Personal Experience Leads To Career In Anxiety Disorders

Dr. John “Jack” Hettema, MD., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Director of the VCU Anxiety Disorders Specialty Clinic. Dr. Hettema has a PhD in physics, but a series of personal experiences with several close friends suffering from severe depression during his physics post-doctoral fellowship period ignited his interest in psychiatry. This interest sparked a career change, and he entered medical school at the Medical College of Virginia in 1992. During the summer of his first ...

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Featured Postdoc: Anna Docherty, Ph.D.

Anna Docherty, Ph.D. recently completed her postdoc training at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. In two years at VIPBG, she secured an NIMH K01 and NARSAD Young Investigator Award to study the molecular genetics of schizophrenia and schizotypy, and published several papers using both biometrical and molecular genetics approaches. She just began a tenure-track professorship in Psychiatry and Human Genetics at the University of Utah, and her work dovetails extremely well with the Utah ...

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The Genetic Underpinnings Of PTSD And Stress-Related Drinking

Dr. Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Human and Molecular Genetics. Her interests in the field of psychiatric genetics began when she worked as a research assistant during her undergraduate years. While coding archived assessments of women with borderline personality disorder, she was struck by the number of these women who had a history of trauma. These experiences launched her interest in traumatic stress psychopathology and her desire to fully understand the ...

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VCU, Swedish Study Finds Marriage Protects Against Risk For Developing Alcohol Use Disorders

Marriage is causally related to a significant reduction in risk for development of alcohol use disorders, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

The study, which is titled, “Effect of Marriage on Risk for Onset of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Longitudinal and Co-Relative Analysis in a Swedish National Sample,” scientifically confirms the common observation that alcoholism is bad for marriages and that marriage might help ...

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Whole Genome Sequencing In Multiplex Families

Brien Riley, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. He is a molecular geneticist interested in identifying genes that contribute to variation in the brain, central nervous system function, and psychiatric illness risk and behavior. These interests developed after he completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology, as a result of his dissatisfaction with the field’s way of approaching brain function and dysfunction. He was frustrated “because the field of psychology did not, and mostly still ...

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Featured Postdoc: Robert Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

Robert Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. He first became interested in the field of psychiatric and behavioral genetics while earning his undergraduate degree at Goucher College, where he was intrigued by individual differences in cognitive ability. These interests led him to earn his PhD in personality, individual differences, and behavioral genetics at the University of Minnesota. During his time there, he developed a strong interest in methodology. Therefore, upon ...

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VCU, Swedish Study Finds Schizophrenia Risk Better Predicted By Deviation In Intelligence From Family

The degree to which an individual deviates in intelligence from their family is a more accurate predictor of schizophrenia development than the individual’s intelligence alone, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

The study confronts the conventional wisdom that low intelligence alone is a sufficient risk factor for schizophrenia development, going further to say that the risk for schizophrenia development is more accurately indexed by the degree to which ...

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