Purdue HDFS professor and department head appointed as president of Behavior Genetics Association

Written By: Denise Buhrmester, buhrmest@purdue.edu

Valerie Knopick headshot

Valerie Knopik, the Ben and Maxine Miller Professor of Human Development and Family Science and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Purdue University is the new president of the Behavior Genetics Association (BGA).

Established in 1970, BGA is an international society that promotes research into the connections between genetic mechanisms; the environment; and behavior, both human and animal. BGA members support education and training in behavior genetics as well as dissemination and interpretation to the public. BGA has a strong tradition in twin, adoption and family study designs, and more recently in molecular approaches, including genome-wide and sequencing studies, gene expression and epigenetics.

 Knopik’s primary area of research focuses on joint effects of genetic, epigenetic and environmental (specifically prenatal and early postnatal) risk factors on birth outcomes, externalizing behavior (ADHD, conduct disorder), associated learning and cognitive deficits, and subsequent substance use. In addition, she collaborates with local, national and international scientists on several NIH-funded research projects. She has served, and is currently serving, as primary mentor on multiple NIH career development awards focused on prenatal and self-regulatory pathways to externalizing behaviors, biobehavioral pathways of development to adolescent substance use, genetic comorbidity of adolescent smoking and ADHD, and methodological approaches to gene-set and gene-network investigations of alcohol dependence, among other topics.

She is the associate editor for Behavior Genetics, serves on the editorial board of Psychological Medicine, is a consulting editor for Child Development, and is the lead author on the textbook “Behavioral Genetics.”

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