Jehannine Austin

Professor, Department of Medical Genetics
Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genomics
Professor, UBC Department of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics
Translational Research Building Rm A3-112 – 3rd Floor

938 W 28th Ave

VancouverBC V5Z 4H4

phone6048752000 (ext.5943)
Follow Dr. Austin’s psychiatric genetic counselling service on social media:

Other affiliations:

  • Research Scientist, BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Institute, Vancouver.
  • Centre Investigator, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia,Vancouver.
  • Team Leader, Translational Psychiatric Genetics Group (TPGG), BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute:
  • Dr. Austin is jointly appointed between psychiatry and medical genetics.

Research Interests:

Psychiatric disorders (e.g. depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) are common conditions that are associated with extreme emotional burden, both for affected individuals and their families. Psychiatric disorders are complex conditions that arise as a result of combinations of genetic and environmental vulnerability factors. The genetics of psychiatric disorders is especially complex, so our understanding has been slow in coming despite application of state-of-the-art tools and a large number of studies over many years. Although both molecular genetic research in psychiatry and clinical applications of genetics in many other medical disciplines are well established, research involving clinical applications of genetics in psychiatric conditions is still emerging. However, progress is now being made, and there is an urgent need to translate this into benefit for individuals with psychiatric disorders and their families.

The overall objective of my program of research is to use a clinical genetics perspective to inform the development of novel biological and non-biological interventions to improve outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disorders and to support their families.

I am particularly interested in:

  • Improving outcomes for people with mental illness and their families by helping them to better understand the causes of mental illness.
  • Contributing to a better understanding of factors that contribute to the development of postpartum depression, and developing new nutritional interventions to reduce women’s risk for postpartum depression
  • Modifying healthcare professionals attitudes towards individuals with mental illness.

Selected Publications:

View publications on PubMed

Morris E, Batallones R, Ryan J, Slomp C, Carrion P, Albert A, Austin JPsychiatric genetic counseling for serious mental illness: impact on psychopathology and psychotropic medication adherencePsychiatry Research 2020.

Morris E, Hippman C, Albert A, Slomp C, Inglis A, Carrion P, Batallones R, Andrighetti  HJ, Ross CJ, Dyer R, Honer WG, Austin JA prospective study to explore the relationship between MTHFR C677T genotype, physiological folate levels, and postpartum psychopathology in at-risk womenPLOS One Dec 14, 2020.

Zwicker A, LeBlanc MA, Pavlova  B, Alda M, Denovan-Wright EM, Uher R, Austin JGenetic counselling for the prevention of mental health consequences of cannabis use: A randomized controlled trial. EIP Nov 2020.

Sabatello M, Chen Y, Fiorella Herrera C, Brockhoff E, Austin J, Appelbaum PS. Teenagers and Precision Psychiatry: A Window of Opportunity.  Public Health Genomics October 2020.

Wray NR, Lin T, Austin J, McGrath JJ, Hickie IB, Murray GK, Visscher PM. From basic science to clinical application of polygenic risk scores: a primer. JAMA Psychiatry July 2020.

Murray GK, Lin T, Austin J, McGrath JJ, Hickie IB, Wray NR. Could polygenic risk scores be useful in psychiatry? A review. JAMA Psychiatry, July 2020.

Senter L, Austin J, Cho MT, Harris SL, Linnenbringer E, MacFarlane I, Pan V, Quillin J, Wynn J, Hooker G. Advancing the genetic counseling profession through research: identification of priorities by the national society of genetic counselors research task force. Journal of Genetic Counseling July 2020.

Michaels J, Bulik C, Hart S, Doyle L, Austin JPerceptions of genetic risk, testing, and counseling among individuals with eating disordersInternational Journal of Eating Disorders 2020, 53(9): 1496-1505.

Folkersen L, Pain O, Ignasson A, Werge T, Lewis C, Austin J. An open source, non-profit tool for using data from DTC genetic testing to calculate and interpret polygenic risk scores. Frontiers in Genetics in May 2020.

Gerrard S, Inglis A, Morris E, Austin JRelationships between patient- and session-related variables and outcomes of psychiatric genetic counselingEJHG 2020, 28: 907–914.

Barnes H, Morris E, Austin JTrans inclusive genetic counseling: recommendations from the transgender and non-binary communityJournal of Genetic Counseling, 2020, 29(3): 423-34.

Means C, Cirino A, Swenson KB, Austin J“I am a genetic counselor”: a qualitative exploration of field leaders’ perceptions of the title “genetic counselor.” Journal of Genetic Counseling 2020, 29(1): 97-104.

Booke S, Austin J, Calderwood L, Campion M. Genetic counselors’ attitudes toward and practice related to psychiatric genetic counselingJournal of Genetic Counseling 2020, 29(1): 25-34.

Austin JEvidence based genetic counseling for psychiatric disorders: a road map.  Perspectives in Medicine in July 2019.

