William Kremenx250
Contact Information:
3350 La Jolla Village Drive
San Diego, CA 92161 (116A)


Dr. Kremen received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Boston University in 1990. He completed his Clinical Internship at Harvard Medical School where he remained as a faculty member until joining the faculty at the University of California, Davis in 1996. He has been Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) since 2003 and is a faculty member in the UCSD Stein Institute for Research on Aging and the Center for Behavioral Genomics. He is also Co-Director of the UCSD Center for Behavior Genetics of Aging, Director of the UCSD Department of Psychiatry’s Twin Research Laboratory, and a faculty member in the Neuropsychology Tract in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Kremen ranked between 8 and 12 out of 1153-1160 individuals in the years 2015-2017 for NIH funding as a principal investigator(www.brimr.org); this puts him in the top <1% for NIH funding nationwide.

Research/Clinical Interests

The major focus of Dr. Kremen’s research is the longitudinal study of cognitive and brain aging in Vietnam era Veteran twins. This work is very relevant to the substantial number of older adults in the VA system. Dr. Kremen has been PI of several large-scale NIH grants that follow these middle-aged twins into later life. These projects constitute the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA; http://www.psychiatry.ucsd.edu/research/VETSA/Pages/default.aspx). Data collection for wave 3 of the VETSA projects began in March 2016; participants in this wave are 61-71 years o1d, and over 1,000 individuals have participated in wave 3 as of April, 2018. The primary VETSA project examines cognition, personality, psychosocial factors, psychopathology, and biomedical factors in approximately 1500 twins.  Approximately 500 of these twins have undergone multi-modal (MRI), with approximately 350 having MRI data at two time points. Nearly 800 VETSA twins have also provided multiple at-home and in-lab samples of cortisol and testosterone in the VETSA Cortisol Study in order to understand the role of stress-response systems in aging. Genome-wide genotyping data are also available on VETSA twins.  A new NIA-funded grant (M. Tsuang & S. Glatt, PIs) began in 2017.  Dr. Kremen is a co-investigator on this grant, which is piggy-backed onto the primary VETSA grants.  He is also a consultant on an MVP grant (M. Logue, PI) examining genetic risk and overlap between PTSD and mild cognitive impairment.The VETSA projects constitute a unique, integrative study aimed at understanding the trajectories for successful cognitive and brain aging and for conditions such as mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and depression. Several of these conditions may be related; for example, PTSD is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and VETSA data have shown that the APOE-ε4 allele (the major Alzheimer’s risk allele) is associated with increased risk for PTSD. A unique aspect of the VETSA projects is the availability of earlier data, including data from the time of induction into the military and earlier follow-up studies. These data make it possible to follow the life course, and examine the effect of key such as combat exposure or relationship quality on long-term outcomes in terms of their genetic and environmental influences.  VETSA papers are currently under review/revision that have examined long-term outcomes of PTSD and traumatic injury on late midlife cognition, impact of PTSD symptoms on late midlife brain structure, and the impact of PTSD symptoms on late midlife relationship functioning and well-being.  The VETSA is also now providing a resource that is available to other CESAMH researchers to examine of associations among PTSD, brain, cognition, and health.

Selected Publications

  • Franz CE, Lyons ML, Kremen, W.S. (in press). Long-term influences of combat exposure and post-traumatic stress symptoms on brain structure, health, and functioning: The Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging.  In R. Spiro, R. Settersten, and C. Aldwin (Eds.), R. Long-Term Outcomes of Military Service.  American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.