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Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Assessing Interactions Among Social, Behavioral, and Genetic Factors in Health; Hernandez LM, Blazer DG, editors. Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment: Moving Beyond the Nature/Nurture Debate. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006.

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Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment: Moving Beyond the Nature/Nurture Debate.

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GBiographical Sketches

Dan G. Blazer, M.D., Ph.D. (Chair), is J.P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Blazer is the author or editor of more than 30 books and the author or co-author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles on topics including depression, epidemiology, and consultation liaison psychiatry. He is a fellow of the American College of Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association and is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), with expertise in medical education (both undergraduate and graduate), religion and medicine, and preventive medicine and public health. Much of Dr. Blazer’s research has focused on the prevalence of physical and mental illness in the elderly, such as the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Project and the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (EPESE). He has served as the Principal Investigator of the Duke University EPESE, the Piedmont Health Survey of the Elderly. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Retired Persons’ Services (AARP pharmacy service) and currently is a Board member of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry. He served as Chair of the Committee for the IOM review efforts of the Department of Defense to provide adequate medical care to Persian Gulf War Veterans and the IOM Committee on Testosterone Replacement Therapy in the Elderly. He also served as the President of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Melissa A. Austin, Ph.D., is Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Director of the Institute for Public Health Genetics (IPHG) at the University of Washington (UW), and Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the UW Graduate School. Dr. Austin’s National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research program focuses on the genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and pancreatic cancer. She is currently investigating candidate genes for pancreatic cancer in two case-control studies funded by the National Cancer Institute. She also holds an adjunct position in the Department of Medical History and Ethics and is a co-investigator of the UW Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health. In her role as Director of the IPHG, Dr. Austin leads an interdisciplinary team of faculty members from seven different schools and colleges (Public Health, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Arts and Sciences, and Public Affairs) that offer M.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees in Public Health Genetics. As Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Austin oversees academic review of all graduate programs at the UW, approval of new graduate degree programs, and coordination of the 17 interdisciplinary degree programs administered by the Graduate School.

Wendy Baldwin, Ph.D., is the Executive Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky. Previously she served as the Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the NIH, and prior to that as the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. With a background in social demography, her research areas are adolescent pregnancy and childbearing, AIDS risk behavior, child care and low birth weight, and international aspects of reproductive health. She received the 1997 National Public Service Award for her accomplishments in science administration and reinvention at NIH. Her work at NIH also addressed issues of data sharing and bioethics. She has served on two National Academy of Sciences committees, most recently the Committee on the Assessment of Behavioral and Social Science Research on Aging.

Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D., the Rosalind E. Franklin Professor of Genetics and Health Policy, Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Law, and Co-Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University, has been studying and teaching the ethical, legal, and social implications of developments in genetics for more than a quarter of a century and has published 2 books and more than 75 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She has been an active participant in policy debates advising the National Human Genome Research Institute as well as numerous other federal and international bodies on an array of topics, ranging from issues in children’s health, including newborn screening, to the ethical conduct of research involving human subjects. In these roles, she has helped develop policy for numerous national and international organizations. She is a member of the Health Sciences Policy Board of the IOM and recently served on the Committee on the Use of Third Party Toxicity Research with Human Research Participants of the Science, Technology, and Law Program and the Committee on Genomics and the Public’s Health in the 21st Century.

Firdaus S. Dhabhar, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from The Rockefeller University in 1996. He is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Dhabhar’s laboratory has elucidated the psychophysiological, cellular, and molecular mechanisms by which acute versus chronic stressors respectively enhance or suppress in vivo immune responses. A large part of his research is focused on examining the newly appreciated immuno-enhancing and potentially health-promoting effects of acute or short-term stress. Dr. Dhabhar has received the Council of Graduate Schools Distinguished Dissertation Award and the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society Young Investigator Award. He has served on three National Academies committees, been a grant reviewer for the NIH, and is an elected member of the Scientific Council of the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society.

