Brain Structure, Function & Human Development

Michael Neale, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry, Human and Molecular Genetics, and Psychology, as well as associate director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. His career in the field of psychiatric genetics started as an interest in psychology and neuroscience, which developed during his formative adolescent years after reading Jeffrey Gray’s The Psychology of Fear and Stress. Subsequently, he earned both his Bachelor’s and PhD degrees in psychology at the University at London, where he was exposed to research involving individual differences, animal behavior, statistics, and neuroscience. Following this, he obtained a research lecturer position at the King’s College in London, working with David Fulker and Hans Eysenck. Here, he developed software for data from twins and their parents, and computerized the twin registry, launching his current interests in statistical methods.

We have no money so we shall have to think.

Lord Ernest Rutherford

Dr. Neale’s primary research interests are the development and application of statistical methods for the analysis of genetically informative data. During the 1990s, he developed the software program, classic Mx, which is used for fitting structural equation and other models to different types of data. More recently, Dr. Neale and colleagues rewrote classic Mx as the widely used OpenMx R package. His other research interests include drug use and abuse, psychiatric disorders, brain structure and function, and human development across the lifespan. He was recently awarded a large grant from the National Institute of Health to study adolescent brain development.

When he is not working, Dr. Neale enjoys skiing with his family, running, photography, and reading.


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