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(July, 2007)
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I. Goals

A major goal of the training program at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) is to train scientists in the study of genetic contributions to individual differences in behavior. This is accomplished by requiring students to obtain strong training in a primary academic discipline, by instructing them in the interdisciplinary content of behavioral genetics, and by providing an atmosphere in which close interactions among scholars with different perspectives may be established. Another goal of the training program is to enhance the teaching skills of its graduates by requiring them to serve as teaching assistants in one or more courses relevant to their discipline. All trainees in behavioral genetics must be degree candidates in an academic department of the University. In addition to the requirements of their academic department, trainees must fulfill the IBG requirements outlined below. In some cases, a particular requirement may fulfill both a departmental requirement and an IBG requirement. Completion of the IBG graduate training program also fulfills the requirements for the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Behavioral Genetics granted by the University of Colorado, Boulder, Graduate School.

II. Course Requirements

1. Students must participate in the weekly journal club and colloquia series at the Institute for Behavior Genetics. Each student must present at journal club at least three times during the course of their training but yearly presentations are encouraged. Two presentations should be made on relevant papers and the third presentation should be focused on the student’s own research.

2. Genetics (e.g., UCB: EBIO 2070 or MCDB 2150, 3 credits or UCD: GENETICS 3831, 3 credits). A student may elect to fulfill this requirement via a written proficiency examination in general genetics.

3. Behavioral Genetics: This course is a 4-credit course, 2 credits that are taught through IPHY (IPHY 5102) and 2 credits taught through PSYC (PSCY 5102).

4. Statistics (e.g., UCB: Psychology 5751, 4 credits, or 5541, 4 credits). This must be a graduate-level course in statistics (of at least one semester), approved by the student's advisory committee.

5. Scientific ethics (e.g. Psychology 5112, 3 credits; Pharmacology 7605)

Students also must complete two courses from the following:

1. Quantitative Genetics (UCB: Psychology 5122, 3 credits).

2. Molecular Genetics and Behavior (e.g., UCB: Psychology 5232, 3 credits; UCB: MCDB 5232, 3 credits).

3. Biometrical Methods in Behavioral Genetics (e.g. UCB: Psychology 5242, 3 credits).

4. Bioinformatics and Genomics (e.g., Integrative Physiology 6010, 3 credits).

5. Quantitative Trait Loci Analysis (e.g., Psychology 5112, 3 credits)

Students must complete one course from the following:

1. Concepts in Behavioral Genetics (e.g., UCB: Psychology 5112, 3 credits).
In some cases, this course may be cross-listed with an affiliated department. Examples of concept courses include Genetics of Psychopathology, Evolutionary Psychology, or other current topics.

2. Molecular Genetics of Addiction (e.g., Integrative Physiology 6010, 3 credits).

3. Seminar in Behavioral Genetics (e.g., UCB: Psychology 7102, 2 credits).

Examples of seminar courses include: Mouse Models for Behavior Genetics, Genetics of Personality, Genetics and Substance Abuse, and Developmental Psychopathology.

NOTE: As some courses can only be taught every other year, it is each student's responsibility to take relevant courses when offered. Some equivalent courses may be offered at the Health Sciences Center or other venues. Course substitutions may be requested -- see Petitions below.

Upcoming Graduate Course Offerings

Disclaimer: Please note that these course offerings are tentative and may be changed due to low enrollment or faculty scheduling conflicts.

Updated 6/28/07

Fall 2007    
PSYC 5132 Behavioral Neuropharmacology

Al Collins

PSYC 5242 Biometrical Methods Mike Stallings
IPHY 6010 Bioinformatics and Genomics Marissa Ehringer
IPHY 5232 Molecular Genetics & Behavior Jerry Stitzel

Spring 2008

PSYC5741 Quantitative Meth Neuroscience Greg Carey
PSYC7291 Multivariate Analysis Greg Carey
PSYC5122 Quantitative Genetics John DeFries
PSYC7102 BG Seminar: Classic Papers in BG John Hewitt
PSYC5102 Behavioral Genetics Soo Rhee
PSYC4521 Crit Thinking: Genes and Environment Soo Rhee
PSYC7102 BG Seminar: Adv Topics Stat Genetics Matt McQueen
IPHY5102 Behavioral Genetics Tom Johnson
PSYC5122 Scientific Integrity Toni Smolen

Fall 2008

IPHY6010 Molecular Genetics of Addiction Jerry Stitzel

more to come....


Spring 2008

PSYC5102 Behavioral Genetics Greg Carey
IPHY5102 Behavioral Genetics Tom Johnson

more to come....


III. Teaching requirements

Each of the students in the IBG Training Program must TA for one semester in a course judged by their advisory committee to be relevant to their professional specialty. (As part of their general responsibilities for the development of the student, advisory committees may sometimes require additional teaching.)

IV. General Requirements

IBG students are required to conduct their doctoral dissertation research on topics of direct relevance to animal or human behavioral genetics, under the supervision of an IBG faculty member. A training file for each student is maintained in the IBG office for tracking progress toward completion of program requirements. Each student is to assist in updating this file at least once per year.

