Kenneth Kendler received his medical and psychiatric training at Stanford and Yale University, respectively. Since 1983, he has been engaged in studies of the genetics of psychiatric and substance use disorders, including schizophrenia, major depression, alcoholism, personality disorders and drug abuse and dependence. He has utilized methods ranging from family studies, to large-sample population-based twin and adoption studies, to molecular genetic studies including linkage, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and whole-genome sequencing aimed at identifying specific genes that influence the vulnerability to schizophrenia, alcoholism, depression, personality disorders and nicotine dependence. Data collection for these studies has been completed in Virginia, Ireland, England, China, Norway, Finland and Sweden with new projects underway in South Korea and the Netherlands.
Kendler has published over 1,200 articles, has received a number of national and international awards for his work, is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and is editor of Psychological Medicine. He has been actively involved in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-III-R, DSM-IV and DSM-5, where he chaired the Scientific Review Committee. He is currently vice-chair of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) DSM Steering Committee. Since 1996, Kendler has served as director of the Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. His scientific work has been cited over 200,000 times.