BMC Seminar Thursday 14th of February at 12:00 in room 201 Læknagarður
Speaker: Dr. Þórhildur (Þóra) Halldórsdóttir, post-doctoral fellow with Prof. Unnur Valdimarsdottir, at the Centre of Public Health Sciences.
Title: Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors Shaping Early Developmental Trajectories
Abstract: Psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence are an enormous burden for the young affected individuals, their loved ones, and society overall. Early identification and more effective prevention and treatment efforts for these disorders are therefore of paramount importance. Early life trauma, such as death of a parent and childhood abuse, is a robust predictor of these disorders. Yet there is marked variability in the outcomes of individuals exposed to early trauma, raising questions about individual differences in genetic vulnerability to adverse environments. To date, the complex relationship between environmental and genetic factors shaping the risk for stress-related psychiatric disorders remains poorly understood. During this talk, I will present recent findings from our group on the genetic and environmental risk factors shaping developmental trajectories in youth and discuss the implications of these findings.
Short bio: Dr. Thorhildur (Thora) Halldorsdottir received her PhD in Clinical Psychology under the mentorship of Thomas Ollendick, PhD at Virginia Tech. Her PhD focused on examining predictors and moderators of treatment outcomes in youth following empirically-supported psychosocial interventions. During her postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry with Elisabeth Binder, MD, PhD, Thora gained extensive knowledge on the genetics and epigenetics of psychiatric disorders and how they interact with early environmental stressors to confer risk for psychopathology in children and adolescents. Thora is currently a post-doctoral fellow with Unnur Valdimarsdottir, PhD, at the Centre of Public Health Sciences. Building on her background in developmental psychopathology and genetics, she is currently studying gene-by-environment interactions shaping the risk for psychiatric disorders across the developmental trajectory.