VIPBG News

AGES Workshop – Oct. 26-30, 2015

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 twin and family studies, multivariate modeling, measurement and phenotyping, development and dynamical systems, advanced variance components analysis and GxE interaction. 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 ...

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Alexis Edwards Receives Student Mentor Award

Alexis Edwards, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. She has always been interested in behavior and completed her Ph.D. in Genetics, working with model systems of aggression. However, she then realized she could translate her work to human behavior. Therefore, her professional and personal passion for understanding the genetic and environmental influences on psychiatric illness led her to pursue her postdoctoral training at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral ...

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VCU researchers and international partners are first to identify risk genes for clinical depression

For the first time in scientific history, researchers have identified specific genetic clues to the underlying etiology of clinical depression. The findings are the result of an international collaboration among researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Oxford and throughout China to localize risk genes for major depressive disorder.

While prior studies have failed to identify replicated evidence for molecular genetic markers that predispose to risk for the disease, the international research team, in which VCU’s Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral ...

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Featured Student: Megan Cooke

Megan Cooke is a fourth-year student in the Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics PhD program and is among the first cohorts in the program. She began her career in research while working in a Health Psychology lab at Furman University, where she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. Afterward, she obtained a post-baccalaureate fellowship to further her research training at the NIAAA. This experience solidified her interest in substance abuse, specifically alcohol use disorders, ...

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From DNA To Human Being With Lindon Eaves, Ph.D.

Lindon Eaves, D.Sc. is one of the founders of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. He is currently professor emeritus at the Institute and has played a significant part in the development and application of a variety of research designs. These include the extended kin-ships of twins and longitudinal studies of twins and their parents. He has also developed some of the first methods for the structural analysis of multivariate genetic data to analyze directional ...

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VCU researchers discover that schizophrenia risk is diminished by high IQ

High intelligence could protect against the development of schizophrenia in people who have a genetic predisposition for the disease, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden. The findings contradict conventional wisdom that schizophrenia and brilliance are linked.

The research provides insight into how IQ and schizophrenia interact and suggest that intelligence is an important moderator in the development of the mental disorder.

“If you’re really smart, your genes for schizophrenia don’t have much of ...

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VCU receives $1.6 million grant to study pathways that lead to substance use disorders

In one of the first projects to be funded under a partnership between the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Research Council of Norway, two Virginia Commonwealth University professors from the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics will work with researchers at the University of Oslo to study the genetic and environmental factors in normal and abnormal personality that increase the risk of developing substance use disorders. The four-year study will also link new and existing data from the  Continue Reading →

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Study reveals new information about the genes and biological pathways involved in schizophrenia

An international team of researchers has identified more than 100 locations in the human genome associated with the risk of an individual developing schizophrenia, according to a study published online in the journal Nature this week.

The findings advance the knowledge of schizophrenia on the molecular level, and provide critical information about the biological pathways underlying the illness — which has been poorly understood until now.

By understanding the molecular and cellular pathways involved in schizophrenia, researchers may be able to develop ...

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Criminal behavior: Older siblings strongly sway younger siblings close in age

If a sibling commits a violent criminal act, the risk that a younger sibling may follow in their footsteps is more likely than the transmission of that behavior to an older sibling, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.

The findings provide insight into the social transmission of violent behaviors and suggest that environmental factors within families can be important when it comes to delinquent behavior. Down the road, the results may be ...

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Study examines role of religious devotion in substance use and abuse

Analysis of religiosity in childhood and adulthood suggests that individuals who change in religiosity over time are at greater risk of using psychoactive substances, including alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Religiosity is the relevance of religious belief to a person’s life – in other words, how religious or devout a person is. The study, which will be published in the March issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence and currently available online, showed that ...

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