Dr Haroon Sheikh

Dr Haroon Sheikh

Assistant Professor

PhD Molecular Genetics (University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada)
MSc Human Genetics (University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada)
BSc Cell & Molecular Biology (University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada)
Postdoctoral Fellowship: Psychiatric Genetics & Bioinformatics at The Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Funded by the Canadian Health Research Institutes Postdoc Fellowship Program
Room # 344, Armacost Science Building
Ext: 609

Over 15 years of research & teaching experience in some of North Americas top research universities and recipient of numerous prestigious academic awards during graduate and postdoctoral training. Continuing research interests include molecular genetics of the physiological stress (HPA axis) stress response in early childhood and investigating early childhood neurodevelopmental risk for mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. Additional research experience also included forensic DNA work in trace and touch DNA analysis, infection and immunity work in biohazard level 4 containment and biosafety procedure development. Over 32 publications (over 750 citations and h-index of 15) in some of the fields top peer-reviewed journals.

Research interests: Molecular genetics, Epigenetics, Child brain development, Gene-environment interactions and neurodevelopmental risk, Structural and functional imaging, Bioinformatics, Psychiatric genetics, next generation sequencing.

Potential graduate students interested in pursuing MPhil or DPhil training in neurogenetics, bioinformatics and human molecular genetics are encouraged to email their CV.**

Ad-hoc reviewer: American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, BMC Neuroscience, Emotions, Genes, Brain, & Behavior, Journal of Affective Disorders, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Journal of Psychological Science, Neuroscience, Neuroscience Letters, PLoS ONE, Psychiatric Genetics, Psychiatry Research, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.

Published and In-Press Manuscripts:

