The Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics was created in 1996 bringing together two research groups who have been collaborating since the early 1980s led respectively by Lindon J. Eaves, M.D. in the Department of Human Genetics and by me in the Department of Psychiatry. Now nearly two decades later the VIPBG is a thriving, multi-disciplinary research institute devoted to understanding the etiology of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders and other major biomedical conditions with substantial behavioral components using a range of genetically informed methods.
Our faculty has expertise in all the major areas of research needed to conduct the highest quality of research in psychiatric and behavioral genetics including: i) sample collection, including ascertainment, psychiatric diagnosis and assessment and neuro-psychological endophenotype assessment; ii) statistics and statistical genetics, from genetic epidemiology to the analysis of whole genome sequence and human brain imaging data; iii) molecular genetics from single marker genotypes to genome-wide datasets; iv) bioinformatics ranging from annotation and functional prediction to the use of “omics’ datasets to inform genome-wide analyses. VIPBG faculty have substantial levels of funding from a range of NIH institutes and private foundations as well as a wide array of national and international collaborations with academic and other centers in Australia, China, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Belgium.
VIPBG has trained over 140 pre- and post-doctoral students over the past decade. We have our own PhD program in Psychiatric, Behavioral and Statistical Genetics with 8 current students and we also hold two training grants from the National Institutes of Mental Health and Drug Abuse, supporting 6 pre-doctoral and 6 post-doctoral researchers. VIPBG is a world center for training in statistical methods for the analysis of genetic data, and our graduates now occupy positions at prestigious institutions including the Broad Institute, the Karolinska Institute, Columbia University, Baylor University, the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, Washington University St. Louis, University of Southern California, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.
The VIPBG is an exciting, highly collaborative research environment with a strong record of funding, research and training. We focus on some of the most challenging and important problems in all of bio-medicine, and we have contributed some of the most important findings in psychiatric and behavioral genetics in our >20 year history. We look forward to future successes with new projects, faculty, trainees and collaborations.