Students

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. Here, she ...

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Featured Student: Ashlee Moore

Ashlee Moore is a PhD student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics (PBSG) PhD program. Her first exposure to genetics was during a human genetics undergraduate course, where she became interested in the genetics of behavior. Accordingly, she majored in psychology with a minor in biology. As an undergraduate, she was awarded an undergraduate research grant to fund a research project that examined the relationship between polymorphisms in the COMT gene and sensation seeking. This work led ...

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Featured Student: Jessica Bourdon

Jessica Bourdon is a student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics (PBSG) PhD program. Her interest in psychiatric genetics began as an undergraduate student at the University of Richmond when she was exposed to the classic nature vs. nurture debate in her psychology classes. As an undergraduate, she also obtained research experience by working in a cognitive neuroscience lab that examined the nuances of visual expertise and perception. After subsequently working for a few years at VCU ...

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Featured Student: Elizabeth Long

Elizabeth Long is a student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics (PBSG) PhD program. Her interest in psychiatric genetics began as an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. While she has always been interested in psychology and individual differences, she became fascinated by the study of underlying biological influences on behavior when she took a class, “Drugs and Behavior.” Upon graduation, she obtained a full-time position as a research specialist working for a research program that ...

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The 2016 VIPBG Excellence Awards Announced

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics pre- and post-doc awards were announced on December 15, 2016 and presented by Drs. Brien Riley, Ph.D. and Hermine Maes, Ph.D.

Graduate student Megan Cooke was presented with the Kenneth S. Kendler Award for Excellence in Pre-Doctoral Research and post-doc Roseann Peterson received the Lindon Eaves Post-Doctoral Award.

These awards are given annually by VIPBG faculty to one outstanding pre- and post-doc student who have demonstrated excellence. The recipient must ...

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

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

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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