Our lab has four areas of research:
Genetics of psychotic disorders.
What is the nature of genetic risk for psychotic disorders? We are interested in the genetic structure underlying thought disorder, a series of investigations supported by K08 MH122673 and R21 MH123908. Much of this work takes place as part of the HiTOP consortium’s genomics workgroup. We are also interested in how genetic risk manifests in symptom profiles, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. We also look at the relationship between genetic risk and long-term clinical outcomes such as recovery, remission, and treatment resistance. This work is carried out using data collected in the lab, and with data from all over the world contributed to the First-Episode Psychosis Special Interest Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.
Course of psychosis.
We work closely with Drs. Evelyn Bromet and Roman Kotov on the Suffolk County Mental Health Project, currently the longest-running study of first-episode psychosis in the world. We collaborate with researchers leading similar efforts across the globe to understand how symptoms, cognition, and functioning change over the course of illness in psychotic disorders.
The neurological basis of psychosis.
We are working to understand how brain and neuronal structure may be affected in psychosis. To do this, we are collaborating with the NIH Brain Tissue Repository at Mount Sinai to facilitate postmortem brain and spinal cord tissue donations from participants enrolled in our longitudinal studies. Our hope is that by linking clinical data gathered over the lifespan with neuropathological data, we’ll begin to understand how course of illness is reflected in brain and neuron structure, while controlling for all the other things that can happen over the lifespan that affect brain structure. This may reveal the neurological basis of psychosis, and the cognitive impairments and dementia that often accompany it.
We lead the HiTOP-DAT field trials, a collaborative effort to implement dimensional, transdiagnostic intake and follow-up assessments in psychiatric and psychological treatment facilities. The HiTOP-DAT is currently in use at 9 clinics across the world.
Waszczuk, M. A., Jonas, K. G., Bornovalova, M., Breen, G., Bulik, C., Docherty, A., Eley, T. C., Hettema, J. M., Kotov, R., Krueger, R., Lencz, T., Li, J. J., Vassos, E., Waldman, I. (in press) Dimensional and Transdiagnostic Approaches in Psychiatric Genome-wide Association Studies. Molecular Psychiatry.
Jonas K, Lian W, Callahan J, et al. The Course of General Cognitive Ability in Individuals With Psychotic Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 18, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.1142
Jonas, K. (2021). Global Information for Multidimensional Tests. Applied Psychological Measurement.
Jonas, K., Abi-Dargham, A., & Kotov, R. (2021). Two Hypotheses on the High Incidence of Dementia in Psychotic Disorders. JAMA psychiatry.
Waszczuk, M. A., Eaton, N. R., Krueger, R. F., Shackman, A. J., Waldman, I. D., Zald, D. H., ... & Kotov, R. (2020). Redefining phenotypes to advance psychiatric genetics: Implications from hierarchical taxonomy of psychopathology. Journal of abnormal psychology, 129(2), 143.
Kotov, R., Jonas, K. G., Carpenter, W. T., Dretsch, M. N., Eaton, N. R., Forbes, M. K., ... & HiTOP Utility Workgroup. (2020). Validity and utility of hierarchical taxonomy of psychopathology (HiTOP): I. Psychosis superspectrum. World Psychiatry, 19(2), 151-172.
Jonas, K. G., Fochtmann, L. J., Perlman, G., Tian, Y., Kane, J. M., Bromet, E. J., & Kotov, R. (2020). Lead-time bias confounds association between duration of untreated psychosis and illness course in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 177(4), 327-334.
Jonas, K. G., Lencz, T., Li, K., Malhotra, A. K., Perlman, G., Fochtmann, L. J., ... & Kotov, R. (2019). Schizophrenia polygenic risk score and 20-year course of illness in psychotic disorders. Translational psychiatry, 9(1), 1-8.
Jonas, K. G., & Markon, K. E. (2013). A model of psychosis and its relationship with impairment. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 48(9), 1367-1375.
We are currently reconnecting with members of the Genomic Psychiatry Cohort to see how things have changed over the years.
We are interested in seeing how people do over time: some people's symptoms change, and other people's stay the same. We are trying to understand if a person’s genes influence how a person fares over the long run. The interview lasts about an hour and a half, where we ask questions about people's day-to-day life, and any symptoms they might have experienced since the last interview.
If you are member of the cohort and wish to participate, please fill out the form in our Contact Us section.
More information about the Genomic Psychiatry Cohort is available in the following publication:
Pato, M. T., Sobell, J. L., Medeiros, H., Abbott, C., Sklar, B. M., Buckley, P. F., ... & Pato, C. N. (2013). The genomic psychiatry cohort: partners in discovery. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 162(4), 306-312.
