The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics was established in 1996. The Institute was formed from two closely inter-related research groups who had worked together for more than a decade.
The first of these, the Psychiatric Genetics Research Program (PGRP), is directed by Kenneth Kendler, M.D., and is in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. PGRP faculty included Charlie Maclean, Ph.D., Michael Neale, Ph.D., Carol Prescott, Ph.D., among others.
The second of these groups, headed by Lindon Eaves, D.Sc., the Genetic Epidemiology Research Group (GERG), is in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, which is also in the School of Medicine at VCU. GERG faculty members included Linda Corey, Ph.D., Hermine Maes, Ph.D., Lenn Murrelle, Ph.D., and Judy Silberg, Ph.D.
Many eminent researchers in psychiatric and behavioral genetics gained experience at VCU, both before and since the establishment of VIPBG, and have gone on to head prestigious research groups since. Among those are Dr. Nick Martin, Ph.D., (QIMR), Dr. Andrew Heath, DPhil. (WUSTL), Dr. John Hewitt, Ph.D., (IBG), Patrick Sullivan, M.D. & Cindy Bulik, Ph.D. (Karolinska/Chapel Hill), Dr. Edwin van den Oord, Ph.D., Dr. Brion Maher, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins), Dr. Ayman Fanous, M.D. (UAZ), Dr. Danielle Posthuma, Ph.D. (VU), Dr. Matt Keller, Ph.D. (IBG), Dr. Meike Bartels, Ph.D. (VU), Dr. Sarah Medland, Ph.D. (QIMR), Dr. John Hettema, M.D./Ph.D. (TAMU), Dr. Danielle Dick, Ph.D. (Rutgers). VIPBG maintains strong collaborative ties with many of these renowned scientists.
Over the past 25 years, many faculty members have joined VIPBG, including Dr. Brien Riley, Ph.D., Roxanne Roberson-Nay, Ph.D., Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D., Silviu-Alin Bacanu, Ph.D., Kaitlin Bountress, Ph.D., and Tan Hoang Nguyen, Ph.D. These faculty expanded both substantive research foci and areas of methodological expertise. Others trained at VIPBG as graduate students – Timothy York, Ph.D., Roseann Peterson, Ph.D., and Dana Lapato, Ph.D. – or postdocs – Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D., Alexis Edwards, Ph.D., Ruth Brown, Ph.D., Christina Sheerin, Ph.D., Robert Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., and Amanda Gentry, Ph.D. – and have been promoted to the rank of faculty, and developed their own independent research labs.
The institute remains indebted to the vision of Dr. Lindon J Eaves, who became emeritus professor and was celebrated at a Festschrift held in Edinburg, Scotland, and who has been an inspiration to so many of us and a driving force to continue to focus on the important questions about the causes of variation in human complex traits.