VCU psychiatry professor honored with prestigious award from the National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine today awarded Virginia Commonwealth University psychiatry professor Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., with the Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health in recognition of his research on the role of genes and environment in the development of psychiatric and substance use disorders.

The award was presented to the director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at the NAM’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Kendler shares the recognition with Kay ...

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VCU receives $5 million grant to study adolescent brain development

The National Institutes of Health awarded a $5 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University to take part in a landmark study on substance use and adolescent brain development. NIH’s Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study is the largest longitudinal neuroimaging study of human brain development ever launched.

The five-year grant will fund research that aims to map the neuropsychological trajectories of the developing brain. The study holds the potential to expand on current understandings of both normal and atypical ...

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Females more at genetic risk for developing insomnia than males, VCU study suggests

Genes may contribute more to the development of insomnia symptoms in females than in males, according to a new study led by a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student.

Drawing on pre-existing data from the Virginia Adult Twin Studies of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders (VATSPSUD), a large data set collected by VCU psychiatry professor Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., Mackenzie Lind found evidence that the heritability of insomnia could be higher for females than it is for males, suggesting ...

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AGES Workshop – Oct. 26-30, 2015

The Advanced Genetic Epidemiology Statistical Workshop (AGES) is designed to provide an overview of advanced statistical methodology for genetic studies of substance use and abuse phenotypes. It covers analytical methods for twin and family studies, multivariate modeling, measurement and phenotyping, development and dynamical systems, advanced variance components analysis and GxE interaction. The focus is on a hands-on approach, in which participants use their own computers to implement and experiment with statistical methods described during presentations by the ...

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Alexis Edwards Receives Student Mentor Award

Alexis Edwards, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. She has always been interested in behavior and completed her Ph.D. in Genetics, working with model systems of aggression. However, she then realized she could translate her work to human behavior. Therefore, her professional and personal passion for understanding the genetic and environmental influences on psychiatric illness led her to pursue her postdoctoral training at the ...

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VCU researchers and international partners are first to identify risk genes for clinical depression

For the first time in scientific history, researchers have identified specific genetic clues to the underlying etiology of clinical depression. The findings are the result of an international collaboration among researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Oxford and throughout China to localize risk genes for major depressive disorder.

While prior studies have failed to identify replicated evidence for molecular genetic markers that predispose to risk for the disease, the international research team, in which VCU’s Virginia ...

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Featured Student: Megan Cooke

Megan Cooke is a fourth-year student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics PhD program and is among the first cohorts in the program. She began her career in research while working in a Health Psychology lab at Furman University, where she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. Afterward, she obtained a post-baccalaureate fellowship to further her research training at the NIAAA. This experience solidified her interest in ...

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From DNA To Human Being With Lindon Eaves, Ph.D.

Lindon Eaves, D.Sc. is one of the founders of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. He is currently professor emeritus at the Institute and has played a significant part in the development and application of a variety of research designs. These include the extended kin-ships of twins and longitudinal studies of twins and their parents. He has also developed some of the first methods for the structural analysis of ...

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VCU researchers discover that schizophrenia risk is diminished by high IQ

High intelligence could protect against the development of schizophrenia in people who have a genetic predisposition for the disease, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden. The findings contradict conventional wisdom that schizophrenia and brilliance are linked.

The research provides insight into how IQ and schizophrenia interact and suggest that intelligence is an important moderator in the development of the mental disorder.

“If you’re really smart, your genes for ...

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VCU receives $1.6 million grant to study pathways that lead to substance use disorders

In one of the first projects to be funded under a partnership between the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Research Council of Norway, two Virginia Commonwealth University professors from the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG) will work with researchers at the University of Oslo to study the genetic and environmental factors in normal and abnormal personality that increase the risk of developing substance use disorders. The four-year study will also link new ...

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