The Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) is an organized research unit of the University of Colorado Research and Innovation Office dedicated to conducting and facilitating research on the genetic and environmental bases of individual differences in behavior.

Founded in 1967, IBG is one of the top behavioral genetics research facilities in the world. Data collection and analysis are ongoing for several internationally renowned studies including the Colorado Adoption Project, the Colorado Twin Registry, the National Youth Survey Family Study, the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center, and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. IBG is home to one of the nation's largest DNA repositories for research on human behavior, as well as housing a wide array of behaviorally and genetically defined lines of selected, recombinant inbred, transgenic, and knockout-gene mice. Researchers also use many large, publicly available whole-genome datasets such as the UK Biobank, the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, and the All Of Us datasets. Current research includes studies of aging, neurodegenerative disease, psychopathology, reading and learning disabilities, cognition, substance abuse, behavioral development, and evolution.

During IBG's last program review, the Internal and External Review Committees reported that:

  • IBG is "...among the strongest of the research institutes on campus. The Institute has an outstanding faculty and research staff that has established unique and highly successful interdisciplinary research programs."
  • The research record of "...the resident faculty members...[are] outstanding in terms of international recognition, publications, and extramural funding."
  • IBG is "...the leading center for human and animal behavioral genetic studies in the U.S. and, arguably, in the world."
  • "Institute for Behavioral Genetics is an independent academic enterprise that is peerless in its field and a superb asset to the University of Colorado and to the Boulder Campus.


Research Funding & Space

IBG administers about $50 million in total grant dollars; $10 million per fiscal year. We have approximately 40 research projects that are funded through IBG. Nearly all of our funding comes from NIH grants.

IBG occupies 38,500 sf in four buildings on the East Campus of CU Boulder: the IBG building (17,200sf), RL1 (3,600sf), RL4 (7700sf), ARCE (10,000sf). Our goal is to obtain new integrated space, within a life sciences cluster, totaling 70,000sf, to accommodate our growing research and graduate education needs in collaboration with Psychology and Neuroscience, IPHY, MCDB, and ICS.



IBG supports ~20-25 PhD students and ~ 10 postdoctoral trainees, helping them build skills crucial to success in both academic and industrial jobs. All of our PhD students are part of the IBG training certificate program. Prospective students can get more information here. IBG also directs two NIH pre- and postdoctoral training grants (from NIMH and NIDA) supporting 9 graduate students and 3 postdoctoral fellows. Each spring, IBG hosts the International Statistical Genetics workshop, which has served as perhaps the most important gateway to the field of behavioral genetics in the world, having logged ~3,000 registrations since its inception in 1987.


Faculty, Researchers & Students

There are 11 tenured/tenure-track or research faculty rostered in the Graduate School and based at IBG. In total, there are 34 Faculty Fellows, most of whom hold joint appointments in academic units on the Boulder and Denver campuses. Although Behavioral Genetics can be thought of as the intersection between genetics and the behavioral sciences, our faculty comes from a broader range of backgrounds. At the Boulder campus: Dept of Psychology & Neuroscience (10 +3 emeritus), Dept of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (2), MCDB (1), Dept of Integrative Physiology (4), Dept of Sociology (1), Graduate School (2). At the University of Colorado Denver: Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences (2), Pharmacology (3), and Psychiatry (2), and the Center for Bioethics and Humanities (1). At the University of Denver: Department of Psychology (1). In addition to our research mission, faculty on the Boulder campus participate in both undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Currently, ~20-25 graduate students mentored by IBG faculty fellows participate in the IBG training program; since we are not a degree-granting institute, all current graduate students are affiliated with academic units on the Boulder campus. A further ~20 postdoctoral fellows/research associates, ~20 other research personnel, and ~25 undergraduate student employees work on our various research projects