Faculty Profile: Valerie Knopik, PhD

Valerie Knopik
Valerie Knopik, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior and Community Health (Research)
Psychiatry & Human Behavior and Commuinity Health
Work: +1 401-444-7573
Dr. Knopik's primary area of interest is the joint effects and interaction of genetic and environmental (specifically prenatal and early postnatal) risk factors on childhood externalizing behavior (e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and associated learning and cognitive deficits.


Dr. Knopik is Director of the Division of Behavioral Genetics and an Associate Professor (Research) in the Departments of Psychiatry & Human Behavior and Behavioral & Social Sciences at Brown University. She received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Genetics from the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2000. She subsequently completed a NIAAA-funded T-32 postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric genetics and genetic epidemiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis from 2000-2003 and continued on as junior faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine from 2003-2004. Dr. Knopik joined the faculty at Brown University in 2004.



Research Description

Dr. Knopik's primary area of interest is the joint effects of genetic and environmental (specifically prenatal and early postnatal) risk factors on child and adolescent externalizing behavior, associated learning and cognitive deficits, and later substance use. Her primary research involves a comprehensive approach, which incorporates community as well as high-risk genetically-informed samples, such as family, twin, children-of-twin, and case-crossover designs. Methodological approaches include, but are not limited to, biological pathway models, linkage, genome-wide association, epigenetics, and next generation sequencing. Dr, Knopik is currently conducting a NIDA-funded family-based case-crossover study to examine the influence of prenatal tobacco exposure and genes that code for drug metabolizing enzymes on later child behavior. In addition to her primary area of interest, she currently collaborate on several NIH-funded research projects including, but not limited to: genetics and cannabis-related outcomes (NIDA; Co-PIs Metrik and Knopik; PI Haney), sleep genetics (NIMH, PI Carskadon), genetics and adolescent alcohol use disorder (NIAAA, NICHD; PI Heath), biobehavioral markers of pediatric bipolar disorder (NIMH; PI Dickstein), family interventions for adolescent substance use (NIAAA, PI Spirito), mechanisms underlying alcohol and smoking behavior (NIDA, PI Kahler), and taste genetics (NIDCD, PI Hayes).

Grants and Awards

2002 Research Society for Alcoholism Junior Investigator Award
2002 Research Society for Alcoholism Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award finalist
2002-present National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program Awardee
2003 Research Society for Alcoholism Junior Investigator Award
2003 Research Society for Alcoholism Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award finalist
2003 ADHD Molecular Genetics Network Travel Award
2006 Research Excellence Award, Brown University
2007 NIDA Genetics Workgroup Sponsorship Award, "Prenatal drug exposure: Effects on neuropsychological outcomes"
2007 Fuller and Scott Early Career Award, Behavior Genetics Association
2009 Young Alumna Award for Outstanding Achievement Early in Career, Wesleyan College
2010 Lifespan Executive Mentorship Program, Lifespan, RI Hospital, Providence, RI
2011 Outstanding Research Mentor Award in Psychology, Dept of
Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University


1995-pres Member, Behavior Genetics Association
1997-pres Member, Association for Psychological Science (previously American Psychological Society)
2000-pres Member, International Society for Twin Studies
2001-pres Member, Research Society on Alcoholism
2005-pres Member, Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
2008-pres Elected member (2008-2012),
Elected Fellow (2012-present), American Psychopathological Association
2008-pres Member, Society for Research in Child Development
2010-pres Member, NY Academy of Sciences
2012-pres Member, American Academy for the Advancement of Science

Funded Research

GRANTS (Active only) – consultant roles not listed

1. Principal Investigator
Title: Prenatal Tobacco Exposure: Effects on Neuropsychological Outcomes and ADHD
NIDA, R01 DA023134-01A2
Start Date: 9/30/2008; End Date: 6/30/2013
Total costs: $2,805,505

2. Co-Investigator
Title: Intrinsic Circadian Period: Development, Delayed Phase, and Genetic Associations
NINDS, R01 (PI: Carskadon)
Start Date: 4/1/08; End Date: 3/31/13
Total Costs: $3,134,809

3. Co-Investigator/ PI of RI Hospital Subcontract
Title: Effects of the Family Check-Up on Adolescents with Alcohol-Related Events and their Adolescent Siblings
NIAAA, R01 AA-017659-01 (PI: Spirito)
Start Date: 8/01/08; End Date: 7/31/13
Total Costs: $3,166,106

