6488-Edenberg, Howard

Howard J. Edenberg, PhD

Distinguished Professor

635 Barnhill Drive
Medical Science, Room 4063E

Indianapolis, IN 46202-5120


Dr. Edenberg received his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1973, working in the laboratory of Dr. Philip Hanawalt on DNA repair in mammalian cells. Postdoctoral training with Dr. Joel Huberman (MIT) and Dr. Melvin DePamphilis (Harvard Med School) focused on DNA replication, and included the development of in vitro systems in which to study SV40 replication. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1977, continuing to work on both DNA replication and repair, as well as transcription and the effects of UV irradiation on all of these processes. He became interested in genes involved in alcohol metabolism, and cloned several alcohol dehydrogenase genes (ADHs). He has continued to study their regulation in different cell types. He developed the first PCR-based methods for genotyping variants in the ADH and aldehyde dehydrogenase genes, and with colleagues demonstrated that functional variants in three of these genes affected risk for alcoholism. This led to an interest in alcoholism and other complex genetic diseases, and in applying genomics to understand them. He founded and until recently ran the Center for Medical Genomics, bringing genomic technology to the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is a leader in a major family study, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, as well as in studies of how alcohol exposure affects gene expression in the brain. He is also a leader in a global initiative to carry out meta-analyses of alcohol- and other substance-use disorders, under the framework of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. 

Key Publications

Edenberg HJ, McClintick JN. (2018) Alcohol dehydrogenases, aldehyde dehydrogenases and alcohol use disorders: a critical review. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 42, 2281-2297. PMID: 30320893.

Edenberg HJ, Gelernter J, Agrawal A. (2019) Genetics of Alcoholism. Curr Psychiatry Rep 21: 26. PMID: 30852706.

Edenberg HJ: Perspective on Beyond Statistical Significance: Finding Meaningful Effects. (2021) Complex Psychiatry 7, 1-8. doi: 10.1159/000517237.

Rao X, Thapa KS … Edenberg HJ, Liu Y (2021) Allele-specific expression and high-throughput reporter assay reveal functional genetic variants associated with alcohol use disorders. Molecular Psychiatry26, 1142-1151. PMID: 31477794.

Smoller JW, Andreassen OA, Edenberg HJ, Faraone SV, Glatt SJ, Kendler KS. (2019) Psychiatric genetics and the structure of psychopathology. Mol Psychiatry 24, 409-420. PMID: 29317742.

Walters RK, Polimanti R … Gelernter J, Edenberg HJ, Agrawal A. (2018) Transancestral GWAS of alcohol dependence reveals common genetic underpinnings with psychiatric disorders. Nature Neuroscience 21(12):1656–1669. PMID: 30482948.
Zhou H, Sealock JM … Edenberg HJ, Agrawal A, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J (2020) Genome-wide meta-analysis of problematic alcohol use in 435,563 individuals yields insights into biology and relationships with other traits. Nature Neuroscience 23: 809-818. PMID: 32451486.

Kapoor M, Chao MJ … Edenberg HJ, Marcora E, Agrawal A, Goate A. (2021) Multi-omics integration analysis identifies novel genes for alcoholism with potential overlap with neurodegenerative diseases. Nat Commun. 12(1):5071. PMID: 34417470.

Breen G, Li Q … Sullivan PF, Collier DA, Edenberg HJ. (2016) Translating genome-wide association findings into new therapeutics for psychiatry. Nature Neuroscience 19, 1392-1396. PMID: 27786187.

Peterson R.E., K. Kuchenbaecker, … H.J. Edenberg, H. Huang, L.E. Duncan. (2019) Genome-wide Association Studies in Ancestrally Diverse Populations: Opportunities, Methods, Pitfalls, and Recommendations. Cell 179, 589-603.  PMID: 31607513.

Additional publications can be found at PubMed and myNCBI

Titles & Appointments

  • Distinguished Professor
  • Chancellor's Professor, IUPUI
  • Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics

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