Daniel Bustamante, a Ph.D. candidate in VCU Integrative Life Sciences doctoral program with a concentration on Behavioral & Statistical Genetics, was awarded a National Institute of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA) F31 grant.
Bustamante is the Principle Investigator studying the risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse disorder (SUD) as a result of traumatic experiences during childhood and early adolescence. The project, titled “Longitudinal neuroimaging and statistical genetics modeling of substance use and trauma-related phenotypes,” will study how genetic, neurodevelopmental and environmental factors contribute to an increased risk for adolescents to present with these disorders, and how other risk factors, such as personality traits, come into play.
The grant will allow Bustamante to continue to fully dedicate his time in a training fellowship under then mentorship of Michael C. Neale, Ph.D. and Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. professor and associate professor, respectively, of psychiatry and human molecular genetics at VCU School of Medicine, and at VCU Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG).
“The F31 award will allow me to continue to fully focus on research, as I have been doing under VIPBG’s NIH/National Institute of Mental Health T32 training grant for the last two years. The F31 mechanism offers new avenues of training since it carries more administrative responsibilities to the fellows, states Bustamante. “Overall, the F31 it is important to me, because it will help me to i) continue researching in neuroimaging and advanced genetic modeling for the completion of my dissertation research, and ii) pursuing my long-term career goal of becoming an independent and federally-funded multidisciplinary researcher. And finally, it is important due to the opportunity of keep researching and collaborating with other researchers to the development of these fields, and potentially increase the benefits for the society from the study results”.