Guang Guo, Ph.D., combines research expertise in the sociological analysis of adolescents’ well-being, statistical methods, and genetic analysis of complex traits in humans. Dr. Guo’s primary interest is in gene-environment interactions in human behavior. He is leading efforts in the field of sociology to incorporate recent advances in genetic research. In addition, he is editing two special issues for two major sociology journals (Social Forces and Sociological Methods & Research) on sociology and biology/genetics. In addition to his publications in the traditional sociological literature, he has published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, Behavior Genetics, Twin Research and Human Genetics, and Human Mutation.

Sharon L.R. Kardia, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan. She is Director of the Public Health Genetics Program, Co-Director of the Michigan Center for Genomics and Public Health, and Co-Director of the Life Sciences & Society Program housed in the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Kardia received her Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Michigan, was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and continued postdoctoral work in the Department of Human Genetics. She joined the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 1998. Dr. Kardia’s main research interests are in the genomic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors. She is particularly interested in gene-environment and gene-gene interactions, and in modeling complex relationships among genetic variation, environmental variation, and risk of common chronic diseases. Her work also includes using gene expression and proteomic profiles for molecular classification of tumors and survival analysis in lung and ovarian cancers. As a part of her center activity, Dr. Kardia is also actively working on moving genetics into chronic disease programs in state departments of health. Dr. Kardia has also been a member of two other National Academy of Sciences committees (Genomics and the Public’s Health in the 21st Century and Applications of Toxicogenomics Technologies to Predictive Toxicology).

Ichiro Kawachi, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Social Epidemiology and the Director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health, both at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Kawachi received his M.D. and Ph.D. both from the University of Otago, New Zealand. His research is focused on uncovering the social and economic determinants of population health. He was the co-editor (with Lisa Berkman) of the first textbook on Social Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press in 2000. Dr. Kawachi is the Senior Editor (social epidemiology) of the international journal Social Science & Medicine, as well as an Editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Recently, he served on the IOM’s Committee to Review and Assess NIH’s Strategic Plan to Reduce Health Disparities.

Caryn Lerman, Ph.D., is Mary W. Calkins Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Abramson Cancer Center. As the Principal Investigator of a National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Institute on Drug Abuse Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (P50) Grant, her research focuses on genetic influences on nicotine dependence and response to pharmacotherapy. She has published more than 210 peer-reviewed articles on genetics, cancer, and tobacco use, including work on health policy and ethical issues. Dr. Lerman has been a recipient of the Society of Behavioral Medicine New Investigator Award, the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology, and the Cullen Award for tobacco research from the American Society of Preventive Oncology. She has served on the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors (1998-2003) and the National Human Genome Research (ELSI) Evaluation and Planning Review Board (1997-2000).

Martha K. McClintock, Ph.D., is the Director of the Institute for Mind and Biology, Co-Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research, and a David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. Dr. McClintock’s research interests focus on the interactions among social behavior, neuroendocrinology, and gene expression, particularly those that affect reproduction and health throughout the life span. Working with both animal and parallel clinical processes in humans, she concentrates on the social and pheromonal control of fertility and reproductive hormones, as well as the effect of social isolation on mammary tumors. She is also interested in the evolutionary function of hormone-behavior interactions, particularly their role in sexual selection. Dr. McClintock is an IOM member and has served on the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences.

Ruth Ottman, Ph.D., is Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, and Deputy Director for Research, Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, Columbia University. She is also a research scientist in the Epidemiology of Brain Disorders Research Department, New York State Psychiatric Institute, the biological sciences core leader for the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program, and the Pre-doctoral Training Director of the Genetics of Complex Diseases Training Program, both at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. She is a member of numerous advisory committees, including the Board of Directors and the Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Foundation, the Genetics Task Force of the American Epilepsy Society, and the Genetics Commission of the International League Against Epilepsy. Dr. Ottman has published extensively and is recognized internationally for her work in epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, human genetics, and neurology. Her research addresses the role of inherited factors in susceptibility to neurologic disorders, primarily focusing on seizure disorders. She is also interested in methodological issues in genetic epidemiology, including research designs for testing gene-environment interaction, methods for collection of valid family history data, and approaches to assessing familial aggregation.

