Debby Tsuang, MD, MSc

Personal Statement

Over the past 20 years, my research has focused on the genetics of schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disorders, particularly on the use of clinical phenotyping and innovative genomic technologies to elucidate the complex genetic architecture underlying schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). I served as the Director of the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the VA Puget Sound Health (VAPS) from 2011-2022, in order to focus on my research on Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders. My current research interests are two-pronged: 1) develop machine learning models in VA’s vast electronic health records in order to assign ADRD probability scores in older Black and White Veterans; and 2) use mobile health devices to promote early diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies. In In these capacities, I direct multidisciplinary efforts to better understand the biology, genetics, etiology, prevention, and treatment of these disorders, and I provide clinical expertise for the differential diagnosis of  neurodegenerative disorders and treatment of behavioral disturbances in dementias.  


Additional certification in geriatric psychiatry

Department Affiliations

Other Affiliations

University of Washington Alzheimer’s Disease Center

Teaching Philosophy

​I am interested in helping trainees to discover the patients and their diseases that capture their passions and curiosities. As they seek that niche, I believe it is critical to develop a comprehensive, holistic treatment approach to their patients. To that end, I hope to help trainees develop foundational knowledge concerning the complex medical, psychiatric, and psychosocial challenges that affect patients. I also believe that it is important to view those intersections in the context of the individual. When we see our patients as people who are part of a family and a web of connections beyond the self—and not just a patient ID number or DSM diagnosis—we are better able to understand both our patients’ illnesses and the ways in which their experiences of those illnesses affect them and their families.​

Recent Publications

A Preliminary Comparison of the Methylome and Transcriptome from the Prefrontal Cortex Across Alzheimer's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia.
J Alzheimers Dis Rep 7(1): 279-297
Fisher DW, Tulloch J, Yu CE, Tsuang D

Sensitivity of Schizophrenia Endophenotype Biomarkers to Anticholinergic Medication Burden.
(2023 Apr 11)
Am J Psychiatry
Joshi YB, Molina JL, Braff DL, Green MF, Gur RC, Gur RE, Nuechterlein KH, Stone WS, Greenwood TA, Lazzeroni LC, Radant AD, Silverman JM, Sprock J, Sugar CA, Tsuang DW, Tsuang MT, Turetsky BI, Swerdlow NR, Light GA

Polygenic risk score penetrance & recurrence risk in familial Alzheimer disease.
(2023 May)
Ann Clin Transl Neurol 10(5): 744-756
Qiao M, Lee AJ, Reyes-Dumeyer D, Tosto G, Faber K, Goate A, Renton A, Chao M, Boeve B, Cruchaga C, Pericak-Vance M, Haines JL, Rosenberg R, Tsuang D, Sweet RA, Bennett DA, Wilson RS, Foroud T, Mayeux R, Vardarajan BN

Identifying probable dementia in undiagnosed Black and White Americans using machine learning in Veterans Health Administration electronic health records.
(2023 Feb 14)
Shao Y, Todd K, Shutes-David A, Millard SP, Brown K, Thomas A, Chen K, Wilson K, Zeng QT, Tsuang DW

Correction: Valcic et al. Determining Whether Sex and Zygosity Modulates the Association between APOE4 and Psychosis in a Neuropathologically-Confirmed Alzheimer's Disease Cohort. Brain Sci. 2022, 12, 1266.
(2022 Dec 29)
Brain Sci 13(1):
Valcic M, Khoury MA, Kim J, Fornazzari L, Churchill NW, Ismail Z, De Luca V, Tsuang D, Schweizer TA, Munoz DG, Fischer CE

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