VIPBG News

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 ...

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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 ...

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AYATS Seeks to Identify Risk for Internalizing Disorders

Dr. Roxann Roberson-Nay, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Her background is in clinical psychology and she came to be interested in psychiatric genetics while she was working as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Pine. Her goal was to combine her clinical background with neuroimaging and genetics. Upon arrival at the VCU Virginia Treatment Center for Children in 2005, she wrote and ...

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Featured Postdoc: Roseann Peterson, Ph.D.

Dr. Roseann Peterson, Ph.D. is a senior post-doctoral fellow at Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. Her interests in genetics began during her childhood. A deep curiosity about the natural world, first realized as a child during trips to her grandparents’ farm, led her to major in biology at the University of Minnesota (U of MN). During this time, she studied psychology as a second major. These interests converged when she took a behavioral genetics class ...

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Is love really like a drug? VCU course examines science behind media portrayals of romance and substance abuse

As part of a new course at Virginia Commonwealth University, students have authored papers analyzing pop songs — “Your Love is my Drug” by Kesha, “Drunk on a Plane” by Dierks Bentley, and Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Want a New Drug” among them — that deal with themes and metaphors related to romantic relationships and drug and alcohol abuse.

“I analyzed Justin Timberlake’s ‘Pusher Love Girl,’” said Ashley Stewart, a senior in the Department of Psychology in the College ...

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VCU, Swedish study finds divorce increases risk for developing alcohol use disorders

Divorce is causally related to a significant increase 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, titled “Divorce and the Onset of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Swedish Population-Based Longitudinal Cohort and Co-Relative Study,” was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on Jan. 20. It found strong causal associations between divorce and the subsequent onset of alcohol use disorder, with ...

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Study investigates genetic, environmental factors in alcohol use disorder and divorce

Alcohol use disorder and divorce are strongly correlated, meaning that experiencing one makes it more likely to experience the other in one’s lifetime, according to a new study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The study, “Alcohol use disorder and divorce: Evidence for a genetic correlation in a population-based Swedish sample,” will appear in the journal Addiction, published by the Society for the Study of Addiction. The study was published online at onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.13719/abstract.

Previous research has shown that alcohol ...

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The 2016 VIPBG Excellence Awards Announced

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics pre- and post-doc awards were announced on December 15, 2016 and presented by Drs. Brien Riley, Ph.D. and Hermine Maes, Ph.D.

Graduate student Megan Cooke was presented with the Kenneth S. Kendler Award for Excellence in Pre-Doctoral Research and post-doc Roseann Peterson received the Lindon Eaves Post-Doctoral Award.

These awards are given annually by VIPBG faculty to one outstanding pre- and post-doc ...

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VCU, Swedish study finds resilience protects against risk for developing alcohol use disorders

Resilience considerably reduces risk for developing alcohol use disorders, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

Substantial literature from the past few decades has investigated personality traits that are influential in the development of alcohol use disorders, but little attention has been paid to protective traits that guard against it.

“Studying protective factors rather than just what makes people at risk for something can inform prevention studies,” said first author ...

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Featured Student: Cassie Overstreet

Cassie Overstreet is a fifth-year student in Clinical Psychology. Prior to graduate school, Cassie’s research as an undergraduate at Auburn University and in the post-baccalaureate program at the National Institute of Mental Health focused on the relationship between trauma exposure and psychopathology on a phenotypic level. Subsequently, she became interested in the factors contributing to psychopathology from a more comprehensive view (e.g., genetic influences), which led her to Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics during her ...

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