VCU, Swedish Study Finds Resilience Protects Against Risk for Developing Alcohol Use Disorders

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Resilience considerably reduces risk for developing alcohol use disorders, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

Substantial literature from the past few decades has investigated personality traits that are influential in the development of alcohol use disorders, but little attention has been paid to protective traits that guard against it.

“Studying protective factors rather than just what makes people at risk for something can inform prevention studies,” said first author Elizabeth ...

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Featured Student: Cassie Overstreet

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Cassie Overstreet is a fifth-year student in Clinical Psychology. Prior to graduate school, Cassie’s research as an undergraduate at Auburn University and in the post-baccalaureate program at the National Institute of Mental Health focused on the relationship between trauma exposure and psychopathology on a phenotypic level. Subsequently, she became interested in the factors contributing to psychopathology from a more comprehensive view (e.g., genetic influences), which led her to Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics during her graduate studies. ...

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Methodological Development And Statistical Genetics

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Dr. Silviu-Alin Bacanu, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in psychiatric genetics began while he was completing his PhD in statistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Upon graduating, he pursued these interests by working in psychiatric genetics research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for several years, where he worked with on a variety of phenotypes, including schizophrenia, eating disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. Subsequently, he obtained a research position at ...

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Featured Student: Elizabeth Do

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Elizabeth Do is a fifth-year student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics PhD program. Prior to her training at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Elizabeth earned her Bachelors of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and her Master of Public Health from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her desire to learn more about both the genetic and environmental factors contributing to mental health disorders led her to pursue doctoral studies at ...

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Personal Experience Leads To Career In Anxiety Disorders

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Dr. John “Jack” Hettema, MD., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Director of the VCU Anxiety Disorders Specialty Clinic. Dr. Hettema has a PhD in physics, but a series of personal experiences with several close friends suffering from severe depression during his physics post-doctoral fellowship period ignited his interest in psychiatry. This interest sparked a career change, and he entered medical school at the Medical College of Virginia in 1992. During the summer of his first ...

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Featured Postdoc: Anna Docherty, Ph.D.

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Anna Docherty, Ph.D. recently completed her postdoc training at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. In two years at VIPBG, she secured an NIMH K01 and NARSAD Young Investigator Award to study the molecular genetics of schizophrenia and schizotypy, and published several papers using both biometrical and molecular genetics approaches. She just began a tenure-track professorship in Psychiatry and Human Genetics at the University of Utah, and her work dovetails extremely well with the Utah ...

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The Genetic Underpinnings Of PTSD And Stress-Related Drinking

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Dr. Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Human and Molecular Genetics. Her interests in the field of psychiatric genetics began when she worked as a research assistant during her undergraduate years. While coding archived assessments of women with borderline personality disorder, she was struck by the number of these women who had a history of trauma. These experiences launched her interest in traumatic stress psychopathology and her desire to fully understand the ...

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