee M. Silver, Ph.D.


Our laboratory uses methods of genetics and genomics to dissect the neurobiological pathways mediating social behaviors, including aggression and sociability (tendency to seek social interaction). Certain neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism and schizophrenia, are characterized by extremely disabling disturbances in social cognition and socioemotional behaviors. Currently available treatments are inadequate for ameliorating these social disabilities. Elucidating the fundamental biology of affiliative and aggressive behaviors may ultimately lead to the development of novel treatments for autism and other major neuropsychiatric disorders. Our laboratory is focused on the following major questions of interest:

What are the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the tendency to seek or avoid affiliative social interactions?

What are the neurobiological mechanisms that promote or inhibit the initiation of aggressive behaviors?

What genes and environmental factors contribute to individual differences in sociability and aggressive behaviors?

What genes and environmental factors contribute to the etiology and pathophysiology of “disorders of social relatedness,”e.g. autism spectrum disorders or schizophrenia?

Currently, most of our genetic studies of social behaviors use the mouse as a model organism, because of the experimental control that a model organism provides, and because of the many resources available for mouse genetics. These studies may have relevance to human brain and behavior. For virtually every mouse gene, there is a homologous human gene, and vice versa. Moreover, the genetic and neurobiological pathways underlying primitive social behaviors, such as aggression, appear to have been conserved, to some extent, across mammalian evolution. Thus, animal studies may help to identify candidate genes and neurobiological pathways that may be involved autism or other human neuropsychiatric disorders. Previously, in a whole genome scan, we identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) on chromosome 10 and chromosome X that affect intermale aggressive behaviors in a cross of NZB/B1NJ and A/J inbred mice (Brodkin et al., 2002). Currently, we are fine-mapping these genetic loci by breeding interval-specific congenic strains, and we are sequencing and analyzing positional candidate genes for aggression. We also are using single-gene mutant mice (e.g. knockouts) to dissect pathways that mediate aggressive behaviors.

In addition to our work on aggressive behaviors, we have demonstrated differences among inbred mouse strains in sociability, using a social choice behavioral paradigm (Brodkin et al., 2004; Sankoorikal et al 2006). Our studies indicate that the BALB/cJ inbred strain shows reduced sociability and other behavioral and neurobiological traits relevant to autism (Brodkin, in press). A new set of studies in our laboratory is aimed at elucidating the brain pathways that underlie this reduced sociability of BALB/cJ mice. Also, we have initiated studies of mice with knockouts of autism candidate genes. We are also involved in human psychiatric genetic studies in collaboration with other investigators at University of Pennsylvania (see, for example, ccn.upenn.edu and ccn.upenn.edu/home/people/affiliates.shtml).

Dr. Brodkin is also a co-founder and attending psychiatrist in the Penn Adult Social Learning Disorders program for patients with Asperger syndrome, high-functioning autism, schizoid or avoidant personality, social phobia, and related conditions (see www.med.upenn.edu/add/brodkin.shtml and www.med.upenn.edu/add/treatment_sld.shtml). This program is dedicated to clinical care for patients, as well as translational research relevant to human social behaviors and social cognition. Our hope is that this research will ultimately improve the clinical care of individuals with these disorders.

Representative Publications:

McDougle CJ, Brodkin ES, Yeung PP, Naylor ST, Cohen DJ, Price LH (1995) Risperidone in adults with autism or pervasive developmental disorder. J Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 5:273-282.

Brodkin ES, McDougle CJ, Leckman JF (1996) Antipsychotic drugs in children and adolescents. In: Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology: Antipsychotics, vol. 120 (Csernansky JG, ed) Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 479-504.

Brodkin ES, McDougle CJ, Naylor ST, Cohen DJ, Price LH (1997) Clomipramine in adults with pervasive developmental disorders: a prospective open-label investigation. J Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 7:109-121.

McDougle CJ, Brodkin ES, Naylor ST, Carlson DC, Cohen DJ, Price LH (1998) Sertraline in adults with pervasive developmental disorders: a prospective open-label investigation. J Clin Psychopharmacol, 18:62-66.