Lazaro-Munoz G, Sabatello M, Huckins L, Peay H, Degenhardt F, Meiser B, Lencz T, Soda T, Docherty A, Crepaz-Keay D, Austin J, Peterson R, Davis L. International Society of Psychiatric Genetics Ethics Committee: Issues Facing Us  American Journal of Medical Genetics B Online early May 2019.

Semaka A, Austin JAn “empowering encounter”: the process and outcome of psychiatric genetic counselingJournal of Genetic Counseling, 2019, 28(4): 856-58.

Moldovan R, McGhee KA, Coviello D, Hamang A, Inglis A, Ingvoldstad C, Laurino M, Meisser B, Rovira Moreno E, Murphy L, Paneque M, Papsuev O, Pawlak J, Shkedi S, Serra C, Soller M, Virkijk N, Voelkel MA, Watson M, Austin J.  Psychiatric genetic counseling. A mapping exerciseAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics: Part B in press Feb 2019.

Morris E, Slomp C, Hippman C, Inglis A, Carrion P, Batallones R, Andrighetti H, Austin JA matched cohort study of postpartum placentophagy: impact on mood, energy, vitamin B12 levels, and lactationJournal of Obstetrics and Gynecolocy Canada, 2019, 41(9): 1330-7.

Morris E, Best J, Inglis AAustin JImpact of the physical environment on patient outcomes of genetic counseling: an exploratory study. Journal of Genetic Counseling 2019, 28(4): 760-6.

Bulik CM, Blake L, Austin JEating disorders genetics: what the clinician needs to know. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2019, 42(1):59-73.

Salema D, Townsend A, Austin JPatient decision-making and the role of the prenatal genetic counsellor: an exploratory study. Journal of Genetic Counseling 2019, 28(1):155-163.

Cantor A, Hippman C, Hercher L, Austin JGenetic counseling students’ mental health: an exploratory studyJournal of American College Health 2019. 67(4), 348-56.

Nurnberger J, Austin J, Berrettini W, Besterman AD, DeLisi L, Grice D, Kennedy J, Moreno-De-Luca D, Potash JB, Ross D, Schulze T, Zai G. What should a psychiatrist know about genetics? Review and Recommendations from the Education Taskforce of the International Society of Psychiatric GeneticsJournal of Clinical Psychiatry 2018, 27;80(1), pii: 17nr12046.

Borle K, Morris E, Inglis A, Austin JRisk communication in genetic counselling: exploring uptake and perception of recurrence numbers, and their impact on patient outcomesClinical Genetics, 2018, 94(2): 239-45.

Ormond K, Wessels T, Barlow-Stewart K, Macauley S, Laurino M, Austin J, Middleton A. Genetic counseling globally: Where are we now? American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C. 2018, 178(1): 98-107.

Morris E, Hippman CMurray G, Michalak E, Boyd JE, Livingston J,Inglis A, Carrion P,Austin JThe SSRMI scale: development and validation of a self-stigma measure for first-degree relatives of people with mental illnessBritish Journal of Psychiatry, 2018, 212(3): 169-74.

Slomp C, Morris E, Inglis A, Lehman A, Austin JPatient outcomes of genetic counseling: assessing the impact of different approaches to family history collectionClinical Genetics, 2018, 93(4):830-6.

Chen, B, Carrion P, Grewal R, Inglis A, Hippman C, Morris EAlbert A, Austin JShort interpregnancy intervals, maternal folate levels and infants born small for gestational age: a preliminary study in a Canadian supplement using population. Applied Nutrition Physiology and Metabolism, 2017, 42(10):1092-1096.

Andrighetti H, Semaka A, Austin JWomen’s experiences of participating in a prospective, longitudinal postpartum depression study: insights for perinatal mental health researchersArchives of Women’s Mental Health 2017 20(4) p547-59.

Moldovan R, Pintea S, Austin JThe effectiveness of genetic counseling for psychiatric disorders: a meta-analysis. Journal of Genetic Counseling 2017, 26(6):1341-1347.

Kalb F, Vincent V, Herzog T, Austin JGenetic Counseling for Alcohol Addiction: Assessing Perceptions and Potential Utility in Individuals with Lived Experience and Their Family MembersJournal of Genetic Counseling 2017 Oct;26(5):963-970.

Biesecker B, Austin J, Caleshu C. Theories for psychotherapeutic genetic counselling: Fuzzy trace theory and cognitive behavior theoryJ Genet Couns. 2017; 26(2) 322-30.

Hippman C, Ringrose A, Inglis A, Cheek J, Albert AY, Remick R, Honer WG, Austin JCA pilot randomized clinical trial of the impact of genetic counseling for individuals with serious mental illnessJ Clin Psych 2016, 77(2):e190–e198.

Mighton C, Inglis A, Carrion P, Hippman C, Morris E, Andrighetti H, Batallones R, Honer W, Austin JPerinatal psychosis in mothers with a history of major depressive disorderArch Women Ment Health 2016;19(2):253-8.

