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
The IBG Training Program requirements include completion of at least six of the nine courses listed below. At least three of these courses must be from the first four listed. 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.
1. Behavioral Genetics (e.g., UCB: Psychology 5102, 3 credits)
2. Genetics (e.g., UCB: EPOB 3200, 3 credits or UCD: GENETICS 3831, 3 credits).
A student may elect to fulfill this requirement via a proficiency examination in general genetics.
3. Quantitative Genetics (UCB: Psychology 5112, 3 credits).
4. Molecular Genetics and Behavior (e.g., UCB: Psychology 5232, 3 credits; UCB: MCDB 5232, 3 credits).
5. Biometrical Methods in Behavioral Genetics (e.g. UCB: Psychology 5242, 3 credits).
6. 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.
7. 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, Analytical Methods for Quantitative Trait Loci, and Evolutionary Psychology.
8. Research in Behavioral Genetics (e.g., UCB: Psychology 7012, 1-3 credits).
9. 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.
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.
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. Scientific Ethics Training
All pre- and post-doctoral students are required to complete the course in scientific ethics offered at IBG.
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.
Michael D. Breed - Professor, Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology; Ph.D., University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1977. 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; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1978. 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; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1969; NIAAA Research Scientist Development Award, 1978-83; NIDA Level V Research Scientist Development Award, 1993-98; Scientific Director of the University of Colorado Drug Abuse Research Center. 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 utilization of genetics as a tool to determine the mechanism of action of drugs.
John C. DeFries - Professor, Department of Psychology, and Director of IBG; Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1961; President of the Behavior Genetics Association, 1982-83. 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 detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that influence behavioral characters.
Richard A. Deitrich - Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1959; NIGMS Research Career Development Award, 1965-75; NIAAA Research Scientist Award, 1986; President of the Research Society on Alcoholism, 1981-83; Co-Scientific Director of the University of Colorado Alcohol Research Center, 1977-1999. 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.
V. Gene Erwin - Professor of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1965; Scientific Director of the University of Colorado Alcohol Research Center, 1992-present; Co Scientific Director of the University of Colorado Alcohol Research Center 1977-92; NIAAA Research Career Award, 1984-94. 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 - Professor, IBG and Department of Psychology; Ph.D., University of London, 1978. Professor Hewitt uses longitudinal and cross-sectional studies of twins and their 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; smoking, alcohol, and drug use and abuse in relation to personality; and genetics and behavioral medicine.
Thomas E. Johnson - Professor of Behavioral Genetics, Department of Psychology; Ph.D., University of Washington, 1975; NIH Research Scientist Award, 1994-99. Dr. Johnson is the discoverer of the first gerontogene, age-1, which doubles the life span of the round worm C. elegans. Human and mouse nomologues are also under study, single-gene and quantitative approaches. He is mapping quantitative trait loci conferring sensitivity to alcohol and other anesthetic agents in mice. He has also identified genes for extended longevity using the nematode C. elegans, which has a life span of only twenty days. Several approaches, including behavioral and molecular genetic techniques, are used to analyze both aging and the action of genes leading to addiction.
Carol B. Lynch - Professor, Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology; Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1971. 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; Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1970. 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; Ph.D., Duke University, 1977; NIMH Research Scientist Award, 1983-99; NIMH MERIT Award, 1988-98. In a recent analysis of citation impact among psychologists conducted by the American Psychological Society, he ranked in the top 25 in the world for the period 1990-1995. His honors include Research Scientist, MERIT, and Fogarty awards from the National Institute of Health. He was selected as University Lecturer by the University of Denver for academic year '96-'97, and has been awarded a John Evans professorship. 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; Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 1974; NIAAA Research Scientist Development Award, 1987-92. 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.
Andrew Smolen - Research Associate, IBG; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1979. Dr. Smolen is a pharmacologist whose primary interests are in the areas of neurochemistry and pharmacogenetics. His current research activities include the effects of vitamin B-6 restriction on seizure susceptibility in pregnancy, and the assessment of the contribution of specific candidate genes to complex behaviors such as substance abuse.
Toni N. Smolen - Research Associate, Assistant Director, IBG; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1981. 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 - Assistant Professor, IBG and Department of Psychology, Ph.D. 1993, University of Southern California. Professor Stalling's research focuses on understanding the genetic and environmental influences on the development of substance use disorders and related psychopathology in humans. Biometrical modeling and quantitative trait loci (QTL) methods are applied to these problems.
Boris Tabakoff - Professor and Chairman, Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1970; President of the Research Society on Al-coholism, 1983-85; President of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, 1986-1990; RSA Award for Scientific Excellence in Alcohol Research and Jellinek Award for alcoholism research, 1988. Professor Tabakoff's research concerns physiological, pharmacological, and biochemical correlates of alcohol and sedative/hypnotic abuse. Current studies focus on the role of vasopressin in the mediation of tolerance development to ethanol, the involvement of brain glutamate receptors in ethanol withdrawal, and the interaction of ethanol with adenylyl cyclase.
Jeanne M. Wehner - Professor of Psychology, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Medical School, 1976; NIAAA Research Scientist Development Award, 1991-96. Professor Wehner is a biochemist whose primary research interests are pharmaco-genetics and neurobiology. Current projects include biochemical and genetic studies of learning and memory, and the role of protein kinase C in alcohol's actions.
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