Featured Faculty

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 a 2-year ...

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Combining Structural Equation Modeling With Genomic Approaches

Dr. Hermine Maes, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics. Her interest in the field began while she was finishing her undergraduate degree. She was interested in both the physiological and psychological sciences, but she could not decide between the two. Serendipitously, one day she was in the library doing research for her undergraduate thesis and a research professor engaged her about a research project looking at the role of genes and environment in physical fitness ...

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Understanding The Brain Mechanisms Involved in Alcohol Use and Misuse

Dr. Vladimir Vladimirov, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in psychiatric genetics were sparked by the clinical and behavioral complexity of psychiatric disorders and by the overwhelming number of people suffering from them. Some of Dr. Vladimirov’s closest friends suffer from major depression, alcohol use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Seeing them struggling on an everyday basis has motivated him to study these disorders on both clinical as well as genetic and ...

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AYATS Seeks to Identify Risk for Internalizing Disorders

Dr. Roxann Roberson-Nay, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Her background is in clinical psychology and she came to be interested in psychiatric genetics while she was working as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Pine. Her goal was to combine her clinical background with neuroimaging and genetics. Upon arrival at the VCU Virginia Treatment Center for Children in 2005, she wrote and ...

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Methodological Development And Statistical Genetics

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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Personal Experience Leads To Career In Anxiety Disorders

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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The Genetic Underpinnings Of PTSD And Stress-Related Drinking

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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