4. Co-Investigator
Title: Prospective Study of Depressed Mood: Short Sleep and Serotonergic Genes
NIMH, R01 MH079179-01A2 (PI: Carskadon)
Start Date: 12/19/08; End Date: 11/30/13
Total Costs: $3,074,123

5. Co-Investigator
Title: Bio-Behavioral Markers of Bipolar Conversion
(PI: Dickstein)
Start Date: 10/1/2009; End Date: 9/30/2014
Total costs: $1,850,000

6. Co-Investigator/PI of RI Hospital Subcontract
Title: Alcohol Use Disorder in Young Women: Genetic Epidemiology: MOAFTS Wave 7
NIAAA, R01 (PI: Heath)
Start Date: 09/30/2009; End Date: 8/31/2014
Total costs: $3,333,612

7. Co-Investigator
Title: Marijuana Relapse: Influence of Tobacco Cessation and Varenicline 1R01DA031005-01 (PI: Haney)
Start Date: 09/30/2010; End Date: 6/30/2015
Total Costs (year): $498,587

8. Co-Investigator
Title: Impact of Receptor Polymorphisms on Sensations from Common Oral Irritants
R03 DC010904-01 (PI: Hayes)
Total Costs: 463,250

9. Co-investigator
Title: Influences on Dual Processing Modes of Decision-Making Across the Lifespan
R01 DA032457 (PI: Maddox)
Total Costs: $2,658,793

GRANTS (Completed)
1. Principal Investigator
Title: ADHD in children of mothers who smoked during
pregnancy: Does the effect interact with paternal alcoholism?
NIAAA, P50 AA11998 (Center PI: Heath)
Pilot project (part of P50 Center grant)
Start Date: 1/1/2004; End Date: 12/31/2008

2. Principal Investigator
Title: Externalizing Behavior: Genetics x Prenatal Nicotine
NIDA, K01 DA017671
Start Date: 7/1/2004; End Date: 6/30/2009; No cost extension until 12/2009
Total Costs: $778,551

3. Co-Investigator/ PI of RI Hospital Subcontract
Title: Substance Use Prevention Program for Preadolescents with Psychiatric Disorders
NIDA, R21 DA024207-01 (PI: Spirito)
Start Date: 7/01/08; End Date: 6/30/10
Total Costs: $442,250

4. Co-Investigator/PI of RI Hospital Subcontract
Title: Reversal Learning in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder – Recovery Act Administrative Supplement
NIMH, K22 (PI: Dickstein)
Start Date: 07/01/09; End Date: 06/30/10
Total Costs: $203,921

5. Co-Investigator
Title: GxE in early childhood: Twin Mothers
NICHD, R01 HD49024 (PI: Heath)
Start Date: 1/1/2005; End Date: 12/31/2009
Total costs: $3,057,764

6. Co-Principal Investigator
Title: Genetic variation and marijuana's pharmacologic and cue-elicted effects
NIDA, R03 (Co-PI: Metrik)
Start Date: 10/1/2009; End Date: 8/31/2011
Total costs: $485,375

7. Co-Investigator/ PI of RI Hospital Subcontract
Title: Mechanisms Linking Alcohol Use and Smoking Relapse Risk
NIDA, R01 AA016978-01A1 (PI: Kahler)
Start Date: 4/01/08; End Date: 3/31/12
Total Costs: $2,167,524

GRANTS (Mentoring role)

1. Primary Sponsor
Title: Psychogenetic Factors in Project REACH
NIMH, K01 MH087240 (PI: Nugent)
Start Date: 9/1/2009; End Date: 8/31/2014
Total Costs: $728,251
2. Co-Mentor
Title: Postpartum Depression: Role of Sleep & Genetic Risk in Postpartum Mood Disorders
K23 MH086689-01A1 (PI: Sharkey)
Start Date: 12/1/2010; End Date: 11/30/2015
3. Co-mentor
Title: A Program of Research and Mentorship on Alcohol Use and Intimate Partner
K24 AA019707-01A1 (PI: Stuart)
Start Date: 4/1/2011; End date: 3/31/2016
Estimated total costs: 870,615
4. Co-mentor
Title: Gene x environment effects on PTSD
IK2 CX000525-01A1 (PI: Kimbrell)
Start Date: 1/1/2012; End date: 12/31/2017
Estimated total costs: $952,651