Featured Postdoc: Eva Lancaster

Eva Lancaster is a post-doctoral fellow at VIPBG and an alumnus of the Quantitative Human Genetics PhD program at the VCU School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Mary Washington. During her time in graduate school, Eva worked in the labs of Drs. Roxann Roberson-Nay and Timothy York. Her dissertation concentrated on bolstering the interpretability and underlying methodology of DNA methylation studies, and she ...

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Featured Student: Mallory Stephenson

Mallory is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Integrative Life Sciences – Behavioral & Statistical Genetics program at VIPBG. She works in the lab of Dr. Alexis Edwards, whose research focuses on the genetic aspects of internalizing and substance use disorders. Mallory traces her love of science back to her grade school days in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia, where she attended a science and technology-focused magnet school. She was involved in both psychology ...

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The 2022 VIPBG Excellence Awards Announced

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics pre- and post-doc awards were announced on December 15, 2022. 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 Mohammad Ahangari, who received the Kenneth ...

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Evaluating the role of common risk variation in the recurrence risk of schizophrenia in multiplex schizophrenia families

Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a severe, clinically heterogeneous psychiatric disorder with a population prevalence of ~1% [1]. Twin, family, and adoption studies consistently show a strong genetic component, with heritability estimates of around 0.75–0.80 [2,3,4,5,6], and family history (FH) remains the strongest risk factor for developing SCZ [7]. Despite high heritability, ~2/3 of SCZ cases report no FH of psychotic illness, and most subjects with a positive FH (FH+) report only a single affected relative [8, 9], concordant with the rates ...

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Genome-wide analysis of schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis identifies shared genomic loci with mixed direction of effects

In the last decade, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a large number of common genetic risk variants associated with complex human phenotypes (Visscher et al., 2017). Many genetic variants identified by GWAS exhibit varying degrees of genetic pleiotropy (Solovieff et al., 2013), and investigating the nature of these shared genetic risks is important for improving our understanding of the etiology and underlying genetic architecture of complex human disorders. A widely used method for assessing the genetic relationship between two ...

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CILSE doctoral candidate awarded NIH/NIDA grant

Daniel Bustamante, a Ph.D. candidate in VCU Integrative Life Sciences doctoral program with a concentration on Behavioral & Statistical Genetics, was awarded a National Institute of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA) F31 grant.

Bustamante is the Principle Investigator studying the risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse disorder (SUD) as a result of traumatic experiences during childhood and early adolescence. The project, titled “Longitudinal neuroimaging and statistical genetics modeling of substance use and trauma-related phenotypes,” will study ...

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Featured Student: MadhurBain Singh

Madhur is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and is pursuing the quantitative genetics concentration. His academic journey so far has taken him all the way from the state of Punjab in India to Oslo, Norway to Richmond, Virginia. He holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) degree and a master’s degree in International Social and Health Policy.

Madhur shifted from his career as a clinician ...

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The 2021 VIPBG Excellence Awards Announced

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics pre- and post-doc awards were announced on December 16, 2021. 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 Terrell Hicks, who received the ...

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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 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, and psychiatry.

Currently funded research at VIPBG includes molecular-genetic studies of schizophrenia, major depression, anxiety and panic disorders, PTSD, substance use disorders ...

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Genome Comparisons Reveal DNA Risk Variants Differ in People of East Asian vs. European Ancestry

An analysis of multiple genome-wide studies making associations between depression and “risk” locations in the human genome has provided a vivid demonstration that results can vary substantially depending on the ethnicity and even country of origin of those whose genomes are being studied.

Members of the major depression working group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and an international team of researchers that included 10 recipients of BBRF grants and prizes and two BBRF Scientific Council members, Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., and ...

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