- Gary A. Heiman
- Position: Professor- Vice- Chair & Undergraduate Director
- Research Focus: Genetic epidemiology of neuropsychiatric disorders
- Click for Lab Website
- Subset Area: Genetics of Human Disease | CNS, Computational Genetics | Epidemiology
- Phone: (848) 445-9576
- Address: Nelson Biological Laboratory, Rutgers University 145 Bevier Road Piscataway, NJ, 08854
- Office: Nelson B412
- Fax: (732) 445-1147
I am a Professor in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University where I serve as the Vice Chair and Undergraduate Director. I received my master’s in Genetic Counseling and subsequently earned my Ph.D. in epidemiology from Columbia University, specializing in genetic epidemiology of neuropsychiatric disorders.
At the undergraduate level, I teach Effective Communication Skills in Genetics and the Genetic Counseling Rotation Course. I developed, and serve as the director of, the Rutgers undergraduate Genetic Counseling Certificate Program (GCCP) the only program of its kind worldwide. The goal of this program is to provide students with guidance and relevant experience that will help prepare students for graduate school applications. Later, I initiated and led a team in developing the now, fully-accredited, Genetic Counseling Master’s Program at Rutgers University where I currently serve on the program leadership committee and as the director of student research. For my teaching, in 2023, I was awarded the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching.
I am involved in many service activities. At Rutgers, I currently chair the Departmental Undergraduate Curriculum and Assessment Committee and the School of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee. I am also the Faculty Liaison for the The Tim Howard Leadership Academy. Outside of Rutgers, I serve on the Advisory Council for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc,
- News Items:
- 4/24/23: Award | Congratulations Gary Heiman!
The focus of my research is on understanding the relationship between neurological and psychiatric disorders. Individuals with a neurological disorder (e.g., Tourette disorder, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease), often also have a psychiatric disorder (e.g., depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder). The causes for this relationship remain unclear. Using genetic information, the goal of my research is to understand the relationship and, to test the hypothesis that, in many conditions, the relationship is due, in part, to a shared genetic susceptibility. Identifying the causes for the relationship will help earlier identification of individuals at high risk for both disorders and allow for earlier and more effective interventions.
We are investigating genetics of Tourette’s Disorder (TD), other chronic tic disorders (CTDs) and associated disorders. TD is a developmental neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by persistent vocal and motor tics. Family studies consistently show that CTDs are familial. Heritability studies clearly indicate a genetic contribution to the etiology of CTDs.
Despite long-standing interest in the genetic contribution to CTDs and some initial positive findings, replicable susceptibility alleles have thus far remained elusive. Although there have been some initial positive findings, identification of replicable susceptibility alleles has thus far remained elusive. In 2007, we established the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome Sharing Repository, a sharing resource of clinical, biomaterial, and genetic data of TD probands and their families. In 2011, we received NIMH funding to establish the Tourette International Collaborative Genetics (TIC Genetics). TIC Genetics brings together a team of clinicians, geneticists, and statistical geneticists from 23 sites in the US, Europe, and Asia. The goal TIC Genetics is to leverage state-of-the-art genetic technologies to identify genetic factors that play a role in causing CTDs and associated disorders.
I am also investigating the genetic relationship between epilepsy and depression. Depression is the most common comorbid condition in epilepsy, affecting between 20-55% of patients with refractory epilepsy and 3-9% of patients with well-controlled seizures. The cause of this comorbidity is unknown. We are conducting a series of genetic epidemiologic studies to test the hypothesis that the comorbidity is due, in part, to a shared genetic susceptibility.
Depression is the most common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). It often precedes the onset of the motor symptoms and impact the quality of life of individuals with PD. In collaboration with the New York Beth Israel Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center in NYC, we are investigating various clinical manifestations, including psychiatric symptoms, in a genetic form of PD.
- Publications: View Dr. Heiman's publications on NCBI
- Publications PubMed: