I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), and the Department of Medicine, Division of Genetic Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). I received my Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of Sussex, where I worked with Drs. Dai Stephens and Dora Duka using behavioral genetics and neuroscience tools to study substance use disorders and impulsivity in both animal and human subjects. In 2016, I began a postdoc with Dr. Abraham Palmer at UCSD. In April 2019, I was promoted to my current position as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD. I have been working in the area of human substance use disorder (SUD) genetics for over 6 years, and animal SUD genetics for a decade. I currently have 53 publications, published in top-tier journals (Nature Genetics, Nature Neuroscience, American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry), and I am an active member of many professional societies and international consortiums (the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, PsycheMERGE, the Externalizing Consortium, the Latin American Genomics Consortium).
My work is focused on understanding causal factors contributing to substance use disorders and diseases characterized by high levels of impulsivity. In the past, I used behavioral and pharmacological experiments and molecular analysis to address this question, with special emphasis on translational validity to human studies. I identified that high impulsivity was both a cause and a consequence of human and mouse alcohol binge drinking. My current research focuses on the quantitative analysis of complex traits in humans, and translating some of the research findings in mouse and rat models. More recently, I use big data and high-throughput phenotyping to identify individuals with substance use disorders phenotyped by using electronic health records, leveraging access to the large-scale biobank from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (BioVU). Over the next decade, I seek to integrate the oceans of data generated (and continually expanding!) by human SUD genetics research with data from model organisms, with the goal of furthering our biological understanding of SUDand bringing the most promising results to the clinic.