Brodkin ES, Carlezon WA, Haile CN, Kosten TA, Heninger GR, Nestler EJ (1998) Genetic analysis of behavioral, neuroendocrine, and biochemical parameters in inbred rodents: initial studies in Lewis and Fischer 344 rats and in A/J and C57BL/6J mice. Brain Research, 805:55-68.

Carlezon WA, Thome J, Olson VG, Lane-Ladd SB, Brodkin ES, Hiroi N, Duman RS, Neve RL, Nestler EJ (1998) Regulation of cocaine reward by CREB. Science, 282:2272-2275.

Brodkin ES, Nestler EJ (1998) Quantitative trait locus analysis: a new tool for psychiatric genetics. The Neuroscientist, 4:317-323.

Brodkin ES, Kosten TA, Haile CN, Heninger GR, Carlezon WA, Jatlow P, Remmers EF, Wilder RL, Nestler EJ (1999) Dark Agouti and Fischer 344 rats: differential behavioral responses to morphine and biochemical differences in the ventral tegmental area. Neuroscience, 88:1307-1315.

Schmidt EF, Sutton MA, Schad CA, Karanian DA, Brodkin, ES, Self DW (2001) Extinction training regulates tyrosine hydroxylase during withdrawal from cocaine self-administration. Journal of Neuroscience, 21:RC137.

Brodkin ES, Goforth SA, Keene AH, Fossella JA, Silver LM (2002) Identification of quantitative trait loci that affect aggressive behavior in mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 22:1165-1170.

Bucan M, Brodkin ES (2003) Psychiatric diseases: challenges in psychiatric genetics. In: The Molecular and Genetic Basis of Neurologic and Psychiatric Disease, 3rd edition (Rosenberg RN, Prusiner SB, DiMauro S, Barchi RL, and Nestler EJ, eds) Philadelphia, PA: Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier), pp.713-723.

Brodkin ES, Hagemann A, Knoll SM, Silver LM (2004) Social approach-avoidance behavior of inbred mouse strains towards DBA/2 mice. Brain Research, 1002:151-157.

Potenza MN, Brodkin ES, Joe B, Luo X, Remmers EF, Wilder RL, Nestler EJ, Gelernter J (2004) Genomic regions controlling corticosterone levels in rats. Biological Psychiatry, 55:634-641.

Brodkin ES (2005) Quantitative trait locus analysis of aggressive behaviours in mice. In: Molecular Mechanisms Influencing Aggressive Behaviours, Novartis Foundation Symposium 268 (Bock G. and Goode J., eds) Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, pp. 57-69; discussion 69-77, 96-99.

Ramsay JR, Brodkin ES, Cohen MR, Ekman E, Listerud J, Rostain AL (2005) ‘Better strangers’: using the relationship in psychotherapy for adult patients with Asperger syndrome. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training (Special Issue: The Interplay of Techniques and the Therapeutic Relationship in Psychotherapy), 42:483-493.

Sankoorikal GMV, Kaercher KA, Boon CJ, Lee JK, Brodkin ES (2006) A mouse model system for genetic analysis of sociability: C57BL/6J vs. BALB/cJ inbred mouse strains. Biological Psychiatry, 59:415-423.

Crowley JJ, Brodkin ES, Blendy JA, Berrettini WH, Lucki I (2006) Pharmacogenomic evaluation of the antidepressant citalopram in the mouse tail suspension test. Neuropsychopharmacology, 31:2433-2442.

Brodkin ES (2007, in press) BALB/cJ mice: low sociability and other phenotypes that may be relevant to autism. Behavioural Brain Research (Special Issue: Animal Models in Autism).

Grant support:

Work in the Brodkin lab has been funded by various agencies, including the National Institute of Mental Health, the Cure Autism Now Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, E.S. Brodkin recipient), the University of Pennsylvania University Research Foundation, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Center of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Foundation, and the University of Pennsylvania McCabe Fund.