Rogers Research Center investigating the genetics behind OCD

Posted on 01/11/23 01:00:pm

In collaboration with University of California, San Francisco, three-year study seeks insight into the development of new treatments

OCONOMOWOC, WIS. (January 11, 2023)Rogers Research Center, which builds on more than a century of experience in evidence-based clinical practice at Rogers Behavioral Health, launched a new study in collaboration with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) investigating the genetics behind obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Through the identification of risk genes, the objective of the three-year study is to glean insight into the development of new treatments for OCD, a condition characterized by obsessions and compulsions that affects an estimated 3.5 million Americans.

In addition to searching for new treatments, the study will allow researchers to pursue important scientific questions regarding the genetic overlap with co-occurring and related conditions, such as hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania), skin picking disorder (excoriation disorder), autism, Tourette Syndrome, and ADHD, among many others.

The Research Center will welcome adult OCD patients from Rogers’ residential and two levels of specialized outpatient programs in Oconomowoc, West Allis, and Brown Deer, as well as telehealth patients. Participants will provide a blood sample to the Research Center’s biobank. Collaborators at UCSF and Rutgers University, both internationally renowned for their genetics work, will then conduct a genome wide association study to identify risk factor genes.

“The Rogers biobank is uniquely suited to help us understand the role of these genetic conditions in our patient setting and can carry out such research in the lab by utilizing the DNA generously donated by patients,” said Kelly Piacsek, PhD, vice president, Research at Rogers. “Collectively, these research and development efforts will allow us to effectively progress toward providing the most effective evidence-based therapies for patients and families affected by mental health conditions and addiction.”

Beyond this particular study, the de-identified genetics data may also be used for additional Rogers research studies, according to Sheldon Garrison, PhD, the scientist who leads the Research Center’s biobank and genetics program. The data will also be available to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for other researchers to leverage.

“The data has the potential to impact many different studies, and lead to new treatments and detection methods for OCD and other behavioral health conditions,” Dr. Garrison said.

Rogers Research Center currently has 60 active studies, many of which involve national academic and clinical partners, including Harvard University and Baylor University. The Research Center has also published 29 studies to date in 2022 on topics including the examination of symptoms of OCD and sleep disturbances, co-occurring OCD and post-traumatic stress disorder, and the economic burden of rare diseases.

About Rogers Research Center

Rogers Research Center builds on more than a century of experience in evidence-based clinical practice at Rogers Behavioral Health. The nationally recognized, not-for-profit provider of mental health and addiction services has been collecting data on patient outcomes for more than 20 years. Under the leadership of Kelly Piacsek, PhD, vice president, Research, Rogers is expanding research to include innovative, prospective studies aimed at accelerating its learning and delivering measurable improvements to mental health treatment practices. Located in the Ladish Co. Foundation Center on Rogers Behavioral Health’s main campus in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, the 4,000-square-foot Research Center is home to three laboratories: a biobank that will collect and store more than 4,000 biological samples annually, a behavioral lab for treatment enhancement and digital health studies, and a neuroscience lab that utilizes EEG to examine brain activity in response to interventions and treatments. Learn more at

About Rogers Behavioral Health

Rogers Behavioral Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit provider of mental health and addiction services. Rogers offers evidence-based treatment for adults, children, and adolescents with depression and other mood disorders, eating disorders, addiction, OCD and anxiety disorders, trauma, and PTSD. In addition to a growing network of regional locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington, Rogers operates three inpatient behavioral health hospitals, 17 residential programs, and eight outpatient centers in Wisconsin. The System also includes Ladish Co. Foundation Center, home to Rogers Research Center, the Rogers Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald Family Room®. In addition, Rogers leads the nationwide WISE coalition with the goal of eliminating stigma related to mental health and substance use disorders. Learn more at

About University of California, San Francisco

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF School of Medicine also has a regional campus in Fresno. Learn more at, or see our Fact Sheet.

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