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Joseph L McClay, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacotherapy & Outcomes Science

Location:  Smith Building
Phone: (804) 828-3428
Web: Research Website

My lab studies psychiatric disorders and psychiatric drug response using the tools of functional genomics and epigenomics. In the last five years, dozens of risk genes have been identified for psychiatric disorders. Our work focuses on characterizing these novel findings using bioinformatics and laboratory studies. We are particularly interested in how risk variants disrupt biological systems and networks and how these can be targeted by novel drugs. We also study existing psychiatric drugs to characterize the complex mechanisms of response downstream from initial receptor binding. More details on current and recent projects are available at the research website link above.

Mailing Address

School of Pharmacy
Dept of Pharmacotherapy & Outcomes Science

410 N 12th Street
P.O. Box 980533
Richmond, VA 23298-0533

Area of Focus

  • Pharmacogenetics and genomics
  • Functional genomics
  • Psychiatric genetics
  • Pharmacoepigenetics


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry (King's College London, 2003)
  • B.S., Genetics (University of York, England, 1997)

Academic Appointments/Professional Experience

  • (2015 - Present) Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, VCU School of Pharmacy
  • (2008 - 2015) Research Assistant Professor, Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine, VCU School of Pharmacy
  • (2006 - 2008) Research Associate, Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine, VCU School of Pharmacy
  • (2003 - 2006) Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, VCU School of Medicine


PubMed Search
The publications search is performed on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database. The search may be slow during high traffic hours, may return articles authored by another researcher with a similar name and may not always find all of a researcher's articles.

  • Patents
    • Metabolomics-based biomarkers for lung function JL McClay et al. 2012 US Patent App. 13/541,449
  • Recent Publications
    • McClay JL, Adkins DE, Aberg K, Stroup S, Perkins DO, Vladimirov VI, Lieberman JA, Sullivan PF, van den Oord EJ. (2011) Genome-wide pharmacogenomic analysis of response to treatment with antipsychotics. Molecular Psychiatry 16 (1): 76-85
    • McClay JL, Adkins DE, Aberg K, Bukszár J, Khachane AN, Keefe RSE, Perkins DO, McEvoy J, Stroup TS, Vann RE, Beardsley PB, Lieberman JA, Sullivan PF, van den Oord EJ. (2011) Genome-wide pharmacogenomic study of neurocognition as an indicator of antipsychotic treatment response in schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology 36 (3): 616-626
    • McClay JL, Adkins DE, Vunck SA, Batman AM, Vann RE, Clark SL, Beardsley PM, van den Oord EJ. (2013) Large-scale neurochemical metabolomics analysis identifies multiple compounds associated with methamphetamine exposure. Metabolomics 9 (2): 392-402
    • McClay JL, Aberg KA, Clark SL, Nerella S, Kumar G, Xie LY, Hudson AD, Harada A, Hultman CM, Magnusson PKE, Sullivan PF, van den Oord EJ. (2014) A methylome-wide study of aging using massively parallel sequencing of the methyl-CpG enriched genomic fraction from blood in over 700 subjects. Human Molecular Genetics 23 (5) 1175-1185
    • McClay JL, Vunck SA, Batman AM, Crowley JJ, Vann RE, Beardsley PM, van den Oord EJ. (2015) Neurochemical metabolomics reveals disruption to sphingolipid metabolism following chronic haloperidol administration. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology 10 (3): 425-434
    • McClay JL, Shabalin AA, Dozmorov MG, Adkins DE, Kumar G, Nerella S, Clark SL, Bergen SE, Swedish Schizophrenia Consortium, Hultman CM, Magnusson PKE, Sullivan PF, Aberg KA, van den Oord EJ. (2015) High density methylation QTL analysis in human blood via next-generation sequencing of the methylated genomic DNA fraction. Genome Biology 16 (1): 291
    • Enga RM, Rice AC, Weller P, Subler M, Lee D, Hall CP, Windle JJ, Beardsley PM, van den Oord EJ, McClay JL. (2017) Initial characterization of behavior and ketamine response in a mouse knockout of the post-synaptic effector gene Anks1b. Neuroscience Letters 641:26-32
    • Kronfol MM, Dozmorov MG, Huang R, Slattum PW, McClay JL (2017) The role of epigenomics in personalized medicine. Expert Review in Precision Medicine and Drug Development (In Press)