Featured Student: Kristin Mignogna

Kristin Mignogna is a PhD student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics (PBSG) program. Her interests in psychiatric genetics began as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, where she majored in biology and psychology. Although she was initially interested in physiology and anatomy, she discovered that she was actually more passionate about genetics during an introductory biology course. Therefore, upon graduation, she was searching for graduate programs that integrated both genetics and psychology, and ...

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Genetic Overlap Between Major Depression and Obesity In Some Patients

Patients with major depressive disorder who experience increases in appetite, weight, or both have a higher genetic risk for obesity-related traits such as high body-mass index (BMI) and elevated levels of leptin and inflammation, researchers suggest.

As clinicians, we are well aware that depression is highly heterogeneous, and patients with the same diagnosis of major depressive disorder may present with very different symptom profiles,” Dr. Yuri Milaneschi of VU University Medical Center Amsterdam in the Netherlands told Reuters Health.

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Why Does Divorce Run In Families? The Answer May Be Genetics

Children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced when compared to those who grew up in two-parent families — and genetic factors are the primary explanation, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

Genetics, the Rearing Environment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Swedish National Adoption Study,” which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, analyzed Swedish population registries and found that people who ...

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Visiting Professor Asks Whether Or Not Research Methods Are Correct

Dr. Jan-Willem Romeijn, Ph.D. visited Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics in late August 2017 from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. His broad area of study is the philosophy of science, specifically focusing on probability theory and the scientific method. Dr. Romeijn emphasizes the need for researchers to approach questions from a fundamental perspective. Thus, a key fundamental question for him is whether or not research methods are correct, with a key application being ...

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Featured Faculty: Dr. Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D.

Dr. Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in behavioral genetics began as an undergraduate majoring in psychology, where he became fascinated by Hans Eyesenck’s research on the genetics of personality. This interest led him to pursue a PhD in behavior genetics at University of Queensland, working with Dr. Nick Martin. Upon completing his degree, he moved to the United States for what was supposed to be ...

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Featured Postdoc: Lance Rappaport, Ph.D.

Lance Rappaport, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. He first became interested in the field of behavioral genetics while earning his undergraduate degree in psychology at New York University, where he also studied child and adolescent mental health in the Child Study Center. At NYU, he was exposed to faculty interested in child development and daily diary research, which fueled his interests in affect and research methodology. These interests ...

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Featured Student: Chelsea Sawyers

Chelsea Sawyers Rooney is a PhD student in Human and Molecular Genetics with a concentration in quantitative genetics. She has been interested broadly in the field of genetics since middle school, and became interested in psychology during high school. Naturally, these interests led her to double-major in psychology and genetics at Iowa State University. As an undergraduate, she worked in an evolutionary biology lab that studied the heritability of mating behaviors in painted turtles. ...

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