Howard Steiger

  • Theme-Based Group: 
    Youth Mental Health and Early Intervention
  • Division: 
    Clinical Research


Q-2109, 6603-05 Boulevard LaSalle

6875 Boulevard LaSalle
Montréal, QC 
H4H 1R3

(514) 761-6131 x2897

(514) 888-4085

Researcher, Douglas Research Centre
Head, Eating Disorders Program, Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Full Professor, Psychiatry Department, McGill University
Associate Member, Psychology Department, McGill University

Eating Disorders Program

Eating Disorders Program. 
a) Gene x environment interactions that are conducive to eating-disorder development; Genetic and epigenetic influences upon eating-disorder course. 
b) Specialized knowledge transfer through a system-wide effort to train aqnd supervise clinicans working in 1st and 2nd line services
c) Eating-disorder prevention through population level efforts to alter attitudes towards thinness and body image. 

The only organized base of clinical-research expertise on the EDs in the Province of Quebec, the Eating Disorders Program has been influential through its work on constitution–environment interactions that play in ED development. Current work emphasizes the effects of environmental exposures (developmental traumata, stressors, nutritional deficits) upon DNA methylation, and the prospective course of changes in DNA methylation coincident qwith nutritional rehabilitation in Anorexia Nervosa.
Under the auspices of the Quebec government's Secretariat de la Condition Feminine, we have been studying a population level effort to influence social values associated with body image. The project involves population-level research on the reach and social impact of a public-health movement
We have also been studying the impact of specialized knowledge transfer involving a system-wide effort to train and supervise clinicans working with eatying-disordered individuals in 1st and 2nd line services

Booij, L., Casey, K.E., Antunes, J.M., Szyf, M., Joober, R., Israël, M., & Steiger, H. (2015). DNA methylation in individuals with Anorexia Nervosa and in matched normal-eater controls: A genome-wide study. International Journal of Eating Disorders. DOI: 10.1002/eat.22374

Israel, M., Klein, M., Pruessner, J., Thaler, L., Spilka, M., Efanov, S., Ouellette, A.S., Berlim, M., Van den Eynde, F., Walker, D. & Steiger, H. (2015). N-back task performance and corresponding brain-activation patterns in women with restrictive and bulimic eating-disorder variants: Preliminary findings. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, j.pscychresns.2015.01.022i

St-Hilaire, A., Steiger, H., Aihua, L., Laplante, D., Thaler, L., Magilll, T., King, S. (2015). A prospective study of effects of prenatal maternal stress upon later eating-disorder manifestations in affected offspring: Preliminary indications based on the Project Ice Storm cohort. International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Steiger, H., Coelho, J., Thaler, L., & Van den Eynde, F. (2015). Eating Disorders. In P. Blaney, R. Krueger, & T. Millon. Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology, 3rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Thaler, L., Gauvin, L., Joober, R., Groleau, P., de Guzman, R., Ambalavanan, A., Israel, M., Samantha, W., Steiger, H. (2014). Methylation of BDNF in women with bulimic eating syndromes: Associations with childhood abuse and borderline personality disorder. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 54, 43-49.doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.04.010

Groleau, P., Joober, R., Israel, M., Zeramdini, N., DeGuzman, R., & Steiger, H. (2014). Methylation of the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene promoter in women with a bulimia-spectrum disorder: Associations with borderline personality disorder and exposure to childhood abuse. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 48, 121-127.

Strober, M., Peris, T., & Steiger, H. (2014). The plasticity of development: How knowledge of epigenetics may advance understanding of eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 696-704.
Steiger, H., Labonté, B., Groleau, P., Turecki, G., & Israel, M. (2013). Methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene promoter in bulimic women: Associations with borderline personality disorder, suicidality and exposure to childhood abuse. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46, 246-255.

Howard Steiger has been Director of the Eating Disorders Program (EDP) of the Douglas University Institute in Mental Health for the past 25 years, the only large-scale, specialized, clinical-research-teaching program focused on eating disorders in the Province of Quebec. The EDP offers a full range of Inpatient, Day Hospital/Day Program and Outpatient treatments. Steiger is an active clinician, researcher, and teacher, Full Professor in the Psychiatry Department at McGill University, Associate Member in Psychology at McGill, and Co-President of the Quebec Government’s committee to develop a “Charter for a Healthy and Diversified Body Image”. He is a past President of the Eating Disorders Research Society, Associate Editor of the International Journal of Eating Disorders and Executive-Committee member of the Academy for Eating Disorders. Steiger and colleagues have recently been studying a) Genetic and epigenetic influences upon ED development and course. b) System-wide efforts to transfer specialized knowledge on EDs to 1st and 2nd line services and to alter attitudes towards thinness at a population level.

2010 Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) Leadership Award for Clinical, Educational, and Administrative Service

President, Eating Disorders Research Society (Sept. 2007 to Sept 2008) 

Co-President, Committee to develop a charter to prevent fashion-industry inducements towards extreme thinness and Anorexia Nervosa. (2009 to present)

Associate Editor, International Journal of Eating Disorders (April 2009-December 2014)

Heinz Lehmann Award, Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (June , 2002)

Recent publications