Specific Departmental and Graduate School requirements in addition to those listed here are the responsibility of each student, in consultation with his/her advisory committee.

V. Examinations

Each student in the training program is examined at least annually by an advisory committee. Examination results are to be incorporated into the student's training file by the Chairperson of each advisory committee.

VI. Petitions

Deviations from these requirements may be requested by petition to the student's advisory committee. Specific requests for course substitution, resolution of an ambiguity, etc., should be made by written petition. A petition may be approved by a majority vote of both the advisory committee and the IBG Training Committee. Disapproval of a petition may be changed to approval by a majority vote of the IBG faculty.

Faculty Fellows

Michael D. Breed - Professor, Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology. Professor Breed's research emphasis is the genetics of social recognition systems in animals. His current interests include behavioral and genetic studies of the recognition cues used by honeybees to discriminate nestmates from non-nestmates. He is presently engaged in investigating the role of cuticular compounds in recognition, and the patterns of inheritance of chemical cuticular signatures.

Gregory Carey - Associate Professor, Department of Psychology. Dr. Carey's research interests are in the areas of genetics and human psychopathology. Within these areas, his work concentrates on the anxiety disorders and on the development of externalizing behavior (antisocial tendencies, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse) during adolescence. A second major interest is the use of quantitative models to represent mechanisms of assortative mating, development, cultural transmission, and sibling interactions.

Allan C. Collins - Professor of Psychology and Pharmacology, Department of Psychology. Professor Collins is a biochemical pharmacologist whose primary research specialization is neurochemistry. His current research interests include neurochemical correlates of nicotine use, tolerance development, and withdrawal; neurochemical bases of alcohol tolerance; biochemical bases of behavior; and use of genetics as a tool to determine the mechanism of action of drugs.

Thomas Crowley - Professor in Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado.

John C. DeFries - Professor, Department of Psychology. Professor DeFries' primary field of specialization is quantitative behavioral genetics. His current research interests include twin and adoption studies of human cognitive abilities; the genetics of learning disabilities; and the use of DNA markers to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that influence behavioral characters.
Richard A. Deitrich - Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver. Professor Deitrich is a pharmacologist whose current research concerns the molecular basis of the actions of alcohol. His research uses genetically selected lines of mice and rats to discover mechanisms of central nervous system depression, tolerance and dependence. These data are used to identify specific genes responsible for these actions in animals, and eventually to identify similar genes in humans at risk for development of alcoholism.

Marissa Ehringer - Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Physiology. Dr. Ehringer is a molecular geneticist who utilizes the genomics and bioinformatics resources to study behavior genetics. Her current research involves the study of candidate genes that may be underlie genetic mechanisms that contribute to alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.

V. Gene Erwin - Professor of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy. Scientific Director of the University of Colorado Alcohol Research Center, 1992-present. Professor Erwin's research has been in biochemical neuro-pharmacology. Studies have focused on using pharmacogenetics as a tool for understanding the neuropharmacology and neurochemistry of alcohol and cocaine. Recent studies have focused on genetic correlations and quantitative trait locus analyses for alcohol- and cocaine-related behaviors and for brain neurotensin and dopamine receptors.
John K. Hewitt - Director of IBG and Professor of Psychology, CU Boulder; Professor of Psychiatry (Attendant Rank), School of Medicine, UCHSC; President of the Behavior Genetics Association, 2000-01; Editor-in-Chief, Behavior Genetics. Professor Hewitt uses cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of twins and families to study behavioral development, and genetic and environmental influences on behavior, personality, and health. His recent research has focused on the development of behavior problems in childhood and adolescence, vulnerability to drug use, abuse, and dependence, genetics and health, and linkage and association studies of behavioral traits.
Kent Hutchison - Professor, Department of Psychology. Dr Hutchison's research focuses on the examination of mechanisms that underlie substance abuse and dependence (e.g., craving and drug reinforcement), the study of individual difference variables that may moderate these mechanisms, and the exploration of behavioral and pharmacological treatments that may moderate these mechanisms with the intention of reducing substance use.
Thomas E. Johnson - Professor of Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychology. Dr. Johnson received the Kleemeier Award (the premier award in aging research) for his discovery of the first gerontogene, age-1, which doubles the life span and opened up a new area of scientific research. He is also cloning quantitative trait loci conferring sensitivity to alcohol in mice. His lab uses multiple techniques: behavioral, biochemical molecular, pharmacological, quantitative and genetic, to analyze both aging and the action of genes leading to addiction. For more information examine his URL

Kenneth S. Krauter - Professor, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Dr. Krauter's research focuses on two aspects of human genome research. The first is in the area of comparative genome analysis. The second is the use of genetic analysis to identify genes involved in complex traits such as behavioral abnormalities.

