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North Carolina State University, 2008, PhD
University of South Carolina, 1999, BS

Research Interests

  • Alcohol Use Disorders
  • Internalizing Disorders
  • Genetic Influences on Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders

Research Description

My research program focuses on understanding the etiology of substance use disorders, suicidal behavior, and internalizing problems, including how these outcomes are related to one another. My lab develops research questions from various perspectives, considering the impact of genetic factors, psychological/behavioral features (e.g., impulsivity and neuroticism, which are themselves genetically influenced), and environmental exposures (e.g., childhood adversity, peer behavior, socioeconomic factors). We employ a wide range of methodological approaches, such as genome-wide association studies and secondary genetic analyses, developmental models, and variations on twin-family models. We benefit from extensive collaborative relationships that enable us to conduct translational research to dissect biological mechanisms underlying risk and inform treatment and prevention efforts. My lab’s overarching goal is to use our resources and skill sets to identify modifiable risk factors to reduce suffering associated with substance use disorders, internalizing problems, and suicidal behavior.


Best Faculty Mentor Award, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, June 2015

Blick Scholar, 2019-2023

Selected Publications

View on PubMed