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 →
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 →
The degree to which an individual deviates in intelligence from their family is a more accurate predictor of schizophrenia development than the individual’s intelligence alone, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden.
The study confronts the conventional wisdom that low intelligence alone is a sufficient risk factor for schizophrenia development, going further to say that the risk for schizophrenia development is more accurately indexed by the degree to which an individual diverges ... Continue Reading →
In the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers have successfully identified two novel genetic variants that could increase risk for the five primary anxiety disorders. The findings are the result of an international collaboration among 34 researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and throughout academic institutions in the United States, Europe and Australia.
The international research team looked at genetic risk factors that are common across the five primary anxiety disorders identified in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical ... Continue Reading →
Binge drinking is a growing problem in the United States, but are all problem drinkers the same? That is a question Virginia Commonwealth University student Megan Cooke hopes to answer.
Cooke has been interested in alcohol dependence and alcohol use behavior since receiving a postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award to work at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She quickly realized the importance of genetic influences in the development of addiction — “Ignoring [the genetics] would be ignoring ... Continue Reading →
Genes may contribute more to the development of insomnia symptoms in females than in males, according to a new study led by a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student.
Drawing on pre-existing data from the Virginia Adult Twin Studies of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders (VATSPSUD), a large data set collected by VCU psychiatry professor Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., Mackenzie Lind found evidence that the heritability of insomnia could be higher for females than it is for males, suggesting that genes influence ... Continue Reading →