ARLENE AND ROBERT KOGOD PROFESSORSHIP IN MOOD DISORDERS
Established in 2009 by Arlene and Robert Kogod

ROBERT P. KOGOD is president of Charles E. Smith Management, LLC. He is the former co-chairman and co-CEO of the Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty LP and Charles E. Smith Residential Realty, Inc. Mr. Kogod serves on the board of trustees of Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He serves on the board of regents of the Smithsonian Institution and the boards of the Shalom Hartman Institute, District of Columbia College Access Program, Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve, and Hillel International.

ARLENE R. KOGOD is a mental health counselor who, with an associate, designed and runs a college-bound group for minority girls in a District of Columbia public school. She formerly worked for the Regional Center for Infants and Young Child Parenting Psychotherapy Program and the Clinical Infant Development Program of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted a private practice in counseling for at-risk adolescent girls.

The Kogods are residents of the District of Columbia and have been supporters and active in a large number of additional civic and philanthropic activities. These include the American University, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Sidwell Friends School, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Federal City Council, Economic Club, Progressive Policy Institute, Arena Stage, and Signature Theatre.

 

JAMES B. POTASH, Med 1993, SPH 1989, the inaugural Arlene and Robert Kogod Professor of Mood Disorders, is a graduate of Yale University. Following graduation he served in the Peace Corps in West Africa, and there decided to become a physician. He first completed a master’s degree in public health at John Hopkins, and then attended Hopkins medical school as well. He went on to do residency training at Hopkins, and was selected as chief resident in his fourth year. In 1998, he joined the faculty as an instructor and since then has been promoted to associate professor, and director of research programs for the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The primary focus of Dr. Potash’s work has been on research regarding the genetic basis of mood disorders. These efforts have resulted in 66 publications. He also has collaborated on a revision of the leading textbook in the field, Manic-Depressive Illness. Dr. Potash is the principal investigator on three major grants from the National Institute of Mental Health aimed at studying the genetics of bipolar disorder, the genetics of major depression, and the epigenetics of major depression, respectively. His two areas of research specialty have been the genetic basis of the psychotic form of bipolar disorder and the epigenetics of mood disorders. He has published a series of papers showing that the vulnerability to the psychotic form of bipolar disorder is genetically distinctive, and that it overlaps with the vulnerability to schizophrenia. The importance of this body of results was recognized with the Robins/Guze Award for research excellence given by the American Psychopathological Association in 2003.

Epigenetics refers to heritable modifications of genes, and this area has become one of the revolutionary fields in medical science. In his work on the epigenetics of mood disorder, Dr. Potash has collaborated closely with Dr. Andrew Feinberg, a world leader in epigenetics and director of the Epigenetics Center of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Science at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Potash, head of clinical translation for the center, is studying epigenetic variation in the brains of people with major depression and bipolar disorder, and in the brain generally. He helped showed that DNA methylation signatures across over 800 genes distinguish brain regions and may help account for region-specific functional specialization.

In addition to doing outstanding research, Dr. Potash is also a gifted clinician who sees patients on the Mood Disorders Inpatient Service and in the Mood Disorders Consultation Clinic. He is the co-author of a book on mood disorders treatment that is in preparation.