Austin JC2020 Vision: Genetic Counselors as the recognized leaders in the integration of genetics and genomics into healthcare (Incoming presidential address). J Genet Couns. 2016. 25(1) 1-5.

Inglis A, Koehn D, McGillivray B, Stewart E, Austin JEvaluating the first specialist clinical psychiatric genetic counseling service: uptake and impactClinical Genetics 2015, 87(3) 218-224.

Ke S, Lai L, Sun T, Yang M, Wang JCC, Austin JCHealthy Young Minds: The Effects of a One-hour Classroom Workshop on Mental Illness Stigma in High School StudentsCommunity Mental Health Journal, 2015, 51(3):329-37.

Talcott-Baughman S, Morris E, Jensen K, Austin JDisclosure of psychiatric manifestations of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome in medical genetics: a 12 year retrospective chart reviewAm J Med Genet 2015, 167(10):2350-6.

Ryan J, Virani A, Austin JEthical issues associated with genetic counselling in the context of adolescent psychiatryAppl Transl Genomics 2015, 5(1):23-9.

Austin JThe effect of genetic test-based risk information on behavioural outcomes: a critical examination of failed trials and call to actionAm J Med Genet. 2015, 167(12):2913-5.

Inglis A, Hippman C, Carrion P, Honer WG, Austin JCMania and depression in the perinatal period among women with a history of major depressive disordersArchives of Women’s Mental Health 2014, 17(2) 137-43.

Ashtiani S, Makela N, Carrion P, Austin J. Parents’ Experiences of Receiving their Child’s Genetic Diagnosis: A Qualitative Study to Inform Clinical Genetics PracticeAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics 2014, 164(6) 1496-1502.

Austin J, Semaka A, Hadjipavlou G. Conceptualizing genetic counseling as psychotherapy in the era of genomic medicineJournal of Genetic Counseling 2014. 23(6) 903-909.

Lohn Z, Inglis A, Austin J, and Hippman C. A ‘cure’ for Down syndrome: What do parents want? Clinical Genetics 2014. 86(4):310-7.

Hippman C, Lohn Z, Inglis A, Ringrose A, Cheek A, Austin JC. “Nothing is absolute in life:” Understanding uncertainty in the context of psychiatric genetic counseling from the perspective of those with serious mental illnessJournal of Genetic Counseling 2013 22(5) 625-632.

Maio M, Carrion P, Yaremco E, Austin JCAwareness of genetic counseling and perceptions of its purpose: A survey of the Canadian publicJournal of Genetic Counseling 2013, 22(6) 762-770.

Morris E, Inglis A, Friedman J, Austin JCDiscussing the psychiatric manifestations of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: an exploration of clinical practice among medical geneticistsGenetics in Medicine. 2013 15, 713-720.

Yaremco E, Inglis A, Innis S, Hippman C, Carrion, P, Lamers Y, Honer WG, Austin JCRed Blood cell Folate concentrations in pregnant women with a history of mood disorders: a case seriesBirth Defects Research Part A, 2013 97(6), 416-420.

Anderson K., Austin JCInfluencing genetic counselors’ attitudes towards people with mental illness: a pilot studyJournal of Genetic Counseling. 2012, 21: 573-81.

Hippman C., Inglis, A., Austin JCWhat is a “balanced” description? Insight from parents of individuals with Down syndromeJournal of Genetic Counseling. 2012, 21(1): 35-44.

Lautenbach, D., Hiraki, S., Whalen Campion, M., Austin, J.CMothers’ perspectives on their child’s mental illness as compared to other complex disorders in their family: insights to inform genetic counseling practiceJournal of Genetic Counseling. 2012, 21: 564-72.

Inglis A, Hippman C., Austin JCPrenatal testing for Down Syndrome: Perspectives of parents of affected individualsAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics 2012, 158A (4), 743-50.

Austin JC, Hippman, C, and Honer, WG. Descriptive and numeric estimation of risk for psychotic disorders among affected individuals and relatives: implications for clinical practicePsychiatric Research 2012, 196(1) 52-6.

Feret H, Conway L, Austin JCGenetic Counselors’ attitudes towards individuals with schizophrenia: desire for social distance and endorsement of stereotypesPatient Education and Counseling 2011 82: 69-73.

McBride R, Austin JC. Sex testing or gender verification: is there a difference and does it matter? Journal of Genetic Counseling, 2011 20:113-114.

Peay and AustinHow to talk with families about genetics and psychiatric illness. W.W. Norton. 2011.

Zierhut H, Austin JCHow inclusion of genetic counselors on the research team can benefit translational science. Science Translational Medicine. 2011, 3(75): 75-76.

Chan RCK. Austin JC*, Pearson VJ, Gong Q, HonerWG. Translating genomic research into care for people with schizophrenia in ChinaSchizophrenia Research, 2011, 131:31-34.