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 population registries and found that people who ...

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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, with a ...

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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 supposed to be ...

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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 affect and research ...

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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 in painted turtles. ...

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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 light of a lot of things that ...

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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 program has been ...

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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 themselves and the university through their ...

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Advanced Genetic Epidemiology Statistical Workshop – Oct. 23-27, 2017

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 genetic epidemiological and genomic/genotype-based studies, multivariate, longitudinal and causal modeling, statistical & optimization issues and related topics. 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 faculty.

There will be over 20 professional ...

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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.

Dr. Kendler’s ...

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