18 March 2021

Identifying Biotypes for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for the First Time

Researcher to Watch: Ruoting Yang, PhD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) impacts many veterans and soldiers, but diagnosis can be problematic due to the reliance on self-reporting of patient symptoms, stigma within military populations, and other limitations identifying those at risk. It has been a major priority of the Department of Defense to identify objective biological markers to aid and increase diagnostic and prognostic accuracy.

Geneva Scientist Dr. Ruoting Yang first-authored a manuscript published in Molecular Psychiatry on biotypes for PTSD, the first of their kind of any psychological disorder. Dr. Yang is a Computational Biologist, specializing in artificial intelligence, software, and biomarker research.

Dr. Yang is part of a group of researchers from the PTSD Systems Biology Consortium, a network of world-renowned scientists from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), Harvard, New York University (NYU), University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Institute for Systems Biology, and Mount Sinai Hospital, who are devoted to identifying biomarkers for PTSD. In a manuscript published recently titled “Epigenetic biotypes of post-traumatic stress disorder in war-zone exposed veteran and active duty males,” researchers used blood tests from male, combat-exposed veterans over a period of three years to identify two distinct biotypes which had differing genetic markers.

“Drawing from a systems science background, my research in systems biology starts with developing statistical inference between molecular big data and clinical evaluations, and then utilizes them to construct mathematical models that identify inherent differences among patients,” said Dr. Yang. “Finally, I apply artificial intelligence to extract essential information and construct a practical marker panel to predict distinct phenotypes of a complex psychological disorder using whole blood.”

According to a recent news release published by WRAIR, “future studies are planned to incorporate biotyping into clinical trials for PTSD therapeutics currently in development.”

Dr. Yang holds a doctorate degree in Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, and two master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Control Theory. Dr. Yang is also the co-founder of Nanobiofab, using their patented nanotechnololgy platform to develop wearable, intelligent, nanotech-based healthcare and medical devices to provide accurate, real-time data using the body’s own skin vapor-print.


Disclaimer: The views expressed do not reflect the official policy of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.