Fazil Aliev, Ph.D.


Research Assistant Professor
(804) 828-8745

Research Assistant Professor
Ph.D. (1989), Moscow State University


College Behavioral and Emotional Health Institute

Research Interests

My current research is mainly concentrated on identifying genes involved in alcohol use disorders and related psychiatric outcomes. I play a leadership role in genetic analyses on the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), the Finnish Twin Studies (Finn Twin12, Finn Twin16), the Irish Affected Sibling Pair Study of Alcohol Dependence (IASPSAD), Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) projects and several other projects within human genetics groups as an assistant professor faculty member. I am involved in all stages of data analyses including methodological studies, data cleaning and preparation using the data from different sources. Gene-environment interaction problems, multiple testing problems, nonparametric testing problems and estimation of their power are some of the issues I am working on in parallel to conducting statistical genetic analyses. I’ve developed software which collects necessary data from different GWAS analysis outputs and creates compact resulting files depending on selected options. This software interfaces with Plink, Haploview, Excel and Visual Basic Applications depending on the user-defined options. I have worked with complex phenotypic structural equation modeling to determine interacting factors that impact liability toward substance and mental health problems. In addition, I work with students and colleagues on extreme value problems (order statistics, records and characterizations), control theory problems and some engineering problems. I have also worked with the project investigators for the past 11 years and supervised students and postdoctoral fellows in Dr. Danielle Dick’s lab. My background and experience working with statistical genetics and longitudinal, developmental studies makes me well-equipped to address the integration of gene network information into the phenotypic structural models.

Select Publications

Aliev, F., Wetherill, L., Bierut, L., Bucholz, K., Edenberg, H., Foroud, T., COGA Investigators, & Dick, D. M. (2015). Genes associated with alcohol outcomes show enrichment of effects with broad externalizing and impulsivity phenotypes in an independent sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 76, 38-46.
Mamdami, M., Riley, B. P., McMichael, G. O., Blevins, T., Aliev, F., Adkins, A.,...Vladimirov, V. I. (2015). Integrating mRNA and miRNA weighted gene co-expression networks with eQTLs in the nucleus accumbens of subjects with alcohol dependence. PLoS ONE, 10, e0137671.
Salvatore, J. E., Meyers, J. L., Yan, J., Aliev, F., Lansford, J. E., Pettit, G. S.,...Dick, D. M. (2015). Intergenerational continuity in parents' and adolescents' externalizing problems: The role of life events and their interaction with GABRA2. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124, 709-728.
Aliev, F., Latendresse, S. J., Bacanu, S. A., Neale, M. C., & Dick, D. M. (2014). Testing for measured gene-environment interaction: Problems with the use of cross-product terms and a regression model reparameterization solution. Behavior Genetics44, 165-181.
Oncel, S. Y., Dick, D. M., Maes, H. H., & Aliev, F. (2014). Risk factors influencing smoking behavior: a Turkish twin study. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 17, 563-573.

Recent Courses

  • Statistics for Genetic Studies I and II, graduate level

Recent Grants

Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism

Role: Co-Investigator (VCU site)
Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Period9/2009 – 8/2019

Cross Species of Gene Networks for Ethanol-Related Behaviors

Role: Co-Investigator
Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Period: 8/2014 – 5/2019

Gene-Environment Interplay in the Development of Alcohol Use and Related Problems

Role: Co-Investigator
Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Period: 12/2004 – 5/2019

Recent Awards

  • 2014, Outstanding Mentor Award, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavior Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University