Data Collaborators

The following projects have been granted access to the Spit for Science data for the purpose of secondary data analyses.

Academic Outcomes

Amy Adkins, Ph.D., Peter Barr, Ph.D., Sally Kuo & Nathaniel Thomas (Psychology) - Examine how self-reported survey data is associated with academic performance and retention and if University engagement modifies these associations

Amy Adkins, Ph.D. & Morgan Debusk-Lane(Psychology) - Examine substance use for both the entire college experience and in relation to educational outcomes.

Anna Docherty, Ph.D., Silviu Bacanu, Ph.D. & Arden Moscati, Ph.D.(Psychiatry/VIPBG) - This exploratory project will map out genetic score associations with the entire phenome of traits available, to produce a broad picture of polygenic prediction across health factors, student success, and psychopathology. We will also use grade point average as phenotype to observe genetic associations with student success.

Bethany Coston, Ph.D. (Gender Sexuality and Womens Studies) - Explore the specific health and academic-related effects of dating and sexual violence for LGBTQ+ VCU college students in an effort to directly inform programming and policy-specific changes on campus.

Chelsea Derlan, Ph.D., & Eryn Delaney(Psychology) - The present study aims to contribute to the literature by testing a mediation model to examine whether ERI predicts individual and contextual factors (e.g., social support, mental health, physical health, and discrimination), which in turn, predicts academic achievement among emerging adults, particularly ethnic-racial minority students.

Daphne Rankin, M.S. (Office of Strategic Enrollment Management) - Explore variables related to student retention

Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D., Nathaniel Thomas & Zoe Neale (Psychology) - Explore the relationship between genetic risk for depression and cannabis use on cannabis frequency, depressive symptoms, and academic outcomes

Susanna Wu-Pong, Ph.D.(School of Pharmacy) - Examining predictors of academic success and student retention


Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., Laura Eddy & Melissa Dvorsky(Psychology) - Explore previous ADHD diagnosis and treatment items

Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., Hana-May Eadeh, Laura Eddy & Rosanna Breaux(Psychology) - Examine rates of suicidal ideation, plan, and attempts among college students at VCU and explore whether associations identified in past studies are consistent in this diverse population. And explore whether ADHD acts as a moderator of the relationship between variables identified in past research and suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts. 

Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., Jacquelyn Meyers, Ph.D., Jian Zhang, Ph.D., Bernice Porjesz, Ph.D.(VCU-Psychology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center) - Investigate the association of 3q26 with ADHD, substance use disorders, and related externalizing behaviors in the Spit for Science sample.

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Aaron Wolen, Ph.D., Jessica Salvatore, Ph.D.&Mikhail Dozmorov, Ph.D.(Human and Molecular Genetics, Psychology & Biostatistics) - To examine how alcohol dependence genetic predispositions influence pathways to emerging adulthood relationship quality and partner selection, and how characteristics of one's relationships and partner further shape trajectories of alcohol misuse

Aderonke Akinkugbe, Ph.D. &Oswaldo Moreno, Ph.D.(Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach & Psychology) - To investigate negative life events (NLE) as a predictor of alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, other illicit drug abuse, and other illicit drug dependence in a sample of college age young adults. This study also aims to investigate the role of race/ethnicity in modifying this association.

Albert Ksinan, Ph.D.(Psychology) - This research focuses on the relationship between genetic risk factors related to externalizing behaviors, and alcohol use among college students. Specifically, it will explore whether a polygenic risk score (PRS) behaviors predicts trait impulsivity, which is then hypothesized to predict alcohol use longitudinally.

Albert Lee, Ph.D. & Trey Spindle (Department of Mathematics) - To identify predictors and risk factors of substance use and or mental health problems.

