Virginia Commonwealth University

Make it real.

Featured Researcher

Research Expertise and Focus

  • Epidemiology, genetics and neuroimaging of anxiety and depressive disorders
  • A Twin Study of Negative Valence Emotional Constructs. Funded 2012-2015, R01MH098055 National Institute of Mental Health. Principal investigator
  • The Role of Genes and Environment in Anxiety Spectrum Disorders. Funded 2010-2014, R01MH087646 (Hettema) National Institute of Mental Health. Principal investigator
  • The Classification of Anxiety and Mood Disorders. Funded 2007-2013, R01 MH039096 (PI: Brown, Boston University) National Institute of Mental Health. Principal investigator (subcontract)

Professional Highlights

Memberships and Leadership

  • Scientific Advisory Board, Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA)


  • ACNP Young Investigator Memorial Travel Award, 2006
  • Pfizer/Society for Women’s Health Research Scholar, 2001


  • Editorial Board, Depression & Anxiety


  • Staff psychiatrist (part time), Chesterfield County CSB, Chesterfield, Va., 1998-present
  • Medical officer (part time), Central State Hospital, Petersburg, Va., 1998-2000
  • House staff officer in psychiatry, MCV Hospitals, Richmond, Va., 1996-2000


Education and Training

  • M.D., Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Ph.D., physics, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
  • B.S. applied physics, Columbia University, New York
  • Residency in psychiatry, VCU Medical Center


  • National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University

Selected Publications

Adkins DE, Clark SL, Åberg K, Hettema JM, Bukszár , McClay JL, Souza RP, van den Oord ECJG. Genome-wide pharmacogenomic study of citalopram-induced side effects in STAR*D. Transl Psychiatry. 2012 Jul; 2(7): e129. PMCID: PMC3410623

Libert S, Pointer K, Bell EL, Das A, Cohen DE, Asara JM, Kapur K, Bergmann S, Preisig M, Otowa T, Kendler KS, Chen X, Hettema JM, van den Oord EJ, Rubio JP, Guarente L.SIRT1 activates MAO-A in the brain to mediate anxiety and exploratory drive. Cell. 2011 Dec 23;147(7): 1459–72. PMCID: PMC3443638

Hettema JM, Webb BT, Guo AY, Zhao Z, Maher BS, Chen X, An SS, Sun C, Aggen SH, Kendler KS, Kuo PH, Otowa T, Flint J, van den Oord EJ. Prioritization and association analysis of murine-derived candidate genes in anxiety-spectrum disorders. Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Nov 1;70(9):888-96. PMCID: PMC3191234

Adkins DE, Åberg K, McClay JL, Hettema JM, Kornstein SG, Bukszár J, van den Oord EJCG. A genomewide association study of citalopram response in major depressive disorder-a psychometric approach. Biol Psychiatry. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Sep 15;68(6):e25-7. PMCID: PMC2929324

Middeldorp CM, Vink JM, Hettema JM, de Geus EJC, Kendler KS, Willemsen G, Neale MC, Boomsma DI, Chen X. An association between Epac-1 gene variants and anxiety and depression in two independent samples. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2010 Jan 5;153B(1):214-9. PMCID: PMC2798914

Hettema JM, An SS, van den Oord JCG, Neale MC, Kendler KS, Chen X. Association study of CREB1 with Major Depressive Disorder and related phenotypes. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2009 Dec 5;150B(8):1128-32. PMCID: PMC2844886

Hettema JM, van den Oord EJ, An S, Kendler KS, Chen X. Follow-up association study of novel neuroticism gene MAMDC1.  Psychiatr Genet. 2009 Aug;19(4):213-4. PMCID: PMC2844892