Combining Structural Equation Modeling With Genomic Approaches

Hermine Maes, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics. Her interest in the field began while she was finishing her undergraduate degree. She was interested in both the physiological and psychological sciences, but she could not decide between the two. Serendipitously, one day she was in the library doing research for her undergraduate thesis and a research professor engaged her about a research project looking at the role of genes and ...

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Featured Student: Ashlee Moore

Ashlee Moore is a PhD student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics (PBSG) PhD program. Her first exposure to genetics was during a human genetics undergraduate course, where she became interested in the genetics of behavior. Accordingly, she majored in psychology with a minor in biology. As an undergraduate, she was awarded an undergraduate research grant to fund a research project that examined the relationship between polymorphisms in the COMT gene and ...

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Featured Postdoc: Christina Sheerin, Ph.D.

Christina Sheerin, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. Her interests in trauma and its sequela began while she was completing her internship at the VA hospital while completing her PhD in clinical psychology. At the VA, she was first introduced and became quite interested in trauma, PTSD, and substance use disorders. Subsequently, she completed her clinical post-doctoral fellowship also at the VA, during which she worked with ...

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Understanding The Brain Mechanisms Involved in Alcohol Use and Misuse

Vladimir Vladimirov, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in psychiatric genetics were sparked by the clinical and behavioral complexity of psychiatric disorders and by the overwhelming number of people suffering from them. Some of Dr. Vladimirov’s closest friends suffer from major depression, alcohol use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Seeing them struggling on an everyday basis has motivated him to study these disorders on both clinical as ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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AYATS Seeks to Identify Risk for Internalizing Disorders

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 ...

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Featured Postdoc: Roseann Peterson, Ph.D.

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 ...

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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 the rates ...

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