Meet the Genes Team

Dr. Kim Fromme (Principal Investigator)

Dr. Kim Fromme received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and did her clinical internship at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center. With expertise in the etiology and prevention of alcohol misuse and related behavioral risks, Dr. Fromme studies alcohol use and risk reduction among emerging adults (ages 18-25). Findings from her experimental and longitudinal studies are incorporated into programs to prevent heavy drinking and related problems. Dr. Fromme is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at UT Austin and is a Fellow and former President of the American Psychological Association division on Addictions. For more information about Dr. Fromme’s research visit

Dr. Kathryn Paige Harden (Co-Investigator)

Dr. Paige Harden received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia in 2009.  She completed her internship at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts.  She joined the Psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin in August 2009. Dr. Harden’s research uses behavioral genetic methods to study developmental psychopathology in adolescence, including substance use, delinquency, and risky sexual behavior.  Her research has received the Thompson Award from the Behavior Genetics Association.  She is the co-director of The Twin Project at The University of Texas.

Dr. William Corbin (Co-Investigator)

Dr. William Corbin joined the Arizona State University Department of Psychology in 2009. Dr. Corbin received his doctorate from the University of Georgia, and post-doctoral training at The University of Texas at Austin. He was a member of the faculty in Clinical Psychology at Yale from 2002 to 2009. The goals of Dr. Corbin’s current program of research are 1) to improve our understanding of factors that lead to the development of alcohol related problems; and 2) to develop effective programs for reducing alcohol-related harm. The first aim is met through a combination of a) longitudinal survey research on risk factors for heavy drinking, b) laboratory based research on the relation between subjective response to alcohol and risk for alcohol-related problems, and c) laboratory based research on the effects of alcohol on risk-taking. The second aim is met through prevention outcome studies targeting alcohol use and associated harms.

Peter Piliere (Project Manager)

Peter Piliere received his B.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University and an M.A. from Adelphi University. After graduating he was employed by Stony Brook University and New York University as part of the Family Translational Research Group heading the observational coding department, as well as working on a project examining the effects of genetic and biological factors, in conjunction with early childhood exposure to noxious family environments, on the development of dental issues in children. Peter is excited to continue working in research exploring the interplay of genetics and environment.

Marie Carlson, B.A. (Graduate Student)

Marie Carlson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology.  After graduation she worked fulltime for a non-profit community mental health agency that provided services for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness and comorbid substance use disorders. Marie entered the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 2011. Marie’s research interests include studying the onset and course of substance use disorders as well as behavioral deviance more broadly. Marie is particularly interested in traits related to impulsivity, sensation seeking, and aggression. Marie aims to pursue her research interests within a framework that considers the interplay of genetic and environmental risk on the course and expression of disorder.

Natalie Kretsch, M.A. (Graduate Student)

Natalie Kretsch received her B.A. from Brown University in 2008. Prior to entering the clinical psychology program at the University of Texas in 2010, she worked as a research assistant at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies and at Boston Medical Center’s Clinical Addictions Research and Education unit. Her research utilizes longitudinal, experimental, and behavior genetic designs to understand individual differences in developmental trajectories of alcohol use and related phenotypes. She is currently studying how peer influences may interact with genetic vulnerability for alcohol use problems during the transition to adulthood.

Patrick Quinn, M.A. (Graduate Student)

Patrick Quinn is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. He obtained his B.A. in psychology from Swarthmore College in 2005, after which he assisted with research under Dr. David Metzger in the University of Pennsylvania’s HIV Prevention Research Division and Dr. Angela Duckworth in the University of Pennsylvania’s Psychology Department. His current research focuses on the interplay between personal (e.g., genetic predispositions, personality, alcohol responses) and environmental factors in the development of alcohol use, driving after drinking, and other externalizing behaviors.

 Emily Wilhite, B.A. (Graduate Student)

Emily Wilhite graduated from Penn State in May 2012 with degrees in Psychology and Spanish.  During her time at Penn State she completed an honors thesis that examined how individuals with higher levels of narcissism react when they perceive others as dominant and cold.  As an incoming first year graduate student in Dr. Kim Fromme’s lab, Emily is interested in studying the influence of alcohol on interpersonal aggression.  Additionally, she would like to examine the effects of self-regulation on risky sexual activity and alcohol use in young adults.

                                                                                                                                         The GENES Team Research Assistants

From left to right: Rachal Hegde, Dylan Kane, Sergio Leal, Samantha Paniagua, Alexa Cheatle and Verita Grannum