Dr. Chen was trained in genomics, genomic technology and molecular genetics. The central focus of his research is on the understanding of genetic mechanism of psychiatric disorders and how to use genetic information to prevent and to treat these disorders more effectively. Each individual is genetically unique. People with different genetic makeup present different personality and predisposition that can lead to different susceptibility to diseases and cancers. Genetic predisposition also influences treatment efficacy and side effect. We use genetic association, genomic, bioinformatic and statistical analyses to identify genes involved in behavioral traits and psychiatric disorders. Currently, we focus on the study of smoking addiction and schizophrenia. In these studies, we correlate genetic variations (genotypes) of research subjects with their observed behaviors/psychiatric symptoms or diagnoses (phenotypes). Over the years, Dr. Chen and his team have identified multiple genes involved in nicotine dependence and schizophrenia, including EPAC1, OPRM1, CNR1, CHRNA5, ACSL6, IL3, MEGF10, GULP1 and CMYA5. Once a candidate gene is identified, we will use cellular and molecular methods to study the functions of the gene, these include DNA cloning and transformation, gene expression assay, DNA sequencing, mutation characterization and functional genomics analyses. With the knowledge of the gene’s functions and its mutations, we can design prevention and treatment strategies based on individual’s genetic background so that the therapy and medicine can match individual’s need and be more effective. Dr. Chen's research is supported by grants from National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Alliance on Research for Schizophrenia and Major Depression, and the Stanley Medical Research Institute.