Lab Director

Dr. Rohan Palmer began his career in Behavior Genetics at William Paterson University where he earned an undergraduate degree in Biology in 2005. Soon after, he attended graduate school at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. During his time at IBG, he trained in the study of genetic influences on behavior under the mentorship of John K. Hewitt. This included statistical programming and the use of multivariate and longitudinal methods to conduct research on comorbid substance use and disorders (SUDs). Upon earning his PhD in 2010, Dr. Palmer was appointed to the NIMH postdoctoral training grant in child mental health at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University. As a fellow, he conducted research on childhood/adolescent behaviors that predispose individuals to SUDs under Valerie Knopik. In 2012, he joined the faculty at Brown University and was awarded a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Mentored Research Scientist Award (K01). This NIAAA K01 focused his research on systems-based genetic studies of complex traits, specifically alcohol use disorder.

Dr. Palmer joined the Emory faculty as Assistant Professor in September 2016. He is currently engaged in whole-genome studies of substance use disorder and comorbid substance use problems using large epidemiological samples. Under his guidance, the BGA lab is also actively engaged in testing and developing statistical methods using whole-genome data. In 2018, he implemented the MAPme Study at Emory University, a community-based project that examines how patterns of substance use among college students change over time in relation to their psychological well-being, personality, genetic profile, and cognitive functioning. Through partnerships with other universities, this study has become a multi-site initiative. In addition, he provides methodological and statistical consultation to researchers interested in incorporating genetics/epigenetics into their research projects. He is an active member of both the Behavior Genetics Association, Research Study on Alcoholism, and the Association for Psychological Science. When he is not acting as a mentor or conducting research, Dr. Palmer teaches graduate and undergraduate courses (e.g, Psych 180, Psych 223/ 720). 

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