Alexis Edwards, Ph.D.& Lina Homman (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - Examine prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) and Internalizing Disorders (ID)

Alexis Edwards, Ph.D., Brien Riley, Ph.D.(Psychiatry/VIPBG) - Phenotypic and genetic data analysis to conduct a genetic meta-analysis of SRE scores

Amy Adkins, Ph.D. & Zackaria Niazi (Psychology) - To examine connection between parenting style and alcohol use, and use of tobacco drugs

Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D., Cassie Overstreet & Terrell Hicks(Psychiatry/VIPBG) - To determine rates of cannabis use among a representative college sample across trauma type (i.e. accidental, interpersonal) and by sex and to examine the longitudinal relationship between sex, trauma exposure, psychiatric functioning and cannabis use

Andrew Barnes, Ph.D. & Rose Bono (Healthcare Policy and Research) - Peer influences on substance use

Anna Docherty, Ph.D. (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - To identify associations of PRS and LRS with personality traits in individuals close to prodromal age and to refine risk phenotypes base on performance in predicting PRS and LRS 

Caitlin Martin, M.D & Mishka Terplan. M.D (VCU, School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology) - To compare the incidence of prescription drug misuse, illicit drug use, and substance use disorders by gender among young adults during their college years

Carley Lovelle, MS, RN (Family and Community Health Nursing) - An exploratory analysis of psychological and genetic based outcomes related to binge drinking and binge eating behaviors in a college age population

Chelsea Derlan, Ph.D., Fantasy Lozada, Ph.D.,  Chloe Walker, Deon Brown, Maria Cisneros, Sandra Emmanuell Yankah & Tennisha Riley (Psychology) - To explore whether 3 components of ethnic-racial identity (i.e., ethnic-racial identity exploration, resolution, and affirmation) predict substance use/abuse among college students?

Christopher Reina, Ph.D. & Leah Katell (Management) - To examine whether students’ gender and ethnicity-race moderate the relation between ethnic-racial identity and substance use/abuse

Dace Svikis, Ph.D. & Pamela Dilion, PharmD (Psychology & Center for Clinical and Translational Research) - Determine prevalence of CYP1A2*1F and CYPIA2*1A alleles associated with acute caffeine rates and compare demographic variables as well as measure of caffeine and other substances (tobacco, alcohol and other drugs) use.

Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D. & Eva Lancaster (Psychology) - Examining phenotypes associated with the GRID1 gene to determine how it contributes to the risk for alcohol dependent behaviors

Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D., Jeanne Savage, Ph.D. & Zoe Neale(Psychology) - Explore the long-term effects of the prevention intervention programs and to examine whether baseline risk factors measured in the Spit for Science fall survey play a role in the response to a prevention program

Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D. & Jeanne Savage, Ph.D. (Psychology) - Aim 1: To characterize internalizing and externalizing pathways to alcohol misuse in college students, and investigate the validity of drinking motives as intermediate markers of these pathways. Aim 2: To explore the epidemiology of drinking motives, including their longitudinal relationships with internalizing (depression, anxiety), and externalizing (antisocial behavior, illicit drug use) psychopathology and alcohol misuse, and to identify environmental and psychosocial risk factors that are shared across or discriminate between distinct drinking motives.

Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D. & Rebecca Smith(Psychology) - To examine the effect of genetic risk, peer substance use, and social support on college students’ substance use

Francsico Caamano Isorna, Ph.D. (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) - To evaluate the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis consumption, and to identify their associations with the consumption of medical drugs, among university students.

Gregory Smith, Ph.D. & Sarah Peterson, M.S.(University of Kentucky)- Explore Personality (UPPS), drinking motives, drinking expectancies, and alcohol outcomes

Jasmin Vassileva, Ph.D.(Psychiatry) - To identify substance-specific profiles predicting addiction to different classes of drugs, and explore whether distinct multivariate phenotypic and genotypic combinations can predict future abuse/dependence on specific classes of drugs

Jasmin Vassileva, Ph.D.& Woo-Young Ahn, Ph.D. (VCU- Psychiatry & Psychology at Seoul National University) - Explore the hypothesis that distinct multivariate phenotypic and genotypic combinations can predict future abuse/dependence on specific classes of drugs

Jinni Su, Ph.D. (Psychology) - Understanding Gene-Environment Interaction in Alcohol and Substance Use Problems Among African-American Young Adults

Kaitlin Bountress, Ph.D. (Psychiatry) - Identifying latent classes of drinkers and examine differences in those classes on demographic, trauma-related, and motives for alcohol use variables.