A Collaborative & Diverse Group
Katherine Jonas - Principal Investigator
Katherine Jonas PhD LP is the lab’s principal investigator. Dr. Jonas received her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Harvard University in 2008. She completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa, graduating in 2017 after a clinical internship at the Minneapolis VA. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health at Stony Brook, and has been licensed in New York State since 2019. She joined the faculty at Stony Brook as Assistant Professor in 2021.
Dr. Jonas is interested in the course of psychotic disorders, and in particular, how genetic risk factors impact a person’s symptoms, course of illness, and response to treatment. She is also interested in the design of genetic association studies, and approaches that can improve the power and precision of genetic research. This work is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (K08 MH122673 and R21 MH123908).
Amna Asim - Master's Student
Amna is a Master's student in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University. She completed an honors thesis on the impact of smartphone usage on mindful attention and aggression among car drivers during her undergraduate at Bahria University, Islamabad. After graduating she studied the impact of burnout and academic stress on motivation, anxiety, and resilience through additional research positions and research on topics of emotional intelligence, parenting styles, mental well-being, and environmental stressors.
She is interested in research on the risk factors, symptomatology, emotional and cognitive functioning, and clinical outcomes of psychosis and is working on the Suffolk County Mental Health Project to investigate the genomic differences between schizophrenics that respond to treatment as compared to those who do not. She wants to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to further study the impact of mental pathologies and external stressors on emotional and cognitive functioning to inform therapeutic intervention.
David Fernandes - Lab Coordinator
David is a Master's student in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University. In addition to his coursework he is a research coordinator within Jonas Labs. David hopes to pursue a PhD in neuropsychology and work with adolescents in the future.
Wenxuan (Wendy) Lian - Data Analyst
Wendy is a PhD student at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. She graduated from Stony Brook with a M.S in both Materials Science and Applied Mathematics. Wendy is currently working as a data analyst in the lab. Her specialties include multivariate time series, factor modeling and survival analysis.
Sara Tramazzo - Interviewer
Sara Tramazzo received her B.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University in 2019. In addition to being a coordinator and interviewer for The Genomic Psychiatry Cohort under Dr. Jonas, Sara also is a research coordinator for The Suffolk County Mental Health Project, a longitudinal study following first episode psychosis under Dr. Kotov. She is interested in using the etiology of schizophrenia spectrum disorders to improve treatment outcomes and hopes to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.
Yuan Yang - PhD Student
Yuan obtained her bachelor's in Clinical Medicine from Harbin Medical University in China in 2017. She graduated with her master's in Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2018. She joined the Public Health Ph.D. program at Stony Brook University in 2020. She is currently focusing on applying longitudinal analysis to cognition health risk identification.
Grimm - Lab Mascot
Grimm has no credentials and no aspirations, making him an outstanding mascot.
Cheyanne Busso - Interviewer
Cheyanne Busso was a graduate student in the dual Master's programs of Social Work and Public Health at Stony Brook University. She has worked in research for over 10 years, beginning as an undergraduate research assistant investigating factors that affect prenatal maternal stress on women’s health behaviors and birth outcomes and more recently, as the lead clinical interviewer for The Suffolk County Mental Health Project, a longitudinal study following first episode psychosis. In addition to interviewing, she assisted in the enrollment process with interest in tissue donation under Dr. Jonas.
In 2021, she was awarded a stipend from the New York State Office of Mental Health and Stony Brook School of Social Welfare for additional training in evidence-based practices for adults diagnosed with serious mental illness as well as scholarships from Stony Brook's program in Public Health (2021) and The Sisters in Public Health (2022) for continuing work in cultural competency. Cheyanne is interested in psychiatric epidemiology and the diagnosis and treatment of serious mental illnesses, and particularly racial disparities across diagnosis and care.
Jeremy Kunins - Interviewer
Jeremy Kunins worked as an interviewer for the Suffolk County Mental Health Project under Dr. Jonas, and planned to pursue a PhD in Neuropsychology. He’s interested in working alongside individuals with neurological disorders to aid in treatment and further the body of research.
We welcome inquiries from prospective research assistants, especially those interested in learning more about careers in research. We are currently taking on volunteer research assistants to help with the 10-year follow-up of the GPC cohort. If you are interested in being part of this project, please complete the “Contact Us” form below.
We currently have have an opening for a postdoctoral research fellow. The postdoctoral fellow would be primarily involved in our psychiatric genetic research. Please see the complete job description here.