Featured Faculty: Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D.

Dr. Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in behavioral genetics began as an undergraduate majoring in psychology, where he became fascinated by Hans Eyesenck’s research on the genetics of personality. This interest led him to pursue a PhD in behavior genetics at University of Queensland, working with Dr. Nick Martin. Upon completing his degree, he moved to the United States for what was supposed to be a 2-year post-doctoral ... Continue Reading →


VCU honors six at faculty convocation

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, Ph.D., marked the beginning of the academic year Wednesday by recognizing distinguished faculty. First, he delivered an unwavering message about the university’s values.

“As a research university we have to continue to be mindful of the fact that we are leading in a very challenging time,” Rao said at VCU’s Opening Faculty Address and Convocation. “In light of a lot of things that have gone on in the last week or two, I want you to know ... Continue Reading →


Michael Neale, Ph.D. Recipient of VCU Distinguished Scholarship Award

Michael Neale, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, received the Distinguished Scholarship Award. He has dedicated his research to making connections between how genetic, environmental and behavioral factors interact and contribute to illnesses such as substance abuse and psychiatric disorders.

Michael Neale created an open-source computer program widely used by researchers in modeling data to determine whether genetic variants are linked to outcome variables. The program has been cited more than ... Continue Reading →


University will recognize distinguished faculty at annual convocation event

Virginia Commonwealth University will recognize distinguished faculty at its 35th annual Opening Faculty Address and Convocation on Wednesday.

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and Gail Hackett, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, will preside over the ceremony, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 922 Park Ave. VCU will live stream the event online at http://go.vcu.edu/convocation.

Awards will be presented to faculty members who have ... Continue Reading →


Combining Structural Equation Modeling With Genomic Approaches

Dr. Hermine Maes, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics. Her interest in the field began while she was finishing her undergraduate degree. She was interested in both the physiological and psychological sciences, but she could not decide between the two. Serendipitously, one day she was in the library doing research for her undergraduate thesis and a research professor engaged her about a research project looking at the role of genes and environment in ... Continue Reading →


Understanding The Brain Mechanisms Involved in Alcohol Use and Misuse

Dr. Vladimir Vladimirov, M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in psychiatric genetics were sparked by the clinical and behavioral complexity of psychiatric disorders and by the overwhelming number of people suffering from them. Some of Dr. Vladimirov’s closest friends suffer from major depression, alcohol use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Seeing them struggling on an everyday basis has motivated him to study these disorders on both clinical as well as ... Continue Reading →


AYATS Seeks to Identify Risk for Internalizing Disorders

Dr. Roxann Roberson-Nay, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Her background is in clinical psychology and she came to be interested in psychiatric genetics while she was working as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Pine. Her goal was to combine her clinical background with neuroimaging and genetics. Upon arrival at the VCU Virginia Treatment Center for Children in 2005, she wrote and ... Continue Reading →


Is love really like a drug? VCU course examines science behind media portrayals of romance and substance abuse

As part of a new course at Virginia Commonwealth University, students have authored papers analyzing pop songs — “Your Love is my Drug” by Kesha, “Drunk on a Plane” by Dierks Bentley, and Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Want a New Drug” among them — that deal with themes and metaphors related to romantic relationships and drug and alcohol abuse.

“I analyzed Justin Timberlake’s ‘Pusher Love Girl,’” said Ashley Stewart, a senior in the Department of Psychology in the College ... Continue Reading →


Study investigates genetic, environmental factors in alcohol use disorder and divorce

Alcohol use disorder and divorce are strongly correlated, meaning that experiencing one makes it more likely to experience the other in one’s lifetime, according to a new study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The study, “Alcohol use disorder and divorce: Evidence for a genetic correlation in a population-based Swedish sample,” will appear in the journal Addiction, published by the Society for the Study of Addiction. The study was published online at onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.13719/abstract.

Previous research has shown that alcohol ... Continue Reading →


Methodological Development And Statistical Genetics

Dr. Silviu-Alin Bacanu, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. His interests in psychiatric genetics began while he was completing his PhD in statistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Upon graduating, he pursued these interests by working in psychiatric genetics research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for several years, where he worked with on a variety of phenotypes, including schizophrenia, eating disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. Subsequently, he obtained a research position at ... Continue Reading →

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