Center for Contextual Genetics & Prevention (CGAPS)

Project Summary

The Center for Contextual Genetics and Prevention Science (CGAPS) is a collaborative research effort that aims to gain greater insight into the intersection of genetic and epigenetic, developmental, and environmental factors related to drug abuse and sexual risk behavior. Located at The Center for Family Research at The University of Georgia, CGAPS operates in partnership with The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University as well as with the Psychiatric Genetics Laboratory at the University of Iowa and The School of Medicine at Washington University.

Message From Director


Thank you for your interest in the Center for Contextual Genetics and Prevention Science (CGAPS). CGAPS is a Core Center of Excellence funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The overall mission of CGAPS is to gain a better understanding of the development of drug use and sexual risk behavior among children, adolescents, and young adults. Most of the research about these important public health concerns has focused solely on the environmental contexts in which youth spend time:  families, peer groups, neighborhoods, and schools. Social scientists have generated an impressive body of research that describes the ways in which these important influences either deter or create risks for youth drug abuse and sexual risk behavior. An important dimension, however, is missing, one that is critical for understanding why some youth abstain from risk behavior altogether, others engage in occasional risk behavior, and some develop serious problems that can lead to substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. The missing dimension is each youth’s unique genetic makeup. Currently, the ways in which an individual’s unique genetic makeup combine with the social context in which he or she lives to determine drug use and sexual risk tendencies are not well understood. We hope that the research that CGAPS sponsors will provide greater insight into this complex interplay and, in turn, influence prevention models currently used to deter involvement with drugs and sexual risk behavior.

CGAPS is a transdisciplinary effort that includes a team of senior investigators from departments of Psychiatry, Child and Family Development, Psychology, Prevention Science, Public Health, and Sociology at the University of Georgia, Emory University, the University of Iowa, and Washington University in St. Louis. Researchers who are interested in learning about or pursuing research related to drug use and sexual risk behavior that addresses the transactions of family and community environments with genetic and epigenetic factors are welcome to affiliate with our Center. Do stop by and see us if your travels take you to the Athens area, or give me a call at 706-425-2992 if you have questions that I can answer.

Gene Brody

CGAPS is supported by a Core Center of Excellence Grant (P30) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and by the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Georgia.

Center for Contextual Genetics and Prevention Science 2009-2014