Assistant Professor of Psychology
Office: 379 Psychology Department
Additional Contact Information
Department of Psychology
36 Eagle Row
Atlanta, GA 30322
I began my career in Behavior Genetics at William Paterson University where I earned an undergraduate degree in Biology in 2005. Soon after, I attended graduate school at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. During my time at IBG, I trained in the study of genetic influences on behavior. This included statistical programming and the use of multivariate and longitudinal methods to conduct research on comorbid substance use and disorders (SUDs). Upon earning my PhD in 2010, I was appointed to the NIMH postdoctoral training grant in child mental health at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University. As a fellow, I conducted research on childhood/adolescent behaviors that predispose individuals to SUDs. In 2012, I was awarded a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Mentored Research Scientist Award (K01) and joined the faculty at Brown University. My NIAAA K01 focused my research on systems-based genetic studies of complex traits, specifically, alcohol use disorders. I later joined the Emory faculty in September 2016.
As principal investigator of an NIAAA sponsored K01, I am currently engaged in whole genome studies of alcohol use disorder and comorbid substance use problems using large epidemiological samples. I am also actively engaged in testing and developing statistical methods using whole genome data. In addition, I provide methodological and statistical consultation to researchers interested in incorporating genetics/epigenetics into their research projects.
I currently serve as an executive committee member for the Behavior Genetics Association where I represent North American student/trainee members. As a past scholar of the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), I am interested in helping students determine their path to a graduate, medical, or faculty career.
My research centers on understanding the persistent and transient problems leading to alcohol and other substance use disorders (SUDs). Current research in the lab include: (a) the identification of genetic and environmental factors for SUDs using twin, family, and whole-genome data, (b) developing, evaluating, and testing the utility of multivariate approaches (e.g., hierarchical Bayesian modeling and Dimensionality Reduction) for enhancing the identification of genetic factors for complex traits, and (c) refining clinical phenotypes and endophenotypes to enhance gene finding studies for SUDs.