Karen Chartier, Ph.D. (School of Social Work) - Examine Associations between participation in social activities and alcohol outcomes

Karen Chartier, Ph.D. (School of Social Work) - Examine the sociodemographic characteristics, beliefs about drinking, and drinking behaviors and compare them to students who reported alcohol related flushing but no medication use

Karen Chartier, Ph.D. & Taryn O'Shea (School of Social Work) - Examine the relationships between social factors, alcohol consumption and the genes associated with the alcohol flushing reaction in Asian Americans.

Linda Hancock, Ph.D. & Kristen Donovan, MPH (Wellness Center) - Evaluate the impact of a college campus multi-year social norms marketing intervention on student’s alcohol-use perceptions, consumption and blackouts using the Spit for Science research project.

Linda Hancock, Ph.D. (Wellness Center) - Evaluate the impact of a college campus multi-year social norms marketing intervention on student’s alcohol-use perceptions, consumption and blackouts using the Spit for Science research project.

Nao Hagiwara, Ph.D. (Psychiatry) - Examining whether an association between genetic predisposition and substance use can be moderated by participant race and roommate race

Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D. (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - Identify patterns of substance use that are best informed by sex, personality, psychiatric symptoms, and environmental risks.

Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D. (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - The extent polygenic risk for schizophrenia predicts cannabis use and cannabis use frequency in college students

Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D. & Elizabeth Long, Ph.D. (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - Examine the gene-environment influences that increase cannabis use in African Americans

Paul Perrin, Ph.D. & Michael Trujillo (Psychology) - To examine the influence of race/ethnicity and gender on drinking and substance use in college students

Rashelle B. Hayes, Ph.D. (Psychology) - Evaluate both obesity-related behaviors (i.e. BMI, eating, diet, family history, physical activity) as well as substance use behaviors (i.e. ecig use, tobacco use, illicit drug use) within this student population in order to discern what are ideal mechanisms to develop future intervention work for either obesity management or substance use prevention/treatment.

Tiffany Green, Ph.D. & Brandyn Churchill(VCU Health Behavior and Policy and Vanderbilt University) - To investigate the potential links between family and social context, and mental/behavioral outcomes (i.e. smoking, drinking, substance use and depression) among U.S.-born and foreign-born college students.

Caffeine Use

Dace Svikis, Ph.D. & David Pomm (Psychology) - Examining predictors of caffeine withdrawal symptoms in college freshman

Dace Svikis, Ph.D. (Psychology) - To identify, within the complex array of biological and behavioral factors that affect physiologic and psychologic responses to caffeine, those that most significantly contribute to adverse health outcomes associated with caffeine use.

Jack Hettema, M.D., Ph.D.& Arden Moscati, Ph.D. (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - To investigate the statistical connections between anxiety and caffeine phenotypes and adenosine genes

Dace Svikis, Ph.D., Pamela Dillon, PharmD. & Leroy Thacker, Ph.D.(Psychology, Center for Clinical and Translational Research & Biostatistics) -  To identify, within the complex array of biological and behavioral factors that affect physiologic and psycho logic responses to caffeine, those that most significantly contribute to adverse health outcomes associated with caffeine use. 

Depression, Anxiety and other Mental Health Conditions

Jack Hettema, M.D., Ph.D. (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - Explore genetic association analyses focused on submitted anxiety questions

Jack Hettema, M.D., Ph.D. & Jessica Bourdon (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - To assess how much phenotypic and genotypic data relates to anxiety disorders and stressful life events

Jeanine Guidry, Ph.D. (Robertson School of Media and Culture) - Explore the role of Social media use in depression and social support.

