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@hs.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 molecular, clinical, genetic and genomic approaches.
Academic Distinctions
Distinguished Professor
Research Abstract
Dr. Bunney’s major research interests involve work on serious psychiatric disorders. These include studies on diagnosis, rapid treatment strategies, etiology, molecular, clinical, genetic and genomic research, biomarkers to predict patients at highest risk for suicide, the role of clock gene abnormalities in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and the investigation of brain circuitry alterations.

Dr. Bunney is the author of 478 scientific publications which have been cited over 60,000 times. His current H-Factor score is 128 (128 papers cited over 128 times) with 65 papers cited between 200 and 2,223 times. (Source: Google Scholar Database)

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.
Awards and Honors
Dr. Bunney previously received the APA Hofheimer Research Award; The Research Award, Division of Psychopharmacology of the American Psychological Association; the Rush Gold Medal Award, American Psychiatric Association; the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) Superior Service Award; the McAlpin Mental Health Association Research Achievement Award; the Taylor Manor Hospital Psychiatric Award; the Public Health Service, Distinguished Service Medal; the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award, (NAMI); the 2001 Nola Maddox Falcone Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Affective Illness Research (NARSAD); the Earl Usdin Research Award, West Coast College of Biological Psychiatry (WCCBP); and the 1st Annual Chair Achievement Award at the Psychiatric Chairs Summit.

Dr. Bunney received these additional seven awards:

1. (2011) The Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health, Institute of Medicine / National Academy of Sciences (IOM/NAS)

2. (2012) The Pioneer Award, Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP)

3. (2013) The Yale Psychiatry Distinguished Alumni Award

4. (2014) The Paul Hoch Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

5. (2015) The Payne Whitney Clinic Award for Extraordinary Public Service, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

6. (2016) The 2016 Distinguished Graduate Award from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

7. (2019) The Distinguished Achievement Award, Oberlin College
Short Biography
Dr. William 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 as Director of the Division, Dr. Bunney increased treatment facilities, research, and training efforts in the United States; a national health care delivery system for the narcotic addict and drug abuser was established with an increase in treatment centers from 23 to 140 centers; eight university-based research centers in drug abuse were established and the number of individual clinical investigators receiving grants increased from 44 to 130. The budget of the Division during this three-year period of time increased from $60 million to $244 million dollars. The permanent staff size of the Division was 793.

At the NIMH, Dr. Bunney also served as Chief, Adult Psychiatry Branch; as Deputy Clinical Director, Division of Clinical and Behavioral Research; and as Chief, Biological Psychiatry Branch where he coordinated the Psychobiological Research Program on affective illness, schizophrenia, drug abuse and childhood mental illness. He was later appointed Acting Director of the Intramural Research Program.

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 for his extensive contributions to 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.
Mamdani F, Weber MD, Bunney BG, Burke K, Cartagena P, Walsh D, Lee F, Barchas J, Schatzberg AF, Myers R, Watson SJ, Akil M, Vawter MP, Bunney WE, Sequeira A. Identification of Potential Blood Biomarkers Associated with Suicide in Major Depressive Disorder Translational Psychiatry MS Number: BPS-D-21-00521. April, 2022.
Medina A, Hagenauer M, Krolewski D, Hughes E, Thew-Forrester L, Walsh D, Waselus M, Richardson E, Turner C, Cartagena P, Sequeira A, Thompson R, Vawter MP, Bunney BG, Myers R, Barchas J, Lee F, Schatzberg AF, Bunney WE, Akil H and Watson S. Neurotransmission-Related Gene Expression in the Frontal Pole is Altered in Subjects with Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. Translational Psychiatry, Volume 13, Issue 1, April 2023
Rizzardi F, Bunney WE, et al. Single nucleus multiomics identifies ZEB1 and MAFB as candidate regulators of Alzheimer’s disease-specific cis regulatory elements. January 13, 2023. Cell Genomics.
Hjelm BE, Ramiro C, Rollins B, Omidsalar AA, Gerke DS, Das SC, Sequeira PA, Morgan L, Schatzberg AF, Barchas JD, Lee FS, Myers RM, Watson S, H. Akil H, Bunney WE, Marquis P. Vawter MP. Mitochondrial DNA deletions are associated with a mitochondrial SNP T14798C. Translational Psychiatry. August 30, 2022. 12:353; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-022-02127-1.

Sato S, Bunney BG, Mendoza-Viveros L, Bunney WE, Borrelli E, Sassone-Corsi P, Orozco-Solis R. Rapid-acting antidepressants and the circadian clock. europsychopharmacology 2021 Nov 27;1-12. doi: 10.1038/s41386-021-01241.

Vawter MP, Morgan L, Akil H, Watson S, Myers R, Lee F, Schatzberg A, Bunney WE, Hjelm B, Manojlovic Z, Jin Y, Rollins B. Mitochondria Genetics of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Biological Psychiatry 89 (9) S5 May 1, 2021 DOI: https://doi.org10.1016/j.biopsych 2021.02.033

Zeppillo T, Schulmann A, Macciardi F, Hjelm BE, Föcking M, Sequeira PA, Guella I, Cotter D, Bunney WE, Limon A, Vawter MP. Functional impairment of cortical AMPA receptors in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2020. Epub 2020/06/10. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2020.03.037. PubMed PMID: 32513544.

Coleman RI, Gaspar HA, Bryois J, … Bunney WE, et al (Bipolar Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium). The Genetics of the Mood Disorder Spectrum: Genome-wide Association Analyses of More Than 185,000 Cases and 439,000 Controls. Biological Psychiatry Vol 88, Issue 2, 15 July 2020 Pages 169-184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.10.015 PMCID: PMC8136147

Scaduto P, Sequeira A, Vawter MP, Bunney W, Limon A. Preservation of global synaptic excitatory to inhibitory ratio during long postmortem intervals. Scientific Reports. 2020;10(1):8626. Epub 2020/05/27. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-65377-3. PubMed PMID: 32451470; PMCID: PMC7248056. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65377-3.

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

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.

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

Bunney BG, Li JZ, Walsh DM, Stein R, Vawter MP, Cartagena P, Barchas JD, Schatzberg AF, Myers RM, Watson SJ, Akil H, Bunney WE. Circadian dysregulation of clock genes: clues to rapid treatments in major depressive disorder. Molecular Psychiatry (2015) 1 - 8;1359-4184/14.

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.

Gallager DW, Pert A, Bunney WE Jr. Haloperidol-induced presynaptic dopamine supersensitivity is blocked by chronic lithium. Nature 273.309-312, 1978.

Pert A, Rosenblatt JE, Sivit C, Pert CB, Bunney WE Jr. Long-term treatment with lithium prevents the development of dopamine receptor supersensitivity. Science 201.171-173, 1978.
Professional Societies
National Academy of Medicine (NAM)
Lifetime National Associate of the National Academies
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP)
Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP)
American Psychiatric Association (Distinguished Life Fellow)
Psychiatric Research Society (Fellow)
Society for Neuroscience
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