VIPBG News

How virtual reality may help explore the role of fear in youth at risk for violence and crime

Conduct disorder — often characterized by aggression, theft, vandalism, violations of rules and lying — is one of the most prevalent and debilitating psychiatric disorders that emerges during childhood and adolescence.

There is a subgroup of those with conduct disorder who are more likely to engage in chronic violence and criminal behavior. These individuals display severe behavioral and personality symptoms, called callous-unemotional traits, that include callousness toward others, lack of empathy or guilt for their harmful behaviors, and shallow or diminished emotional ...

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Cracking the code for resilience

Given current events ranging from the ongoing pandemic to giant wildfires and powerful hurricanes, it’s not surprising that many people find their emotional reserves are depleted. Statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms in the first half of 2019.

Such trends are concerning. They also illustrate just how different individuals’ responses to stress ...

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Network Psychometrics Workshop – June 18-20, 2019

The workshop starts with a conceptual introduction on why items in psychological data tend to co-occur, and what this implies about the constructs such as mental disorders, cognitive abilities, personality, and attitudes. This is followed by an introduction to social and psychological network models; an overview of the network literature in psychopathology (the field where network psychometric models have been used most over the last years); and a summary of important topics (centrality, comorbidity, early warning signals).

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The 2018 VIPBG Excellence Awards Announced

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics pre- and post-doc awards were announced on December 6, 2018. Annually since 2007, one predoctoral and one postdoctoral trainee are selected to receive the awards. The process requires VIPBG faculty members to first nominate exceptional trainees. The final recipients are selected after a faculty discussion and vote. These awards consist of a certificate of recognition in addition to a $500.00 gift.

This year, the awardees include Dana Lapato, who received ...

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Featured Faculty: Ruth Brown, Ph.D.

Ruth Brown, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Brown studies psychometric properties and measure development in patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Additionally, she has a background in measurement of treatment processes and outcomes of psychosocial treatments. She first became involved in this field while completing the clinical portion of her Ph.D. at a residential center serving people with IDD. During this time, ...

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Dr. Roberson-Nay accepts assistant dean appointment for Graduate Recruitment and Admissions

Roxann Roberson-Nay, Ph.D. has accepted the appointment as assistant dean for Graduate Recruitment and Admissions. In this capacity, Dr. Roberson-Nay will coordinate recruitment efforts for prospective Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal students, serve as the chair of the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal Admissions Committee, oversee the first-year curriculum and help identify research mentors for Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal students during their first year of study.

While Dr. Roberson-Nay is new this position, she has been on faculty in the ...

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Featured Student: Dana Lapato

Dana Lapato is a Ph.D. candidate in the Human Genetics program at VCU with a concentration in quantitative analysis. Her interest in the field started with a love of math at young age that continued throughout her primary education. Over time, however, Ms. Lapato began to feel that math was a bit too abstract and gravitated toward genetics as her preferred subject matter. To her, genetics felt like a lovely marriage of math to complex, real-world problems. While her ...

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Featured Faculty: Timothy York, Ph.D.

Timothy York, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics and a faculty member of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University. A self-proclaimed “poster child” for VIPBG and the School of Medicine as a whole, Dr. York obtained his Ph.D. in human genetics at VCU followed by postdoctoral positions at the Massey Cancer Center and the Department of Psychiatry before being awarded a faculty position in the Department of Human and ...

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Postdoctoral Training in Psychiatric and Statistical Genetics

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics is pleased to invite applications for postdoctoral training with a focus in on mental health. The Institute offers a rich interdisciplinary training environment. Institute faculty include leaders in the fields of behavioral and psychiatric genetics and represent a wide range of scientific backgrounds from molecular and statistical genetics to epidemiology, psychology, psychiatry.

Currently funded research at VIPBG includes molecular-genetic studies of schizophrenia, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, alcoholism, cannabis and nicotine dependence. VCU’s ...

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Featured Postdoc: Joshua Pritikin, Ph.D.

Josh Pritikin, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, working with Dr. Michael Neale, Ph.D. His primary research interest and background is in software development. At VIPBG, Dr. Pritikin helps to improve OpenMx. This started when he was a graduate student studying quantitative psychology at the University of Virginia. A current project of his specifically focuses on how to run structural equation modeling ...

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