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Vesselin Chorbov, PhD

Current Position
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Education and Training
M.Sc., Biotechnology, St. Kliment Ochridski University of Sofia, Bulgaria, 1997
Ph.D., Human Genetics, Medical University - Sofia, Bulgaria, 2005
Postdoctoral Research Training in Psychiatric Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 2005-2009

Major Awards
2009 - NIAAA Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01)
2007 - James O'Leary Prize for excellence in Neuroscience Research (Finalist)

Areas of Research Interests
My research interests are focused on three broad, overlapping areas:
- studies of genes and gene-by-environment interactions that have a high likelihood of being involved in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders, including Bipolar and Major Depressive Disorders. The emphasis is on an approach to understand how stress-related effects interact with the genetic component in physiological and behavioral processes in early development and in adulthood, thus leading to a disorder;
- a second focus is epigenetic interdisciplinary translational research, and design, management and analysis of animal studies which are used to investigate the neurobehavioral mechanisms resulting from alcohol and drug abuse. This combines rodent and human behavior genetics, explores the extent and importance of epigenetic variations and elucidates mechanisms by which dynamic and quantitative aspects of alcohol-dependent behavior are controlled;
- more advanced data and statistical analyses of region-specific and genome-wide DNA methylation microarrays, with an emphasis on heritable epigenotypes and statistically valid approaches for interpretation of experimental results.
Most of these studies are collaborative ventures which attempt to integrate and apply molecular, epidemiologic, imaging and behavior approaches to complex disorders.

Key Publications
Chorbov VM, Todorov AA, Lynskey MT, Cicero TJ (2011 Jul-Aug). Elevated levels of DNA methylation at the OPRM1 promoter in blood and sperm from male opioid addicts. J Opioid Manag. 7(4): 258-64.  Full Article ->

Abou Jamra R, Fuerst R, Kaneva R, Orozco Diaz G, Rivas F, Mayoral F, Gay E, Sans S, Gonzalez MJ, Gil S, Cabaleiro F, Del Rio F, Perez F, Haro J, Auburger G, Milanova V, Kostov C, Chorbov V, Stoyanova V, Nikolova-Hill A, Onchev G, Kremensky I, Jablensky A, Schulze TG, Propping P, Rietschel M, Nothen MM, Cichon S, Wienker TF, Schumacher J (2007 Nov). The first genomewide interaction and locus-heterogeneity linkage scan in bipolar affective disorder: strong evidence of epistatic effects between loci on chromosomes 2q and 6q. Am J Hum Genet. 81(5): 974-86.  Full Article ->

Chorbov VM, Lobos EA, Todorov AA, Heath AC, Botteron KN, Todd RD (2007 Sep 5). Relationship of 5-HTTLPR genotypes and depression risk in the presence of trauma in a female twin sample. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 144B(6): 830-3.  Full Article ->

Kaneva RP, Chorbov VM, Milanova VK, Kostov CS, Nickolov KI, Chakarova CF, Stoyanova VS, Nikolova-Hill AN, Krastev SK, Onchev GN, Kremensky IM, Kalaydjieva LV, Jablensky AV (2004 Jun). Linkage analysis in bipolar pedigrees adds support for a susceptibility locus on 21q22. Psychiatr Genet. 14(2): 101-6.  Full Article ->

Funded Research Projects
NIAAA(PI):Behavior and Epigenetic Effects of Chronic Alcohol Exposure in Rats and Human DNA