Judy L. Silberg
Department of Human Genetics
|Tel: 804 828 8153 |
Fax: 804 828 8801
|P.O. Box: |
A clinical psychologist by training, my research has focused on the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors in the development of children's
behavioral and emotional disorders. Our twin studies reveal that genetic factors play a significant role in the etiology of many forms of childhood
psychopathology including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, overanxious disorder, food related disorders, and conduct disturbance. The
mechanisms underlying risk to childhood psychopathology also extends to the genetic analysis of associations among these disorders as well as their covariance
over time. Behaviors that share a common genetic etiology manifest differently at different developmental stages and genes and environment can be age and
gender specific. Family environmental factors are most important in externalizing problems in adolescence and for many psychiatric diagnoses in very early
childhood. Genetic sensitivity to the environment or genotype x environment interaction is an important mechanism in adolescent depression. Gene - environment
correlation leads to increased exposure to depressogenic life events that potentiate risk. Some environmental associations can be explained by transmissible
genetic effects such as maternal smoking in pregnancy and child conduct disorder. Whilst parental psychopathology plays a critical role in child outcomes,
there are varying patterns of transmission. Parenting is a reciprocal process to which both parents and children contribute. Under genetic mediation, these
influences lead to individual specific interactions between children and their parents. There are several research opportunities for analyzing genetically
informative developmental data across a broad span of psychological development. These include: 1) The Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development
(VTSABD) a multi-wave, prospective study consisting of extensive psychiatric and environmental assessments of over 1400 juvenile twins and their parents, 2) A
follow up assessment of these same twins for Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Food Related Disorders, Antisocial Personality, substance
and alcohol use as young adults (YAFU), 3) The Children of Twins study (COT) of adult twins, spouses, and their children for studying the nature of
transmissible risk from parents to their children and 4) Assessments of temperament, parental psychopathology, and preschool psychiatric diagnoses of very
young Hispanic twins in Puerto Rico (PRINTS). In addition to the collection of extensive psychiatric data, DNA samples have been collected in all of the above
- 1981: BS Psychology, State University of New York
- 1984: MS Clinical Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
- 1987: PhD Clinical Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
- 1984-1986: Psychology Assistant, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
- 1986-1987: Clinical Psychology Intern, Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
- 1987-1988: Staff Psychologist, Orange County Department of Mental Health, Goshen, NY
- 1988-1989: Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
- 1989-1993: Clinical Research Associate, Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
- 1991-1993:Instructor, Department of Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University
- 1993-2003: Assistant Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University
- 1996-present: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Joint appointment
- 1996-present: Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Joint appointment
- 2003-present: Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University
- 1981: Phi Beta Kappa
- 1981: Undergraduate Honors for Research
- 1982-1983: NIMH Traineeship
- 1983-1985: Graduate Assistantship
- 1995-1998: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Junior Faculty Award
- 1997-1998: Carman Trust for Scientific Research
- 2002: VCU School of Medicine Faculty Research Award
- 5R01HD049685: Gene Environment Interplay in Infant Development [05-11] PI: Judy Silberg
- genetic and environmental mechanisms in the development of psychopathology in children, adolescents, and young adults
Current Teaching Assignments
- HGEN620: Human Behavioral Genetics, Department of Human Genetics, VCU
- Rutter, ML and Silberg JL: Gene-environment interplay in relation to emotional andbehavioral disturbance. Annual Review of Psychology, 53:463-490, 2001.
- Rowe R, Pickles A, Simonoff E, Bulik C, and Silberg J: Bulimic symptoms in the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development: Correlates, comorbidity, and genetics. Biological Psychiatry, 51(2): 172-182, 2002.
- Silberg J, Parr T, Neale M , Angold A, Rutter M, and Eaves L: Maternal smoking during pregnancy and risk to conduct disturbance: An examination of the causal hypothesis. Biological Psychiatry, 53(2):130-5, 2003.
- Silberg J, Rutter M, D'Onofrio B, Eaves L: Genetic and environmental risk factors in adolescent substance use. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(5):664-676, 2003.
- Eaves, LJ, Silberg, JL and Erkanli, A: Resolving multiple epigenetic pathways to adolescent depression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(7):1006-1014, 2003.
- Foley, D, Rutter, ML, Angold, A, Pickles, A, Silberg, JL, and Eaves, LJ: Making sense of informant disagreement for overanxious disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 43:4,452-60, 2004.
- Silberg JL, Rutter M, Tracy K, Maes HH, Eaves LJ. Etiological heterogeneity in the development of antisocial behavior: the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development and the Young Adult Follow-Up. Psychological Medicine, 37:1-10, 2007.
- Eaves, L and Silberg, JL. The mediating effect of parental neglect on adolescent and young adult anti-sociality: a longitudinal study of twins and their parents. Behavior Genetics, 40(4):425-37, 2010.
- Silberg, JL, Maes, H, Eaves, LJ. Genetic and environmental influences on the transmission of risk from parental depression to children’s depression and conduct problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(6):734-44, 2010.
SEARCH on PubMed site for most recent publications
- Publications by VIPBG faculty
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