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 student who have demonstrated ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Methodological Development And Statistical Genetics

Silviu-Alin Bacanu, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in psychiatric genetics began while he was completing his PhD in statistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Upon graduating, he pursued these interests by working in psychiatric genetics research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for several years, where he worked with on a variety of phenotypes, including schizophrenia, eating disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. Subsequently, he ...

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Featured Student: Elizabeth Do

Elizabeth Do is a fifth-year student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics PhD program. Prior to her training at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Elizabeth earned her Bachelors of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and her Master of Public Health from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her desire to learn more about both the genetic and environmental factors contributing to mental health disorders led ...

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Personal Experience Leads To Career In Anxiety Disorders

John 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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Science says liberals, not conservatives, are psychotic

Turns out liberals are the real authoritarians.

A political-science journal that published an oft-cited study claiming conservatives were more likely to show traits associated with “psychoticism” now says it got it wrong. Very wrong.

The American Journal of Political Science published a correction this year saying that the 2012 paper has “an error” — and that liberal political beliefs, not conservative ones, are actually linked to psychoticism.

“The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive ...

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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 protect against alcohol ...

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