Melanie Carless, Ph.D.



Dr. Melanie Carless is investigating how changes in microRNA expression regulate gene expression to influence variation in neuroanatomical and neurocognitive endophenotypes, and how this variation might play a role in psychiatric disorders. 

Recently, Dr. Carless’s laboratory has identified several microRNAs whose expressions are both heritable and appear to influence neuroanatomical traits associated with depression. 

In addition, Dr. Carless and her colleagues have uncovered evidence that genomic methylation within a number of genes is correlated with many metabolic syndrome-related phenotypes, such as measures of obesity, blood pressure and insulin and glucose levels; as well as with neuroanatomical and neurocognitive traits.

Dr. Carless has also continued to assess the role genetic variation in depression and neurological traits, identifying several variants within an important psychiatric-related gene that contribute to differences in neuroanatomical and neurocognitive traits. 

Selected Publications

Rubicz R, Yolken R, Drigalenko E, Carless MA, Dyer TD, Bauman L, Melton PE, Kent JW Jr, Harley JB, Curran JE, Johnson MP, Cole SA, Almasy L, Moses EK, Dhurandhar NV, Kraig E, Blangero J, Leach CT, Göring HH. A genome-wide integrative genomic study localizes genetic factors influencing antibodies against Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1). PLoS Genet. 2013;9(1):e1003147.

Koller DL, Zheng HF, Karasik D, Yerges-Armstrong L, Liu CT, McGuigan F, Kemp JP, Giroux S, Lai D, Edenberg HJ, Peacock M, Czerwinski SA, Choh AC, McMahon G, St Pourcain B, Timpson NJ, Lawlor DA, Evans DM, Towne B, Blangero J, Carless MA, Kammerer C, Goltzman D, Kovacs CS, Prior JC, Spector TD, Rousseau F, Tobias JH, Akesson K, Econs MJ, Mitchell BD, Richards JB, Kiel DP, Foroud T. Meta-analysis of genome-wide studies identifies WNT16 and ESR1 SNPs associated with bone mineral density in premenopausal women. J Bone Miner Res. 2013 Mar;28(3):547-58.

Zhang Y, Kent JW 2nd, Lee A, Cerjak D, Ali O, Diasio R, Olivier M, Blangero J, Carless MA, Kissebah AH. Fatty acid binding protein 3 (fabp3) is associated with insulin, lipids and cardiovascular phenotypes of the metabolic syndrome through epigenetic modifications in a Northern European family population.BMC Med Genomics. 2013 Mar 19;6:9.

Blackburn A, Göring HH, Dean A, Carless MA, Dyer T, Kumar S, Fowler S, Curran JE, Almasy L, Mahaney M, Comuzzie A, Duggirala R, Blangero J, Lehman DM. Utilizing extended pedigree information for discovery and confirmation of copy number variable regions among Mexican Americans. Eur J Hum Genet. 2013 Apr;21(4):404-9.

Plourde M, Vohl MC, Bellis C, Carless M, Dyer T, Dolley G, Marette A, Després JP, Bouchard C, Blangero J, Pérusse L. A variant in the LRRFIP1 gene is associated with adiposity and inflammation. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Jan;21(1):185-92.

Assistant Scientist, Genetics
Texas Biomedical Research Institute


Ph.D., Molecular Genetics, Griffiths University Gold Coast, Australia



Phone: (210) 258-9766

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