In the BPSG program, our focus is on how nature (genes) and nurture (environment) affect development, brain structure, and function, cognition, personality and psychopathology. We also have a strong tradition in the development of novel methodological, statistical and computational approaches to the genetic study of behavior. All faculty and graduate students in the BPSG program are closely affiliated with CU’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG), a leading center for the interdisciplinary study of behavior, which houses dozens of faculty from diverse specialities including Psychology & Neuroscience; Integrative Physiology; Sociology; Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; and the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. Multidisciplinary research in behavioral genetics is the norm and is something we emulate within the BPSG program and at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics.
Students graduating from the BPSG area advance to faculty and research positions in diverse areas within psychology, genetics, and psychiatry. The training program in BPSG is highly flexible, with specific training plans decided in consultation with the student and faculty advisor. Graduate students have the opportunity to learn and apply general principles and techniques from developmental, evolutionary, molecular, medical, and quantitative perspectives, all applied with the goal of understanding what makes people different in their health, behavior, and brain function.
It is an exciting time for researchers and trainees in behavioral genetics. Recent technological advances now allow us to analyze the genome in minute detail, exhaustively sequencing DNA and testing how variations in DNA are related to behavior. Our faculty combines these novel techniques with powerful family (twin and adoption) study designs to rigorously evaluate causal psychological hypotheses.