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Department of Psychiatry Faculty


Sandra M Villafuerte, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone: 734-647-4241
Fax: 734-936-2690

Primary Programs/Services:
Molecular and Behavioral Neurosciences Institute


  • 2000-2006, Postdoctoral Training - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • 1996-2001, Graduate studies, Doctor in Science (Ph.D.) - University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1993-1995, Master Degree in Medical & Pharmaceutical Research, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
  • 1985-1987, Licentiate in Pharmacy, Catholic University 'Santa Maria', Arequipa, Peru
  • 1979-1985, Bachelor in Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Catholic University 'Santa Maria', Arequipa, Peru

Research Interest:

  • Genetics of behavior and personality
  • Genetics of risk factors in the development of Alcohol Use Disorders
  • Genetics of circadian rhythms
  • Genetics of mental health and cardiovascular disease

Academic Appointment:

  • Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Medical School

Recent or Representative Publications:

  • S Villafuerte, M M. Heitzeg, S Foley, W-Wendy Yau, K Majczenko, J-K Zubieta, R A. Zucker, M Burmeister (2012). Impulsiveness and Insula activation during reward anticipation are associated with genetic variants in GABRA2 in a family sample enriched for alcoholism, Molecular Psychiatry 17 (5): 511-519.
  • Villafuerte SM, Vallabhaneni K, ƚliwerska E, McMahon FJ, Young EA, Burmeister M (2009) SSRI response in depression may be influenced by SNPs in HTR1B and HTR1A. Psychiatric Genetics, Dec;19(6):281-91
  • Sen S, Villafuerte S, Nesse R, Stoltenberg SF, Hopcian J, Gleiberman L, Weder A and Burmeister M (2004). Serotonin transporter and GABAA alpha 6 receptor variants are associated with neuroticism. Biol Psychiatry, Feb 1; 55(3):244-9.
  • Villafuerte SM, Del-Favero J, Adolfsson R, Mendlewicz J, Van Broeckhoven C, Claes S. (2002) Construction of a SNP map in the Corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor-2, and association analysis for Major depression. Am J Med Genet. Mar 8;114(2):222-6.