  • Ali, O.M., Sheikh, H.I., Vandermeer, M.R.J., Joanisse, M.F., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P. (2019) Girls’ Internalizing Symptoms and White Matter Tracts in Cortico-Limbic Circuitry. Neuroimaging: Clinical
  • Daoust, A., Thakur, A., Sheikh, H.I., Kleiber, M.L., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E. P. (2018). Associations between children’s telomere length and vulnerabilities in the early environment. Comprehensive Psychiatry 87:161-170.
  • Vandermeer, M.R.J., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M., Klein, D.N., Olino, T.M., Dyson, M.W., Bufferd, S.J., Hayden, E.P. (2018) The BDNF gene val66met polymorphism and behavioural inhibition in early childhood. Social Development 27:543–554.
  • Meyer, A., Klein, D.N., Hayden, E.P., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M. Hajcak, G. (2018) A genetic variant BDNF polymorphism interacts with hostile parenting to predict error-related brain activity and thereby risk for internalizing disorders in children. Development & Psychopathology 30:125:145.
  • Sheikh, H.I., Hayden, E.P., Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., & Singh, S.M. (2017) Catechol-O-Methyltransferase gene (val158met) polymorphisms and anxiety symptoms in early childhood: The role of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity and stress. Neuroscience Letters Oct 17;659:86-91.
  • Kopala-Sibley, D.C., Hayden, E.P., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M., Kryski, K.R., Klein, D.N. (2017) Gene-environment correlations in the cross-generational transmission of parenting: The moderating role of children’s 5-HTTLPR genotype. Social Development 26:724-739.
  • Kotelnikova, Y., Sheikh, H.I., LeMoult, J., Mackrell, S.V.M., Singh, S. M., Joormann, J., Gotlib, H.I, & Hayden, E.P. (2016). The serotonin transporter promoter variant, stress, and attentional biases in middle childhood. Personality and Individual Differences. 101:371-379.
  • Johnson, V.C., Sheikh, H.I., Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P. (2016) The Serotonin Transporter Promoter Polymorphism Moderates the Stability of Behavioural Inhibition in Early Childhood. Development & Psychopathology 28(4pt1):1103-1116.
  • Ouellette, S.J., Russell, E., Kryski, K.R., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M., Koren, G., Hayden, E.P. (2015) Hair cortisol concentrations in low- and high-stress mother-daughter dyads: A pilot study of associations and moderators. Developmental Psychobiology: 57:519-34.
  • Sheikh, H.I., Joanisse, M.F., Mackrell, S.M., Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P. (2014) Links between white matter microstructure and cortisol reactivity to stress in early childhood: Evidence for moderation by parenting. Neuroimage 6:77-85.
  • Hayden, E.P., Hankin, B.L., Mackrell, S.V.M., Sheikh. H.I., Jordan, P.J., Dozois, D.J.A., Singh, S.M., Olino, T.M., Watamura, S.E., & Badanes, L.S. (2014). Parental depression and child cognitive vulnerability predict children’s cortisol reactivity. Development & Psychopathology 26:1445-60.
  • Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P. (2014) Evidence for evocative gene-environment correlation between child oxytocin receptor (OXTR) genotype and caregiver behavior. Personality & Individual Differences 64:107-110.
  • Mackrell, S.V.M., Sheikh, H.I., Kotelnikova, Y., Jordan, P.L., Singh, S.M., & Hayden, E.P. (2014). Child temperament and parental history of internalizing disorders: Associations with HPA axis reactivity in middle childhood. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 123:106-16.
  • Sheikh, H.I., Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., Hayden, E.P. Singh, S.M. (2013) Catechol-O- Methyltransferase gene val158met polymorphism and depressive symptoms during early childhood. American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics. 162B(3):245-52.
  • Smith, H.J., Kryski, K.R., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P. (2013). The role of positive parenting and children’s dopamine D4 receptor variation in predicting effortful control. Developmental Science 16:515-30.
  • Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P. (2013). HPA Axis reactivity to social evaluation in early childhood: Associations with symptoms and moderation by sex. Psychoneuroendocrinology 38:2327-36.
  • Hayden, E.P., Olino, T.M., Bufferd, S.J., Miller, A., Klein, D.N., Dougherty, L.R., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M. (2013) The 5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met polymorphisms and maternal history of depression: Associations with cognitive vulnerability to depression in childhood. Development & Psychopathology 25:163-73.
  • Sheikh, H.I., Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., Hayden, E.P. Singh, S.M. (2013) Corticotrophin-releasing hormone system polymorphisms are associated with children’s cortisol reactivity. Neuroscience 29:1-11.
  • Hayden, E.P., Sheikh, H.I., Hanna, B., Laptook, R.S., Kim, J., Singh, S.M., Klein, D.N. (2013) Child dopamine transporter genotype and parenting: Evidence for evocative gene-environment correlations. Developmental Psychopathology 25:163–173.
  • Meyer, A., Klein, D.N., Torpey, D.C., Kujawa, A.J., Hayden, E.P., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M. Hajcak, G. (2012) Additive effects of the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) and dopamine transporter (DAT1) gene on the error-related negativity (ERN) in young children. Genes, Brain and Behavior 11:695-703.
  • Smith, H.J., Sheikh, H.I., Dyson, M.W., Olino, T.M., Laptook, R.S., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P., Klein, D.N. (2012) The Interaction of Parenting and Child DRD4 Genotype in Predicting Early Emerging Effortful Control. Child Development 83:1932-44.
  • Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., Sheikh, H.I., Singh, S.M., Hayden, E.P. (2011) Assessing stress reactivity indexed via salivary cortisol in preschool-aged children. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36:1127-1136.
  • Martins, A., Sheikh, H.I., Kim, S.O. (2011) G-CSF preferentially produced in response to Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 modulates Th1-directing responses in dendritic cells. Journal Leukocyte Biology 89:907-915.
  • Sheikh, H.I., Dougherty, L.R., Hayden, E.P., Klein, D.N., & Singh, S. (2010) Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor gene polymorphism (Leu260Phe) is associated with morning cortisol in preschoolers. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 34:980-3.
  • Hayden, E.P., Klein, D.N., Dougherty, L.R., Olino, T.M., Durbin, C.E., Sheikh, H.I., & Singh, S. (2010) The Role of BDNF genotype, parental depression, and relationship discord in predicting early emerging negative emotionality. Psychological Science 21:1678-85.
  • Sheikh, H.I., Hayden, E.P., Kryski, K.R., Smith, H.J., & Singh, S. (2010) Genotyping the BDNF rs6265 (val66met) polymorphism by one-step Amplified Refractory Mutation System PCR. Psychiatric Genetics 20:109-112.
  • Hayden, E.P., Klein, D.N., Dougherty, L.R., Olino, T.M., Durbin, C.E., Sheikh, H.I., & Singh, S. (2010) The Dopamine D2 Receptor Gene and depressive and anxious symptoms in childhood: Associations and evidence for gene-environment correlation and gene- environment interaction. Psychiatric Genetics 20:304-10.
  • Hayden, E.P., Klein, D.N., Sheikh, H.I., Olino, T.M., Dougherty, L.R., Durbin, C.E., & Singh, S. (2010) Positive emotionality buffers the association between the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism and negative emotionality in young children. Emotions 10:696-702.
  • Sheikh, H.I., Hayden, E.P., Singh, S.M., Dougherty, L.R., Olino, T.M., Durbin, C.E., Klein DN. (2008) An examination of the association between the 5-HTT promoter region polymorphism and depressogenic attributional styles in childhood. Personality & Individual Differences 45:425-428.
  • Hayden, E.P., Dougherty, L.R., Maloney, B., Olino, T.M., Sheikh, H.I., Durbin, C.E., et al. (2008) Early-emerging cognitive vulnerability to depression and the serotonin transporter promoter region polymorphism. Journal of Affective Disorders 107:227-30.
  • Kim, S.O., Sheikh, H.I., Ha, S.D., Martins, A., Reid, G. (2006) G-CSF-mediated inhibition of JNK is a key mechanism for Lactobacillus rhamnosus-induced suppression of TNF production in macrophages. Cell Microbiology. 8:1958-71.

Honors & Awards:

  • K. Allison Research Award in Psychiatry
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
  • International Society of Psychiatric Genetics Research Award
  • John D. Detwiler Prize for Best PhD Dissertation
  • Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Life Sciences
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship for Academic Excellence
  • University of Western Ontario Graduate Teaching Award
  • Ruth Horner Arnold Research Fellowship Award
  • Lumsden Fellowship in Science
  • Ontario Mental Health Foundation Studentship Award

Current Affiliations: Society of Biological Psychiatry, International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, The American Society of Human Genetics, Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences.