William E. Bunney

picture of William E. Bunney

Distinguished Professor, Psychiatry & Human Behavior
School of Medicine

Associate Dean for Research Faculty Liaison
School of Medicine

M.D., University of Pennsylvania

Phone: (949) 824-4242
Fax: (949) 824-1787
Email: webunney@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
D438 Medical Sciences 1
Mail Code: 1675
Irvine, CA 92697-1675
Research Interests
The pathophysiology and treatment of the serious mental disorders Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder using brain imaging, and genetic and genomic approaches.
Research Abstract
Dr. Bunney’s major research interests involve work on serious psychiatric disorders – major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BPD) and schizophrenia (SZ). These include studies on diagnosis, rapid treatment strategies, etiology, brain imaging studies, genetic and genomic research, biomarkers, the role of clock gene abnormalities in MDD, and the investigation of brain circuitry alterations.

Dr. Bunney received his medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his residency in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.

Following his residency, Dr. Bunney was recruited by Dr. David Hamburg to the Intramural Program of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), where he later held several leadership positions, including three years as Director of the Division of Narcotic Addiction and Drug Abuse. During his tenure, his division expanded the number of drug addiction treatment centers six-fold throughout the nation and established eight university-based research programs on substance abuse.

At the University of California Irvine, Dr. Bunney is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and currently serves as Associate Dean for Research Faculty Liaison for the School of Medicine.

Dr. Bunney received a number of national and international research awards including the APA Hofheimer Research Award, the International Anna-Monika Award and the NARSAD Nora Maddox Falcone Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Affective Disorders Research. He was awarded the 2011 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health from the National Academy of Medicine / National Academy of Sciences, the 2012 Pioneer Award from the Collegium Internationale Neuropsycho-pharmacologicum (CINP) and the 2012 Yale Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2015 Dr. Bunney was the recipient of the Payne Whitney Clinic Award for Extraordinary Public Service, from the Department of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. In 2016 Dr. Bunney received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his medical degree. He received the Distinguished Achievement Award from Oberlin College in 2019.

Elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bunney was subsequently designated the prestigious title of Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies. He was also appointed for a term as Executive Vice President of the National Academies Corporation. He was elected President of national and international societies including the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), and the international organization CINP.

Dr. Bunney is the author of more than 467 scientific publications that have been cited over 51,682 times. His H factor (from Google Scholar database) score is 122 (122 papers cited over 122 times); 65 papers were cited between 200 and 1,813 times.

Dr. Bunney continues to be actively involved in research and has had many publications in major journals over the last three years. He is the senior author on a notable paper presenting the first direct evidence for clock gene abnormalities in major depressive disorder, which has been ranked in the top 98 percent of all downloads published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Bunney’s work has provided extensive evidence and insight into the etiology and pathophysiology of the major psychiatric disorders.
Available Technologies
Sato S, Bunney BG, Vawter MP, Bunney WE, Sassone-Corsi P. Homer1a Undergoes Bimodal Transcriptional Regulation by CREB and the Circadian Clock. Neuroscience, Volume 434, 10 May 2020, Pages 161-170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.03.031

Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Genomic Relationships, Novel Loci, and Pleiotropic Mechanisms across Eight Psychiatric Disorders. Cell. 2019 Dec 12;179(7):1469-1482.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.11.020. PMID: 31835028

Mee S, Bunney BG, Fujimoto K, Penner J, Seward G, Crowfoot K, Bunney WE, Reist C. A study of psychological pain in substance use disorder and its relationship to treatment outcome. PLoS One 14(11) November 7, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216266

Limon A, Delbruck E, Yassine A, Pandya D, Myers RM, Barchas JD, Lee F, Schatzberg, Watson SJ, Akil H, Bunney WE, Vawter MP, Sequeira A. Electrophysiological evaluation of extracellular spermine and alkaline pH on synaptic human GABAA receptors. Translational psychiatry. 2019;9(1):218. Epub 2019/09/07. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0551-1. PubMed PMID: 31488811; PMCID: PMC6728327.

Stahl EA, ...Sklar P, et al. Genome-wide association study identifies 30 loci associated with bipolar disorder. Nature Genetics. 2019;51(5):793-803. Epub 2019/05/03. doi: 10.1038/s41588-019-0397-8. PubMed PMID: 31043756.

Lallai V, Grimes N, Fowler JP, Sequeira A, Cartagena P, Limon A, Coutts M, Monuki E, Bunney WE, Demuro A, and Fowler C. Nicotine Acts on Cholinergic Signaling Mechanisms to Directly Modulate Choroid Plexus Function. eNeuro 9 April 2019, 6 (2) ENEURO.0051-19.2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0051-19.2019

Hjelm BE, Rollins B, Morgan L, Sequeira A, Mamdani F, Pereira F, Damas J, Webb MG, Weber MD, Schatzberg AF, Barchas JD, Lee FS, Akil H, Watson SJ, Myers RM, Chao EC, Kimonis V, Thompson PM, Bunney WE, Vawter MP. Splice-Break: exploiting an RNA-seq splice junction algorithm to discover mitochondrial DNA deletion breakpoints and analyses of psychiatric disorders. Nucleic Acids Research. 2019. Epub 2019/03/15. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz164. PubMed PMID: 30869147.

Hagenauer MH, Schulmann A, Li JZ, Vawter MP, Walsh DM, Thompson RC, Turner CA, Bunney WE, Myers RM, Barchas JD, Schatzberg AF, Watson SJ, Akil H. Inference of cell type content from human brain transcriptomic datasets illuminates the effects of age, manner of death, dissection, and psychiatric diagnosis. PloS one. 2018;13(7):e0200003. Epub 2018/07/18. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200003. PubMed PMID: 30016334; PMCID: PMC6049916.

Benedetti F, Avery DH, Bauer M, Bunney WE, Caliyurt O, Camardese G, Colombo C, Dallaspezia S, Henriksen TE, Kasper S, Kuriyama K, Lam RW, Martiny K, Meesters Y, Mishima K, Schulte R, Suzuki M, Swiecicki L, Uchiyama M, Veale D, Winkler D, Wu J, Kupeli NY, Yoshiike T, Yu X. Evidence for the Efficacy of Bright Light Therapy for Bipolar Depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2018; 175(9):905-6. Epub 2018/09/04. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18020231. PubMed PMID: 30173556

Turner CA, Sharma V, Hagenauer MH, Chaudhury S, O'Connor AM, Hebda-Bauer EK, Thompson RC, Myers RM, Bunney WE, Barchas JD, Lee FS, Schatzberg AF, Watson SJ, Jr., Akil H. Connective Tissue Growth Factor Is a Novel Prodepressant. Biological psychiatry. 2018. Epub 2018/06/05. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.04.013. PubMed PMID: 29861095.

Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Gemonics Constortium. Genomic dissection of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia, Including 28 phenotypes. CELL, Volume 173, Issue 7, p1705–1715.e16, 14 June 2018, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.05.046

Winkler D, Spies M, Al-Resheg Y, Wu JC, Bunney WE, Bunney BG, Kasper S, Pjrek E. Usage of Therapeutic Sleep Deprivation: A Survey in Psychiatric Hospitals in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Behavioral sleep medicine. 2018:1-8. Epub 2018/05/19. doi: 10.1080/15402002.2018.1469494. PubMed PMID: 29775085.

Ramaker RC, Bowling KM, Lasseigne BN, Hagenauer MH, Hardigan AA, Davis NS, Gertz J, Cartagena PM, Walsh DM, Vawter MP, Jones EG, Schatzberg AF, Barchas JD, Watson SJ, Bunney BG, Akil H, Bunney WE, Li JZ, Cooper SJ, Myers RM. Post Mortem Molecular Profiling of Three Psychiatric Disorders. Genome Medicine July 2017: 9(1):72. doi: 10.1186/s13073-017-0458-5.

Krolewski DM, Kumar V, Martin B, Tomer R, Deisseroth K, Myers RM, Schatzberg AF, Lee FS, Barchas JD, Bunney WE, Akil H, Watson SJ Jr. Quantitative validation of immunofluorescence and lectin staining using reduced CLARITY acrylamide formulations. Brain Struct Funct. 2018 Mar; 223 (2):987-999. doi: 10.1007/s 00429-017-1583-z. Epub 2017 Dec 14.
Reist C, Mee S, Fujimoto K, Ranjani V, Bunney WE, Bunney BG. Assessment of Psychological Pain in Suicidal Veterans. PLOS One. May 2017, In Press. PONE-D-16-42578R2
Orozco-Solis R, Montelier E, Aguilar-Arnal L, Sato S, Vawter MP, Bunney BG, Bunney WE, Sassone-Corsi P. A circadian genomic signature common to ketamine and sleep deprivation in the anterior cingulate cortex. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Mar 1. pii: S0006-3223(17)31349-5. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.02.1176. PMID: 28395871.
Li JZ, Bunney BG, Meng F, Hagenauer MH, Walsh DM, Vawter MP, Evans SJ, Choudary PV, Cartagena P, Barchas JD, Schatzberg AF, Jones EG, Myers RM, Watson SJ, Akil H, Bunney WE. Circadian patterns of gene expression in the human brain and disruption in major depressive disorder. PNAS / doi:10.1073/ PNAS 1305814110, May 2013
Bunney BG, Bunney WE. Mechanisms of Rapid Antidepressant Effects of Sleep Deprivation Therapy: Clock Genes and Circadian Rhythms. Biol Psychiatry. June 2013
Sequeira A, Martin MV, Rollins B, Moon EA, Bunney WE, Macciardi F, et al. Mitochondrial mutations and polymorphisms in psychiatric disorders. Frontiers in Genetics. 2012;3:103.
Sequeira a, Morgan L, Walsh DM, Cartagena PM, Choudary P, Li J, Schatzberg AF, Watson SJ, Akil H, Myers RM, Jones EG, Bunney WE, Vawter MP. Gene Expression Changes in the Prefrontal Cortex, Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Nucleus Accumbens of Mood Disorders Subjects That Committed Suicide. PLOS ONE Volume: 7 Issue: 4 Article Number: e35367 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035367 April 2012
Mee S, Bunney BG, Bunney WE, Hetrick W, Potkin SG, Reist C. Assessment of psychological pain in major depressive episodes. Journal of Psychiatric Research. Doi:10.1016/j.psychires .2011.06.011. November 2011.
Bellet MM, Vawter MP, Bunney BG, Bunney WE, Sassone-Corsi P. Ketamine Influences CLOCK:BMAL1 Function Leading to Altered Circadian Gene Expression. PLoS ONE 11-13223R1 10.1371/journal.pone.0023982. Aug 2011.
Bernard R, Kerman IA, Thompson RC, Jones EG, Bunney WE, Barchas JD, Schatzberg AF, Myers RM, Akil H, Watson SJ. Altered expression of glutamate signaling, growth factor, and glia genes in the locus coeruleus of patients with major depression. Mol Psych. Volume: 16 Issue: 6 Pages: 634-646 DOI: 10.1038/mp.2010.44 Published: Jun 2011
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