VIPBG News

Featured Postdoc: Tim Bigdeli, Ph.D.

Tim Bigdeli, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow at Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. His interests in psychiatric genetics began while he was completing his undergraduate degree in biology, where he became fascinated by the diversity of life and how genetics can tell a story about human populations and evolution. He was then exposed to world of psychiatric genetics while he was working on his PhD in Human and Molecular Genetics, also at Virginia Commonwealth University, ...

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Student researches ‘subtle biological differences’ of addiction

Binge drinking is a growing problem in the United States, but are all problem drinkers the same? That is a question Virginia Commonwealth University student Megan Cooke hopes to answer.

Cooke has been interested in alcohol dependence and alcohol use behavior since receiving a postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award to work at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She quickly realized the importance of genetic influences in the development of addiction — “Ignoring [the genetics] would be ignoring ...

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The 2015 VIPBG Excellence Awards Announced

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics pre- and post-doc awards were announced on November 5, 2015 and presented by Drs. Roxanne Robberson-Nay, Ph.D. and Michael Neale, Ph.D.

Graduate student Jeanne Savage was presented with the Kenneth S. Kendler Award for Excellence in Pre-Doctoral Research and post-doc Robert Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. received the Lindon Eaves Post-Doctoral Award.

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

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Featured Student: Mackenzie Lind

Mackenzie Lind is a 3rd year MD/PhD student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics PhD program. Mackenzie has always been interested in the biological influences of behavior, particularly sleep and sleep problems. As an undergraduate, she pursued her interests from a neurobiological perspective, earning a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. Upon graduation, she furthered her research experience through a Fulbright Grant in Helsinki, Finland, where she studied sleep physiology. She then decided to complete the PhD ...

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VCU psychiatry professor honored with prestigious award from the National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine today awarded Virginia Commonwealth University psychiatry professor Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., with the Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health in recognition of his research on the role of genes and environment in the development of psychiatric and substance use disorders.

The award was presented to the director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at the NAM’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Kendler shares the recognition with Kay Jamison, Ph.D., ...

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VCU receives $5 million grant to study adolescent brain development

The National Institutes of Health awarded a $5 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University to take part in a landmark study on substance use and adolescent brain development. NIH’s Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study is the largest longitudinal neuroimaging study of human brain development ever launched.

The five-year grant will fund research that aims to map the neuropsychological trajectories of the developing brain. The study holds the potential to expand on current understandings of both normal and atypical brain development across human ...

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Females more at genetic risk for developing insomnia than males, VCU study suggests

Genes may contribute more to the development of insomnia symptoms in females than in males, according to a new study led by a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student.

Drawing on pre-existing data from the Virginia Adult Twin Studies of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders (VATSPSUD), a large data set collected by VCU psychiatry professor Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., Mackenzie Lind found evidence that the heritability of insomnia could be higher for females than it is for males, suggesting that genes influence ...

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