April 2, 2013: Alcoholism & Genetics

Science Pub RVA #9

To Drink Or Not To Drink:  Is alcoholism “in our genes”?

What is addiction?  Why do some people become dependent on alcohol and drugs and others not?  Is it truly something that is “in our genes”?  And if addiction is genetic, what should we do about it?  Dr. Danielle Dick oriented an audience of 45 folks to some of the science focused on these questions and explained the different types of studies she and her colleagues have used to investigate the intersection of genetics, health behaviors, personality traits and environmental experiences.

Danielle Dick, PhD
Danielle Dick, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Human and Molecular Genetics
Affiliate of Clinical, Developmental, and Health Psychology
Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

Dr. Danielle Dick’s research focuses on how genetic and environmental influences contribute to the development of patterns of substance use and related behaviors, such as antisocial behavior and depression.  Additionally, she heads the genotyping component of several longitudinal, developmental studies, with extensive phenotypic assessments spanning from early childhood to mid-adulthood, and genotyping being conducted at our molecular genetics laboratory at VCU.