Featured Faculty

Personal Experience Leads To Career In Anxiety Disorders

Dr. John Hettema, MD., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Director of the VCU Anxiety Disorders Specialty Clinic. Dr. Hettema has a PhD in physics, but a series of personal experiences with several close friends suffering from severe depression during his physics post-doctoral fellowship period ignited his interest in psychiatry. This interest sparked a career change, and he entered medical school at the Medical College of Virginia in 1992. During the summer ... Continue Reading →


The Genetic Underpinnings Of PTSD And Stress-Related Drinking

Dr. Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Human and Molecular Genetics. Her interests in the field of psychiatric genetics began when she worked as a research assistant during her undergraduate years. While coding archived assessments of women with borderline personality disorder, she was struck by the number of these women who had a history of trauma. These experiences launched her interest in traumatic stress psychopathology and her desire to fully ... Continue Reading →


Whole Genome Sequencing In Multiplex Families

Brien Riley, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. He is a molecular geneticist interested in identifying genes that contribute to variation in the brain, central nervous system function, and psychiatric illness risk and behavior. These interests developed after he completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology, as a result of his dissatisfaction with the field’s way of approaching brain function and dysfunction. He was frustrated “because the field of psychology did not, ... Continue Reading →


Brain Structure, Function & Human Development

Michael Neale, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry, Human and Molecular Genetics, and Psychology, as well as associate director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. His career in the field of psychiatric genetics started as an interest in psychology and neuroscience, which developed during his formative adolescent years after reading Jeffrey Gray’s The Psychology of Fear and Stress. Subsequently, he earned both his Bachelor’s and PhD degrees in psychology at the University at London, where ... Continue Reading →


Understanding The Etiology of Psychiatric Illnesses

Kenneth Kendler, M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics as well as one of the founders of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. In collaboration with Lindon Eaves, Ph.D., Dr. Kendler created VIPBG in 1996 as an effort to bring together expert psychiatrists, statisticians, and molecular geneticists under one roof, where he currently serves as Director.

Throughout his career, Dr. Kendler has published over 850 articles, making him ... Continue Reading →


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 ... Continue Reading →

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