Featured Student: Kristin Mignogna

Kristin Mignogna is a PhD student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics (PBSG) program. Her interests in psychiatric genetics began as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, where she majored in biology and psychology. Although she was initially interested in physiology and anatomy, she discovered that she was actually more passionate about genetics during an introductory biology course. Therefore, upon graduation, she was searching for graduate programs that ...

Genetic overlap between major depression and obesity in some patients

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Patients with major depressive disorder who experience increases in appetite, weight, or both have a higher genetic risk for obesity-related traits such as high body-mass index (BMI) and elevated levels of leptin and inflammation, researchers suggest.

“As clinicians, we are well aware that depression is highly heterogeneous, and patients with the same diagnosis of major depressive disorder may present with very different symptom profiles,” Dr. Yuri Milaneschi of VU University Medical Center Amsterdam ...

Why does divorce run in families? The answer may be genetics

Children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced when compared to those who grew up in two-parent families — and genetic factors are the primary explanation, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

“Genetics, the Rearing Environment, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Swedish National Adoption Study,” which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, analyzed Swedish ...

Visiting Professor Asks Whether Or Not Research Methods Are Correct

Dr. Jan-Willem Romeijn, Ph.D. visited Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics in late August 2017 from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. His broad area of study is the philosophy of science, specifically focusing on probability theory and the scientific method. Dr. Romeijn emphasizes the need for researchers to approach questions from a fundamental perspective. Thus, a key fundamental question for him is whether or not research methods are correct, ...

Featured Faculty: Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D.

Dr. Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in behavioral genetics began as an undergraduate majoring in psychology, where he became fascinated by Hans Eyesenck’s research on the genetics of personality. This interest led him to pursue a PhD in behavior genetics at University of Queensland, working with Dr. Nick Martin. Upon completing his degree, he moved to the United States for what was ...

Featured Postdoc: Lance Rappaport, Ph.D.

Lance Rappaport, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. He first became interested in the field of behavioral genetics while earning his undergraduate degree in psychology at New York University, where he also studied child and adolescent mental health in the Child Study Center. At NYU, he was exposed to faculty interested in child development and daily diary research, which fueled his interests in ...

Featured Student: Chelsea Sawyers

Chelsea Sawyers Rooney is a PhD student in Human and Molecular Genetics with a concentration in quantitative genetics. She has been interested broadly in the field of genetics since middle school, and became interested in psychology during high school. Naturally, these interests led her to double-major in psychology and genetics at Iowa State University. As an undergraduate, she worked in an evolutionary biology lab that studied the heritability of mating behaviors ...

VCU honors six at faculty convocation

Rao emphasizes university values at event marking the beginning of the academic year.

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, Ph.D., marked the beginning of the academic year Wednesday by recognizing distinguished faculty. First, he delivered an unwavering message about the university’s values.

“As a research university we have to continue to be mindful of the fact that we are leading in a very challenging time,” Rao said at VCU’s Opening Faculty Address and Convocation. “In ...

Michael Neale, Ph.D. Recipient of VCU Distinguished Scholarship Award

Michael Neale, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, received the Distinguished Scholarship Award. He has dedicated his research to making connections between how genetic, environmental and behavioral factors interact and contribute to illnesses such as substance abuse and psychiatric disorders.

Michael Neale created an open-source computer program widely used by researchers in modeling data to determine whether genetic variants are linked to outcome variables. The ...

University will recognize distinguished faculty at annual convocation event

Virginia Commonwealth University will recognize distinguished faculty at its 35th annual Opening Faculty Address and Convocation on Wednesday.

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and Gail Hackett, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, will preside over the ceremony, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 922 Park Ave. VCU will live stream the event online at http://go.vcu.edu/convocation.

Awards will be presented to faculty members who have distinguished ...

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