Researchers at VCU and Sweden’s Lund University Conclude Pregnancy is Powerful in Ending Drug Abuse

Researchers in Sweden and at Virginia Commonwealth University, have concluded that pregnancy can be a powerful motivator to quit drug abuse.

VCU’s Kenneth Kendler, Professor of psychiatry and first author of the study of 150 thousand women showing pregnancy played a powerful role, “The main results of this study were that rates of drug abuse declined 78% during pregnancy…similarly strong effects were found to extend after pregnancy when the women had little toddlers that they had to care for.”

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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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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 Postdoc: Christina Sheerin, Ph.D.

Dr. Christina Sheerin, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at VIPBG. Her interests in trauma and its sequela began while she was completing her internship at the VA hospital while completing her PhD in clinical psychology. At the VA, she was first introduced and became quite interested in trauma, PTSD, and substance use disorders. Subsequently, she completed her clinical post-doctoral fellowship also at the VA, during which she worked with combat-exposed veterans and noticed it was difficult to treat veterans ...

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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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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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