Pat Sullivan



Departments of Genetics & Psychiatry
School of Medicine
Phone: 919-966-3358

Etiology of Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders

The Sullivan lab aims to understand the genetic and epidemiological basis of a number of important public-health problems. These disorders are etiologically heterogeneous and exhibit complex patterns of inheritance. Developing an understanding of these disorders requires the integration of findings from multiple investigative approaches such as epidemiology, linkage analysis, and association studies. The lab applies these methods to several research areas:


This is a chronic and debilitating mental disorder that affects approximately 1% of the human population. Although it is clear that genetics plays a role in schizophrenia, specific genes that have a causal role in the disease have yet to be identified. The Sullivan lab is conducting a series of studies to elucidate its etiology. In addition, pharmacogenetic studies are underway to determine the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs that are currently used to treat some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Smoking Behavior

Tobacco use is one of the major public health problems throughout the world. Led by Dr. Helena Furberg, PhD, the Sullivan lab is interested in identifying genetic influences on smoking behavior, particularly nicotine dependence, as well as the genetic epidemiology of smoking cessation. The lab conducts association studies for smoking behavior and is currently conducting a large twin study of smoking cessation.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

CFS is an uncommon but clearly debilitating disorder that remains controversial despite many years of study. Standard methods of genetic epidemiology have yielded little information about the etiology of CFS. The Sullivan lab has put significant effort toward using novel microarray and proteomic approaches to identify useful etiological hypotheses for this complex disease.

Selected Publications


Sullivan PF, Keefe RS, Lange LA, Lange EM, Stroup TS, Lieberman J, Maness PF. (2007) NCAM1 and Neurocognition in Schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry. 61(7):902-10.

Furberg H, Lichtenstein P, Pedersen NL, Bulik C, Sullivan PF. (2006) Cigarettes and oral snuff use in Sweden: Prevalence and transitions. Addiction. 101(10):1509-15.

Sullivan PF, Montgomery GW, Hottenga JJ, Wray NR, Boomsma DI, Martin NG. (2006) Empirical evaluation of the genetic similarity of samples from twin registries in Australia and the Netherlands using 359 STRP markers. Twin Res Hum Genet. 9(4):600-2.

Lichtenstein P, Bjork C, Hultman CM, Scolnick E, Sklar P, Sullivan PF. (2006) Recurrence risks for schizophrenia in a Swedish national cohort. Psychol Med. 36(10):1417-25.

Forlenza MJ, Hall P, Lichtenstein P, Evengard B, Sullivan PF. (2005) Epidemiology of cancer-related fatigue in the Swedish twin registry. Cancer 104:2022-203.

Sullivan PF. (2005) The genetics of schizophrenia. PLoS Med. 2(7):e212.

Sullivan PF, Neale BM, van den Oord E, Miles MF, Neale MC, Bulik CM, Joyce PR, Straub RE, Kendler KS. (2004) Candidate genes for nicotine dependence via linkage, epistasis, and bioinformatics. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 126:23-36