The EDGE Lab research focuses on the genetic and environmental influences associated with alcohol use and related outcomes, such as adolescent conduct issues, depression, and other drug use.
EDGE Lab members are involved in a wide variety of research projects. Such projects include gene identification efforts, where we are studying the specific genes or sets of genes that influence why some people are more likely to develop certain outcomes than others. We also work with twin studies, unearthing how much of the variability in an outcome is due to genetic influence versus environmental influence by comparing different types of twins who differ in the amount of genetic variation they share. We've come to find that most everything is influenced by both our genes and our environments, thus we’re studying more complex questions such as how the importance of genetic and environmental influences change across time, or the extent to which certain environments can change the importance of genetic effects. We also conduct adolescent longitudinal studies, where we attempt to understand how the risk associated with certain genes unfolds across time. For example, what do the life trajectories of adolescents who are carrying genetic predispositions associated with an increased risk for adult alcohol dependence look like? Acknowledging that genes aren’t destiny, we explore how environments can change the likelihood that an individual who is genetically at risk will actually go on to develop problems.