School of Medicine > Department of Psychiatry > Drug Dependence
Skip to main content
Drug Dependence
Go Search
Drug Dependence
Oscar M. Harari, Ph.D.
Xin Zhou, Ph.D.
Sean D. Kristjansson, Ph.D.
Ruth Huang Miller, Ph.D.
Wei (Will) Yang, Ph.D.
Bo Zhang, Ph.D.
Sumithra Sankararaman
Ni Huang, Ph.D.

Sean D. Kristjansson, Ph.D. 


 Sean D. Kristjansson, Ph.D.

Year in Program:   Completed Second Year, June 2013

Primary Mentor:

  Andrew C. Heath, D.Phil.
  Spencer T. Olin Professor of Psychiatry
  Director, Midwest Alcoholism Research Center
  Washington University School of Medicine

Project Description

The Human Connectome Project (HCP), for which Washington University is a lead institution and the largest data-collection site, will use state-of-the-art neuroimaging methods and methods of analysis to develop brain connectivity data in unprecedented resolution and detail, across a large number of young adults sampled in families (twin pairs and their siblings; other sibships).  Although the project is focused on healthy normals, excluding individuals with histories of severe psychopathology, current and former smokers will be included in the sampling frame, providing a unique opportunity to explore relationships between brain connectivity patterns and this high prevalence addiction within a genetically informative paradigm.  Analysis of HCP data will occur within a graph-theoretic framework.  While incorporation of measured genetic data, with or without stratification by smoking status, is anticipated to be straightforward, integrating graph-theoretic approaches with the more traditional structural equation modeling approach used for the analysis of twin-family data will be more challenging.  Dr. Kristjansson will work jointly with the Petersen/Schlaggar Lab at Washington University (including consultation with Olaf Sporns at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, an HCP coinvestigator, who has pioneered the development of network analysis tools for the analysis of fMRI data) and the Heath lab to develop genetic data-analysis methods and tools that can be made available for general release to facilitate the analysis of HCP and other functional connectivity genetically informative data-sets.


Program Presentations

Glass JE, Kristjansson SD, Bucholz, KK. Oral presentation: The influence of alcohol stigma on perceptions of treatment need and help seeking: Results from a nationally representative sample. 16th Annual Conference, Society for Social Work and Research (Theme: Research That Makes a Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy), Washington, DC, January 2011.

Kristjansson SD. Oral presentation: Thinking about drinking: From biology to behavior.  Research Seminar Series, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, April 2011.

Lessov-Schlaggar CN, Lepore RL, Kristjansson SD, Schlaggar BL, Petersen SE, Madden PAF, Heath AC, Barch DM. Oral presentation: fMRI study in identical twin pairs discordant for regular smoking. 41st Annual Meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association, Newport, RI, June 2011.

Kristjansson SD, Agrawal A, Lynskey MT, Heath AC. Poster presentation: Drinking motives mediate the association between rs2236781 in GABRB1 and frequency of drinking to intoxication. NIDA/NIAAA Satellite Meeting on the Genetics and Epigenetics of Substance Abuse at the XIXth World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics, Washington, DC, September 2011. 

Bogdan R, Carey CE, Drabant EM, Agrawal A, Kristjansson SD, Hariri AR. Genetic variation in endocannabinoid signaling moderates the association between childhood maltreatment and amygdala habituation. Poster presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Hollywood, Florida, 2012.

Mulligan RC, Kristjansson SD, Reiersen AM, Lessov-Schlaggar CN, Parra A, Anokhin AP.  Association Between DRD4 Polymorphism and the Neural Correlates of Inhibitory Control in Young Adult Twins, Ninth Annual International Imaging Genetics Conference, University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA, 2013.


Program Publications

Kristjansson SD, Agrawal A, Lessov-Schlaggar CN, Madden PA, Lynne Cooper M, Bucholz KK, Sher KJ, Lynskey MT, Heath AC. The relationship between rs3779084 in the dopa decarboxylase (DDC) gene and alcohol consumption is mediated by drinking motives in regular smokers. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2012 Jan; 36(1):162-170. Epub 2011 Jul 28. PMID: 21797889. PMC3433798..

Littlefield AK, Agrawal A, Ellingson JM, Kristjansson S, Madden PAF, Bucholz KK, Slutske WS, Heath AC, Sher KJ. Does variance in drinking motives explain the genetic overlap between personality and alcohol use disorder symptoms? A Twin Study of Young Women.  Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2011 Dec; 35:2242-50. [Epub 2011 Jul 25]. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01574.x. PMID: 21790670. PMC3204320

Kristjansson SD, Pergadia ML, Agrawal A, Lessov-Schlaggar CN, McCarthy DM, Piasecki TM, Duncan AE, Bucholz KK, Madden PAF, Sher KJ, Heath AC. Smoking outcome expectancies in young adult female smokers: individual differences and associations with nicotine dependence in a genetically informative sample. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Jul; 116:37-44. Epub 2010 Dec 30. PMID: 21194853. PMC3105190.

Cook AE, Hacker DJ, Webb AK, Osher D, Kristjansson SD, Woltz DJ, Kircher JC. Lyin' eyes: ocular-motor measures of reading reveal deception. J Exp Psychol Appl. 2012 Sep; 18(3):301-13. doi: 10.1037/a0028307. Epub 2012 Apr 30. PMID: 22545928.

Lessov-Schlaggar CN, Lepore RL, Kristjansson SD, Schlaggar BL, Barnes KA, Petersen SE, Madden PA, Heath AC, Barch DM. Functional neuroimaging study in identical twin pairs discordant for regular cigarette smoking. Addict Biol. 2013 Jan; 18(1):98-108.  Epub 2012 Feb 17. PMID: 22340136. PMC3470739.

Kristjansson SD, Agrawal A, Lynskey MT, Chassin LA. Marijuana expectancies and relationships with adolescent and adult marijuana use. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Nov; 126(1-2):102-10. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.04.024. Epub 2012 Jun 8. PMID: 22682980.

Lessov-Schlaggar CN, Kristjansson SD, Bucholz KK, Heath AC, Madden PAF. Genetic influences on developmental smoking trajectories. Addiction. 2012 Sep;107(9):1696-704. Epub 2012 May 8. PMID: 22385035. PMC3412932.