David Rimoin, M.D., Ph.D., was the founding president of the American College of Medical Genetics and the American Board of Medical Genetics. He has also served as the president of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Western Society for Pediatric Research, and the Western Society for Clinical Research. Dr. Rimoin is currently the Director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and holder of the Steven Spielberg Chair. He also serves as the Program Director of the Intercampus Medical Genetics Training Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, where is he Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Human Genetics. His primary research interests have focused on medical genetics and include the areas of genetic causes of birth defects, prevention of common genetic diseases, policy on the provision of genetic services, dwarfism and growth disorders, and heritable disorders of connective tissue. Dr. Rimoin is the author of more than 385 peer-reviewed publications, as well as the book Emery and Rimoin’s Principles and Practices of Medical Genetics. Dr. Rimoin is an IOM member and has served on several committees, most recently the IOM committee on Genomics and the Public’s Health in the 21st Century and the Clinical Research Roundtable.

Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D., is a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. Dr. Whitfield received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Santa Fe and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas Tech University. He also completed postdoctoral work at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado. His research focuses on the interplay that genetic, environmental, and cultural factors play in the health and aging process, particularly among African Americans. Overall, he has directed or been associated with projects that have received more than $17 million in funding, and he has authored or co-authored more than 60 journal articles and 18 books and chapters on his research. Dr. Whitfield is Chair of the Gerontological Society of America’s Task Force on Minority Issues and is past Chair of the organization’s Emerging Scholars Program. He is also a member of the American Psychological Association and past Chair of its Minority Aging Networks in Psychology Program, and he serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Urban African American Aging Research (University of Michigan) and the Export Center to Reduce Health Disparities in Rural South Carolina (Clemson University). Dr. Whitfield has also served on two National Academies committees, the most recent dealing with research opportunities in social psychology, personality, and adult developmental psychology.

IOM Staff

Lyla M. Hernandez is a Senior Program Officer with the IOM and Study Director for the IOM Committee on Assessing Interactions Among Social, Behavioral, and Genetic Factors in Health. During her tenure with the IOM, Ms. Hernandez has directed numerous studies within the Board on Health Sciences Policy and the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice on topics including the health of Gulf War veterans, the evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine, the education of public health practitioners, and the implications of genomics for public health. Prior to joining IOM, Ms. Hernandez coordinated policy development and health information for the American Pharmaceutical Association, served as Executive Vice President of the American Medical Peer Review Association, and was Program Coordinator for the California Quality of Care Program.

Andrew M. Pope, Ph.D., is Director of the Board on Health Sciences Policy at the IOM. With expertise in physiology and biochemistry, his primary interests focus on environmental and occupational influences on human health. Dr. Pope’s previous research activities focused on the neuroendocrine and reproductive effects of various environmental substances on food-producing animals. During his tenure at the National Academy of Sciences and since 1989 at the IOM, Dr. Pope has directed numerous reports on topics that include injury control, disability prevention, biologic markers, neurotoxicology, indoor allergens, and the enhancement of environmental and occupational health content in medical and nursing school curricula. Most recently, Dr. Pope directed studies on NIH priority-setting processes, fluid resuscitation practices in combat casualties, and organ procurement and transplantation.

Andrea M. Schultz is a Research Assistant for the Board on Health Sciences Policy at the IOM. Since joining the Board on Health Sciences Policy in December of 2004, she has worked with a number of committees, including the committees on Establishing of a National Stem Cell Bank Program, Increasing Rates of Organ Donation, Assessing Interactions Among Social, Behavioral, and Genetic Factors in Health and most recently the Development of a Reusable Facemask During an Influenza Pandemic. Ms. Schultz is a 2004 graduate of the University of Michigan where she earned a B.S. in cellular and molecular biology. While at the University of Michigan, she worked as a research assistant on a political priming study in the Department of Psychology. Ms. Schultz is currently continuing her education as a part-time graduate student at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services, where she is pursuing an M.P.H. in health policy.


