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Andrew van der Vaart

Andrew van der VaartEducation:

University of Virginia, B.A. in Cognitive Science (2009)
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
PhD Advisor: Michael Miles, MD, PhD
Graduate Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology


Research Interests:

Andrew’s long-standing interest has been in the brain’s ability to create subjective experience, despite being essentially a gelatinous lump. There are many angles from which approach this question; so far Andrew has tended toward neuronal gene expression (particularly of neurotransmitter receptors) and gene regulation. He is interested in drug addiction and schizophrenia as case studies of consciousness; the former being a sort of over-adaptive consciousness, the latter a dysregulated consciousness.

Personal Bio:

Andrew was born in Durham, N.C., then lived on a farm from ages 2-6 before moving to Raleigh, N.C. In high school, he wrestled and played tennis, and played in a noise rock band. He then attended the University of Virginia where he worked for an alternative student newspaper and acted/wrote in a sketch comedy group. He never stopped making noise rock, even here in Richmond, where he hopes to make a name for himself among the hipster crowd. He also enjoys eating.


Wang S, van der Vaart AD, Xu Q, Seneviratne C, Pomerleau OF, Pomerleau CS, Payne TJ, Ma JZ, Li MD. Significant associations of CHRNA2 and CHRNA6 with nicotine dependence in European American and African American populations. Hum Genet. 2014 May;133(5):575-86. PMCID: PMC3988215

Li MD, van der Vaart AD. MicroRNAs in Addiction: Adaptation's Middlemen? Molecular Psychiatry. 2011;16:1159-68.

Chen X, Brunzell DH, Jackson K, van der Vaart AD, Ma JZ, Payne TJ, Sherva R, Farrer LA, Gejman P, Levinson DF, Holmans P, Aggen S, Damaj I, Kuo P, Webb BT, Anton R, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J, Li MD, Kendler KS. ACSL6 Is Associated with the Number of Cigarettes Smoked and its Expression is Altered by Chronic Nicotine Exposure. PLoS ONE. 2011;6(12):e28790

Yoon D, Kim YJ, Cui WY, van der Vaart A, Cho YS, Lee JY, Ma JZ, Payne TJ, Li MD, Park T. Large-scale genome-wide association study of Asian population reveals genetic factors in FRMD4A and other loci influencing smoking initiation and nicotine dependence. Hum Genet. 2012 Jun;131(6):1009-21. doi: 10.1007/s00439-011-1102-x. Epub 2011 Oct 18. PMID: 22006218

Van der Vaart AD, Wolstenholme JT, Harris GM, Smith ML, Lopez M, Becker H, Williams RW, Miles MF. The Allostatic Impact of Chronic Ethanol on Gene Expression: A Genetic Analysis of Chronic Intermittent Ethanol Treatment in the BXD Cohort. Alcohol. 2016 Nov 1. pii: S0741-8329(15)30152-X. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2016.07.010.

Mamdani M, Williamson V, McMichael GO, Blevins T, Aliev F, Adkins A, Hack L, Bigdeli T, van der Vaart AD, Web BT, Bacanu SA, Kalsi G; COGA Consortium, Kendler KS, Miles MF, Dick D, Riley BP, Dumur C, Vladimirov VI. Integrating mRNA and miRNA Weighted Gene Co-Expression Networks with eQTLs in the Nucleus Accumbens of Subjects with Alcohol Dependence. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 18;10(9):e0137671. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137671. eCollection 2015.