Kenneth Kendler, M.D. & Arden Moscati, Ph.D.(Psychiatry/VIPBG) - To examine the influence of psychosocial and genetic factors on misery phenotypes closely connected to major depression and generalized anxiety in the Spit for Science participants of empirical European and East Asian ancestry through a comprehensive series of methods

Rosalie Corona, Ph.D. & Sarah Clark(Psychology) - Expand research on self-reported depression severity among college students using latent growth curve modeling to identify distinct trajectories of depressed mood

Roxann Roberson-Nay, Ph.D.(Psychiatry/VIPBG)- Explore prevalence of nicotine use and dependence among persons with panic disorder

Sally Mountcastle, Ph.D. (Kinesiology and Health Sciences) - Examine investigate the association between food allergy and intolerance and anxiety and depression.

Susan Bodnar-Deren, Ph.D. & Peter Carrico (Sociology) - Examine the relationship between SES and depression, and how this relationship is mediated or moderated by personality and/or stressful life events

Eating Behavior

Karen Stewart, Ph.D. (Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University)- Explore reward based eating and weight trajectories in college students

Linda Hancock, Ph.D. & Jessica Bourdon (The Wellness Center, Psychiatry) - Exploring the association of food insecurity with various mental health outcomes (anxiety, depression, stressful life events, alcohol use disorder), demographic information, and possibly some behavioral correlates.

Sally Mountcastle, Ph.D. (Kinesiology and Health Sciences) - Examine prevalence of food allergies in the Spit for Science sample

Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D. & Megan Harney (Psychology) - To develop a risk-factor model for the onset and frequency of binge eating in college women

Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D., Courtney Simpson & Rachel Boutte(Psychology) - To explore binge eating prevalence in Spit for Science sample

Trisha Saunders & Jessica Bourdon (The Wellness Center & Psychiatry) - Establish the predictive relationship between food insecurity and mental health symptoms 

Mindfulness/Life Satisfaction

Chris Reina, Ph.D. & Kathleen Keeler (Department of Management) - To understand how students level of mindfulness changes over time and how it predicts variance in outcomes such as well-being (flourishing), relationship satisfaction, anxiety, school performance, as well as engagement in school.

Chris Reina, Ph.D. & Joshua Fontaine (Department of Management) - To understand how students’ levels of mindfulness vary and how variation in mindfulness is predictive of mental health (depression and anxiety), substance misuse (alcohol and marijuana), well being/life satisfaction, school engagement (gym swipes and extra curricular activities) and school performance (GPA).

Karen Chartier, Ph.D. & Keith Watts (Social Work) - This study hypothesizes that the variable “participation in social activities” will be positively correlated with the variable “life satisfaction” for LGBTQ participants. More specifically, as levels of participation in social activities (independent variable) reported by LGBTQ participants increase, their reported levels of life satisfaction (dependent variable) will also increase.

Kirk Warren Brown, Ph.D. (Psychology) - To explore the specific associations between trait mindfulness and genetic markers

Philip Gnilka, Ph.D. & Morgan Reid (Psychology) - To understand how the number of hours worked per week impacts life satisfaction, particularly for first-generation students. Social engagement will be examined as the potential mechanism for the relationship between work and life satisfaction

Nicotine Use

Aashir Nasim, Ph.D.(Vice President for Inclusive Excellence & African American Studies) - Pathways to Smoking in African Americans

Cristina Bares, Ph.D.(School of Social Work, University of Michigan) - Explore nicotine dependence and mood variability 

Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D. & Megan E Cooke, Ph.D. (Psychology) - Explore usage of alternative tobacco products

Hermine Maes & Elizabeth Do, Ph.D. (Human and Molecular Genetics & Health Behavior and Policy) - Conducting GWAS to identify genetic variants that confer susceptibility to smoking behavior

Hermine Maes, Ph.D.& Megan Cooke, Ph.D. (Human and Molecular Genetics & Pscyhology)- Examine the prevalence of use across different tobacco products; specifically examining lifetime and recent use of tobacco products

Seung Bin Cho, Ph.D., Erin Berenz, Ph.D. &  Chelsea M Cox (VCU Psychology, University Illinois, Psychology, University Illinois, Psychology). Examine pre-college and college-onset interpersonal potentially traumatic events (PTE) and their relation to smoking status, smoking trajectory and/or nicotine dependence, as well as whether these associations are moderated by sex.

Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., Marzena Hiller & Tory Spindle(Psychology) - Examine electronic cigarette use and uptake of cigarette smoking


David Chester, Ph.D. (Psychology) - investigation pathways that link genotypes to aggressive phenotype

Jeffrey Green, Ph.D. (Psychology) - Explore narcissist behavior and how it predicts interpersonal (e.g., poorer quality relationships, difficulty in group settings, exploiting resources) and intrapersonal (aggression, defensiveness in response to negative feedback) outcomes

Philip Gnilka, Ph.D.  (Psychology) - Explore relationships between the higher order personality dimensions and the two perfectionism dimensions; 2) determine the incremental validity of the two perfectionism dimensions in the prediction of depression, anxiety, and social support after controlling for the higher order personality characteristics; 3) determine if social support mediates the relationships between both dimensions of perfectionism and the outcomes depression and anxiety.

Robin Everhart, Ph.D. (Psychology) - Examine the association between physical health and risk taking behaviors

Physical Activity

Edmund Acevedo, Ph.D. & Amanda Mischo  (Kinesiology and Health Sciences) - To examine the impact of physical activity, participation on self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression and academic performance

Hermine Maes, Ph.D. (Human and Molecular Genetics ) Investigating the gene-environment interplay between obesity, physical activity and emotional well-being among African American college students

Relationships - Romantic, Peer, Pets and Family/Parenting

Christine M Schubert, Ph.D. (Biostatistics) - To examine the effect of pet ownership on emotional health and substance use

James McCullough, Ph.D. & Sarah Clark (Psychology) - Explore whether parenting styles and self-reported resilience can predict current depressive symptoms among college students

Jessica Salvatore, Ph.D. & Nathaniel Thomas(Psychology) - Examine changing peer and romantic partner influences on substance use outcomes in the Spit for Science sample, and to specifically test the hypothesis that peer influences on substance use may attenuate over time, while partner influences may increase over time.

Sandra Barker, Ph.D. & Christine M Schubert, Ph.D (Psychiatry & Biostatistics) - Exploratory and categorical data analysis on the associations of pet ownership and attachment to demographic and mental health disorders

Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D. & Nikola Zaharakis, Ph.D. (Psychology) - Examine the different alcohol communication patterns among parents and their emerging adult offspring enrolled in college

Sleep Behavior

Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. & Mackenzie Lind (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - Examine prevalence and correlates of sleep problems in relation to trauma, PTSD, internalizing symptoms, and alcohol use.

Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. & Mackenzie Lind (Psychiatry/VIPBG - Examine relationships between traumatic events, PTSD, alcohol use, and sleep in the S4S sample and conduct GWAS of sleep phenotypes within the S4S sample.

Bruce Rybarczyk, Ph.D. & Allison Baylor (Psychology) - Examine sleep Duration and Quality’s Relationship to Depressive Symptoms in College Students

Joseph Dzierzewski, Ph.D. & Scott Ravyts (Psychology) - To explore the prevalence of sleep deficiencies among racial/ethnic minorities and its association with poor health outcomes

Trauma, PTSD & Sexual Assault

Abigail Conley, Ph.D.(School of Education)- Sexual assault prevalence at VCU

Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. & Ashlee Moore (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - Examining PTSD symptoms across cohorts

Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. & Sage Hawn(Psychiatry/VIPBG & Psychology) - Exploring whether the relationship between pre-college sexual assault and college-onset victimization is moderated by social support and to then examine if social support is mediated the relationship between pre-college sexual assault and college-onset victimization

Ananda Amstadter, Ph.D. & Shannon Cusack (Psychiatry/VIPBG) - To determine the prevalence of potentially traumatic events and probable PTSD using the PC-PTSD screener, and determine if probable PTSD differs by key demographic variables (e.g., sex, race/ethnicity); 2) examine the correlates of probable PTSD; and 3) examine the prospective relationship between probable PTSD and other associated psychiatric and substance phenotypes (e.g., depression, alcohol use phenotypes, substance use phenotypes), as well as other psychosocial constructs (e.g., resilience, social support).

Bethany Coston, Ph.D. (Gender Sexuality and Womens Studies) - Explore rates of interpersonal violence victimization (e.g. physical assault, sexual assault, and unwanted sexual experiences) among VCU’s sexual minority students. (2) Explore rates of minority stress (e.g., depression, anxiety, fear, restlessness) among VCU’s sexual minority students. (3) Examine how minority stress and experiences of interpersonal violence interact to impact students’ drug, alcohol, and substance use

David Chan, Ph.D., Hollee McGinnis, Ph.D., Michael Broda, Ph.D. & Joy Ma (Mathematical Sciences, Social Work, School of Education & Mathematical Sciences) - The purpose of our inquiry is to better understand the mediating/moderating and main effects of perceived social support on the relation between trauma exposure and mental health and academic outcomes.

Erin Berenz, Ph.D. (University Illinois, Psychology) -Examine the genetic influence of trauma exposure, PTSD, and genetic overlap other trauma related phenotypes (e.g., substance use, anxiety symptoms, depression symptoms) in a large undergraduate sample via standard genome-wide analysis methods

Erin Berenz, Ph.D. & Rachel Ranney (University Illinois, Psychology)- Investigate how the personality factor of neuroticism leads to a variety of psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and alcohol problems in a sub-set of trauma-exposed students participating in Spit for Science. 

Kaitlin Bountress, Ph.D. (Psychiatry) - Examine alcohol use and interpersonal trauma intercept (at the beginning of college) and growth rate (over the college years) as predictors of trauma-related drinking to cope.

Karen Chartier, Ph.D. & Claire Luce(School of Social Work) - To examine the relationship between sexual assault and largest number of drinks consumed in a 24-hour period.

Karen Chartier, Ph.D. & Laura Swan (School of Social Work) - The purpose of this proposed analysis is to explore the relationship between depression and experiences of unwanted or uncomfortable sexual events, among women in their sophomore year of college.

Karen Chartier, Ph.D. & Thomas Buckley (School of Social Work) - The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between traumatic lifetime events experienced by an individual and the effect on mental health (i.e. depression and anxiety) later in life.

Marcia Winter, Ph.D. & Cathryn Richmond (Psychology) - To examine (1) a latent variable path model in which a history of traumatic and stressful events predicts internalizing symptomatology via individual resourceful adaptation; (2) whether the model varies (is moderated by) genetic factors that we will identify through guided analysis.

Ruth Brown, Ph.D., Olivia Beck & Shannon Cusack (Psychiatry) - Run correlation between stressful life events and alcohol use in regards to gender.

Sandra Gramling, Ph.D. & Farah Aslanzadeh (Psychology) - Examine intra- and interpersonal characteristics into the trajectory of bereaved college freshman across four years of college.

Sandra Gramling, Ph.D. & Jane Smith(Psychology) - Examine changes in quantity, frequency, and motives of alcohol use pre- and post-lost in a bereaved sample.


Judy Silberg, Ph.D.(Human and Molecular Genetics, Dept of Psychiatry) - Explore twin prevalence in Spit for Science sample

Scott Vrana, Ph.D. & Theresa Cash (Psychology) - Explore behavioral health and personality correlates of decreased sound tolerance conditions