Christine R. Hartel, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Studies of Behavior and Development at the National Research Council, where she also directs the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences. Previously, she served as Associate Executive Director for Science at the American Psychological Association and as Deputy Director for Basic Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She also was a consultant to the World Health Organization on the effects of marijuana. She has written many scientific articles and edited or co-edited four books. As a research psychologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, she earned the Army Research and Development Award, the Army’s highest civilian award for technical excellence. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a member of the American Psychological Society, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Gerontological Society of America. She has a Ph.D. in biopsychology from the University of Chicago.

Commissioned Paper Authors

Steve W. Cole, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor for the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), School of Medicine. He is also an Associate Member of the UCLA/Department of Energy Molecular Biology Institute and the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. Dr. Cole was awarded a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1993, followed by postdoctorate work in neuroimmunology at the UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Cole now studies the molecular mechanisms by which the nervous system controls viral and human gene expression. Much of his research focuses on HIV infection, including epidemiological studies of psychological risk factors, clinical studies on the autonomic nervous system’s effect on disease pathogenesis, and in vitro studies on the molecular signaling pathways by which neurotransmitters accelerate HIV replication. Other projects analyze neural control of Human Herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi’s Sarcoma herpesvirus) and cytokine production by dendritic cells (IL-12 and Interferonalpha). He recently developed a new vaccine vector that capitalizes on psychoneuroimmunology signaling principles to enhance cytotoxic T-cell responses to viral infections and tumors. His present studies use novel bioinformatic and statistical genetics tools to enhance the effectiveness of these vectors in the search for an AIDS vaccine.

Myles S. Faith, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Faith received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Hofstra University in 1995. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH-funded New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University. Dr. Faith’s research focuses on the development of child food preferences, eating styles, and body weight. With his colleagues, Dr. Faith studies the interplay of genetic and environmental influences on child eating patterns, parent-child feeding dynamics, and the measurement of child appetite and satiety. Dr. Faith and colleagues test interventions to help treat and/or prevent obesity in children. He holds multiple grants from the NIH to study these issues.

Tanja V.E. Kral, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She received her B.S. from the University of Applied Sciences at Muenster in 1998 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from Pennsylvania State University in 2003. Dr. Kral’s research interests include the study of human ingestive behavior in children/adolescents and adults in order to develop strategies for the prevention and the treatment of obesity. In particular, she is interested in characterizing individual differences in eating behavior among individuals of different weight status and in identifying factors (e.g., metabolic, environmental, psychological) that may predispose them to differential food and energy intakes.

Sharon Schwartz, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. She specializes in psychiatric epidemiology and received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University in 1985. She then did postdoctoral work at the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training program at Columbia, receiving an M.S. in epidemiology in 1988. She is currently the Training Coordinator of the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program. Her research focuses on methodological issues, particularly in psychiatric research, and the integration of methods from sociology, genetics, and epidemiology.

Robert J. Thompson, Ph.D., is Dean of Trinity College and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Duke University. He also holds appointments in the Department of Psychology: Social and Health Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Department of Pediatrics at Duke. Dr. Thompson completed his graduate work at the University of North Dakota, where he received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1971 and completed an internship in clinical psychology at Indiana University Medical Center. Professor Thompson’s research interests address how biological and psychosocial processes act together in development. His primary focus has been on the adaptation of children and their families to chronic illnesses and developmental problems, including sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and very low birth weight infants. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications, including a recent book entitled Adaptation to Chronic Childhood Illness, and has served on the editorial board for several scientific journals and as associate editor for the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Copyright © 2006, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK19923


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