John Kelsoe, M.D. is the Director of the Fellowship. Dr. Kelsoe's longstanding research focus has been the genetics of psychiatric illness, bipolar disorder in particular. Dr. Kelsoe has spent his career conducting translational cellular and human studies directed at identifying the fundamental biological basis of bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders. As an MD, he is especially attuned to the challenges of guiding MD’s or MD PhD’s into a successful research career. Dr. Kelsoe supervises many of the research track residents in the clinical care of bipolar patients, and he has had the opportunity to discuss the issues in having a clinical and laboratory research career. Dr. Kelsoe has mentored many MD’s and other trainees to successful careers.

Pei-an(Betty) Shih, Ph.D. Pei-an (Betty) Shih, MPM, PhD is the Co-Director of the Fellowship and Director of Didactic Training. Dr. Shih received her Ph.D. in genetic epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed postdoctoral training at the UCSD Department of Medicine and Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Shih's research encompasses a synthesis of epidemiology and molecular genetic studies in both clinical and population-based samples. Her expertise is in the genetics and translational science of complex disorders and phenotype such as eating disorders, metabolic syndrome, aging, and psychiatric comorbidities. Dr. Shih has served the Fellowship as a training faculty since 2012.

Meet the Fellows!

Yu-Yu Ren

Dr. Yangsu (Yu-yu) Ren received his doctorate in Human Genetics at the University of Michigan in 2015. Dr. Ren is currently a second year fellow who is mentored by Dr. Abraham Palmer, and has been working on identify genes and loci that are associated with anxiety and depression by performing quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and gene expression QTL (eQTL) mapping in a panel of 14 near-isogenic C57BL/6 (B6) and C57BL/10 (B10) mice substrains.

  Dr. Alejandro Meruelo joined the T32 Fellowship program in Biological Psychiatry after completing the Psychiatry Residency Research Track at UCSD and the Medical Scientist Training Program at UCLA. Prior to UCLA, Alejandro graduated from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with a B.S. in Physics. He received his Ph.D. in Computational Biology from the UCLA Institute for Genomics and Proteomics, where his research focused on prediction of protein structure and function. During his time at UCSD, Alejandro has been applying computational biology to the brain, in particular to neuroimaging. He is using brain imaging to understand the neurobiology of depression and addiction in adolescents, under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Tapert. Long term, Alejandro would like to establish his own laboratory to study the interrelationship between adolescent depression and alcohol use.

 Dr. Kelly Courtney received her PhD in Clinical Psychology, with emphases in behavioral neuroscience and quantitative methods from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016. Her research interests involve identifying the neurobiological correlates of mood disorders. She is in particular interested in the role of alcohol and substance use craving in dual diagnosis depressed patients, and their effect on patterns of brain activity. 

 Dr. Adam Klein received his doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience in 2018 from UC Santa Barbara. Since joining the lab of Dr. Adam Halberstadt, Dr. Klein has been investigating the neurobiology of hallucinogenic drug, such as LSD, DMT, & Psilocybin. Although these drugs have been around for a long time, relatively little is known about how they produce their effects in the brain. As there has recently been a renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs, it becomes even more important to figure out the mechanisms by which they produce their therapeutic effect. Dr. Klein's project is to decode the intracellular signaling pathways responsible for the effects of classical hallucinogens. 

Fellowship Advisory Committee

The fellowship advisory committee consists of:

  • John R. Kelsoe, M.D. Program Director and Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
  • Pei-an (Betty) Shih, Ph.D. Director of Didactic Training, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Dept of Psychiatry
  • Mark A. Schuckit, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
  • Walter Kaye, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
  • Susan Tapert, Ph.D. Professor

    of Psychiatry, UCSD Department of Psychiatry

  • Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry
  • Jonathon Sebat, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry
  • Murray Stein, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry
  • Jay Giedd, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, UCSD, Department of Psychiatry