COBE Researcher Wins Genetics and Human Agency Award

small-jessicaThe Genetics and Human Agency Initiative recently gave a Junior Investigator award to COBE researcher Dr. Jessica Salvatore, Assistant Professor in the VCU Department of Psychology and the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics.

The goal of the Genetics and Human Agency Initiative, which is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, is to bring together empirical scientists and philosophers to tackle the question of how to make sense of complex human behavior in the context of a realistic understanding of human behavioral genetics.

With the support of a Junior Investigator award, Dr. Salvatore plans to describe the current state of genetically informative research for relationship outcomes, with a particular eye toward the conceptual and analytical models needed to understand how partners’ genetic predispositions unfold in the context of one another.

Dr. Salvatore’s general research interests include using genetically informative designs to understand the interplay between genetic factors and close relationship factors in the onset, persistence, and discontinuity of alcohol misuse.

As a part of her project she will maintain a blog on her research website, and will make quarterly posts on aspects of her work, with the goal of engaging academic and non-academic audiences in discussions about how to study emergent properties of relationships using genetically informative designs.

Her mentor for the project is Dr. Ken Kendler, Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, and Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University.