• Spit for Science: The VCU Student Survey

    Through “Spit for Science: The VCU Student Survey,” top researchers with expertise in alcohol use and mental health from the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at VCU hope to gain insight into how genetic and environmental factors influence the development of psychiatric or substance use disorders, and how these results might be used to inform prevention and intervention programming at VCU.

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  • Spit for Science
    Principal Investigators:
    Danielle Dick, Ph.D. and Kenneth Kendler, M.D.

    Spit for Science: The Student Survey is an exciting, VCU-wide research project investigating how genes and environments come together to influence substance use and mental health.

    Position(s) offered:
    We enjoy working with a large number of undergraduate team members each semester. The main way you can join our team is to apply for the undergraduate research course we run each Fall and Spring semester. We also accept a small number of unpaid, part-time interns and research assistants throughout the year.

    Examples of duties/responsibilities:
    Undergraduate research team members are involved in a variety of tasks related to the project. Duties include data management, project outreach, recruitment and participation in educational events. They also help with day-to-day project tasks and assisting the Spit for Science team. Students in the class work on collaborative research projects using Spit for Science data. Undergraduates who are interested in individual research assistantships may work on data analysis but this involvement varies.

    Contact information for interested students:
    Kimberly Pedersen, Project Coordinator

  • Adolescent and Young Adult Twin Study (AYATS)
    Principal Investigator:
    Roxann Roberson-Nay, Ph.D.

    Position(s) offered:
    Unpaid research assistant (9-12 hours a week)

    Examples of duties/responsibilities:
    RAs will first be placed with the data management team, which is responsible for data processing of physiological, behavioral, and self-report data. All RAs also will assist with the Trier Social Stress Test by acting as confederates. Once RAs have learned data processing, they may be placed in the laboratory where they will collect data from twin participants during an intensive 5 hour protocol. RAs must be able to volunteer a minimum of 9 hours a week and, of the 9 hours, there must be a continuous 5 hours that they can dedicate to the laboratory. RAs will be exposed to a number of different facets of research including the ethical conduct of research, data collection, data processing, basic statistical analyses, and the use of genetically informed models. RAs also will learn physiological data assessment and processing which includes heart rate/heart rate variability, respiratory rate, tidal volume, end-tidal CO2, galvanic skin response, and fear-potentiated startle.

    Contact information for interested students:
    Jennifer Cecilione, Project Coordinator