Carol B. Lynch - Professor, Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology. Professor Lynch's research interests are the genetic basis of evolutionary adaptation and brain mechanisms underlying adaptive behaviors. Her current research uses a model system which has been the study of cold adaptation in mice, with emphasis on nest-building. This involves the use of replicated genetic lines of mice that have been selectively bred for over sixty generations for differences in nest-building. These lines also differ in genetically correlated traits, such as body weight and litter size, as well as circadian rhythms and brain (hypothalamus) neurochemistry and neuroanatomy. These lines facilitate studies of both constraints on adaptive evolution and the path from genes to behavior.
Richard K. Olson - Professor, Department of Psychology. Professor Olson is a developmental psychologist whose primary research is on the varieties, etiology and remediation of learning disorders. His research has examined the component processes in reading and related language skills that are associated with both normal and subnormal development. Heritability of these component processes is being evaluated through twin analyses. Current projects are focused on the use of computer speech feedback in the remediation of reading disabilities.
Bruce F. Pennington - Professor, Department of Psychology, and Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Program, University of Denver. Professor Pennington is a developmental neuropsychologist whose research focuses on understanding disorders of cognitive development. The disorders he studies include developmental dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and several mental retardation syndromes: early treated phenylketonuria, fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, and infantile autism. The long-term goal of this work is to understand how different genetic influences alter brain development to produce the distinct profiles of cognitive strengths and weaknesses found in each of these disorders.
Dennis R. Petersen - Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmacogenetics, School of Pharmacy. Professor Petersen's research concerns biochemical pharmacology and toxicology of alcohols and aldehydes. This research focuses on enzyme systems in liver, kidney and brain that are involved in the biotransformation of endogenous and exogenous aldehydes. Of particular interest is the interaction of acute or chronic alcohol consumption with these enzymatic pathways. His recent research efforts have emphasized the use of genetics in studying the molecular and biochemical mechanisms underlying the hepatotoxic potential of various drugs and chemicals.
Richard Radcliffe - Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Radcliffe's research focuses on the genetic and molecular basis of drug and alcohol abuse. Current projects include gene expression microarray analyses of CNS systems involved in behavioral responses to methamphetamine and alcohol, QTL mapping of alcohol-related traits, mutagenesis approaches applied to the study of acute alcohol tolerance, and studies of the non-linear dynamics of the fear conditioning response.
Soo Rhee - Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology. Dr. Rhee's primary research interests are the etiology and development of childhood disruptive disorders, the etiology and development of substance use disorders, the causes of comorbidity between psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders, and the development of methods discriminating correct models for causes of comorbidity.
James Sikela - Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Human Medical Genetics Program, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver. Dr. Sikela is a genome scientist and has been a key pioneer in the development of EST technology and large-scale human gene mapping. His laboratory was part of the international gene-mapping consortium that determined the chromosomal location for the majority of human genes. He contributed to the discovery of the PSN2 gene that causes Alzheimer's disease. Currently his research involves applying genomics approaches to the discovery of genes involved in alcoholism and drug abuse. His laboratory is also involved in the identification of genes important to hominoid evolution, including those that are specific to the human lineage.
Andrew Smolen - Research Associate, IBG. Dr. Smolen is a pharmacologist whose primary interests are in the areas of neurochemistry and pharmacogenetics. His current research activities include the assessment of the contribution of specific candidate genes to complex behaviors such as substance abuse and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Toni N. Smolen - Research Associate, Assistant Director, IBG. Dr. Smolen's research interests are in the areas of pharmacogenetics and neuropharmacology. Her current projects use genetically inbred and selected lines of mice in studies of biochemical and neurochemical mechanisms that underlie the development of drug tolerance and dependence, the role of the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the mediation of the effects of acute and chronic alcohol administration, and drug metabolism in young and aging mice.

Michael C. Stallings - Dr. Stallings' research interests include quantitative genetics, substance abuse, and personality. His current research utilizes biometrical modeling and quantitative trait loci (QTL) methodology to understand genetic and environmental influences on the development of substance use disorders and comorbid psychopathology.

Jerry A. Stitzel - Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Physiology. Dr. Stitzel is a molecular biologist whose primary interest is the use of genetic strategies to identify the underlying biological bases for the behavioral and physiological actions of drugs of abuse with special emphasis on nicotine. Current projects include the molecular, biochemical and cellular characterization of naturally occurring variants of neuronal nicotinic receptors and quantitative trait loci mapping of a nicotine preference phenotype.

Boris Tabakoff - Professor and Chairman, Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver. Professor Tabakoff's research concerns physiological, pharmacological, and biochemical correlates of alcohol and opiate/cannabinoid abuse. Current studies focus on behavioral genetic factors mediating tolerance development; the involvement of brain glutamate receptors in addiction; and the interaction of addictive drugs with adenylyl cyclase signaling in brain.
Jeanne M. Wehner - Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology. Professor Wehner is a biochemist whose primary research interests are pharmacogenetics and neurobiology. Current projects include biochemical and genetic studies of learning and memory, the role of nicotinic receptors in modulation of learning and the role of protein kinase C in alcohol's actions.
Erik Willcutt- Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology. Professor Willcutt's current research focuses on the causes and consequences of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and their comorbidity. He uses genetic linkage and association techniques in studies of families and twins to identify genes that increase susceptibility to these difficulties.
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