University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Psychiatry

Bio for Robert Althoff, Ph.D., M.D.
Robert Althoff, Ph.D., M.D.

Robert Althoff, Ph.D., M.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Department of Pediatrics
Department of Psychology

Contact Information
Office Location:
UHC Campus, Box 364SJ 3, 1 South Prospect, Burlington, Vermont 05401, US


1991 B.A.     Psychology, cum laude, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1991 B.S.     Biology, cum laude, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1998 Ph.D.    Neuroscience, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1999 M.D.     University of Illinois College of Medicine 

Research Interests

1. Identification of phenotypes and endophenotypes for psychiatric genetic studies of childhood
    psychiatric disorders – specifically as related to disorders of self-regulation
2. Analytic methods of large datasets of twin and family studies using structural equation modeling,
    latent class modeling, and multivariate techniques
3. Cognitive neuroscientific studies of childhood psychiatric disorders using behavioral measures, eye
    movement monitoring, and magnetic resonance imaging

Academic Appointments

1999-2001   Clinical Instructor, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

2001-2004: Clinical Instructor, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
2004-2006: Officer, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

2006-2013: Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington

2007-2013: Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
2009-2013: Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington

2009-Present: Director, Division of Behavioral Genetics, Psychiatry Department, University of Vermont

2009 - Present: Faculty of the Graduate College, University of Vermont

2009 - Present: Faculty of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Vermont

2013 - Present: Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology, University of Vermont

2014 - Present: Executive Vice President, Research Center for Children, Youth & Families, University of Vermont

Research Grants

National Institute of General Medical Sciences, COBRE Grant: 1P20GM103644-01A1
"Shared Mechanisms in Child Dysregulation, Adult Psychopathology, and Metabolic Disorders"
The overarching aim of this project is to understand why children have broad problems with self-regulation and to develop interventions to prevent poor adult outcomes. In this COBRE project, we will investigate the epigenetic and psychophysiological mechanisms of a child behavior syndrome termed "dysregulation." Based on preliminary data suggesting a role of genetics, adverse environments, impaired autonomic regulatory function and glucocorticoid function in these children, we propose a model consisting of environmental impact on a genetic predisposition affecting the systems involved with self-regulation.
Role: PI
NIMH. 1K08MH082116
“Child Behavior Checklist-Dysregulation Profile: Genes, Environment, and Life Course” 
This proposal describes a 5 year mentored training program to develop a research career in child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Research will focus on the CBCL-Dysregulation Profiles as a measure of mood instability, attention problems, and aggression that is often seen in child and adoelscent pscyhiatry clinics, but poorly studies and understood.
Role: PI

Stare-in-the Crowd Effect: Eye tracking and physiological response
A face that is looking directly at us stands out more prominently than the other faces in a crowd; this phenomenon is called the stare-in-a-crowd effect. Initally, the ability to pick out these self-directed faces played an evolutionary role. Quick identification of faces allows us to determine if another being is looking at us and whether or not they are a threat (Senju et al 2005). In our world today, the ability to detect direct gaze plays an important role in social awareness (von Grunau 1995). In particular, identifying direct gaze is important to understand how another individual is feeling (Baron-Cohen 1995) and to recognize their facial expression (Pelphrey et al 2002). Speed in identifying gaze direction is still important; once a person recognizes that a face is directed at them, they allocate more cognitive resources to detecting information about this other person (Conty et al 2007). With the importance of direct gaze detection already established, this study will employ advanced eye tracking technology to look at this effect in situations that more closely simulate real social situations. Much of the field uses photos of individuals for this research; the proposed study will use stimulus photographs of groups of people. Additionally, the eye tracking technology will allow us to manipulte the stimulus photograhs in reaction to where a subject is looking.
Role: PI

Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation

“Donald J. Cohen Medical Student Training Program”         
Goals of the program are 1) to crea Donald J. Cohen Medical Student Training Program” 1) positive mentoring relationships between medical students and child psychiatrists, 2) to teach empirically-based and family-centered assessment, and 3) to encourage students to consider a career in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Role: PI

National Institute on Drug Abuse, (T32 DA07242)
"Training in Behavioral Pharmacology of Drug Abuse,"
(Higgins, PI) Role: Co-I

Awards and Honors

1987-1991  Edmund J. James Scholar
1991           Phi Beta Kappa
1991           Outstanding Teaching Assistant
1992           Arnold Beckman Research Assistantship (competitive award for graduate student engaged
                    in interdisciplinary research)
1998           Daniel K. Bloomfield Fellowship (for outstanding Medical Scholar)
1999           Granville A. Bennett Award (for contributions to medical education)
1999           University of Illinois Alumni Association Student Leadership Award
1999           Rute Medenis Award (for outstanding student in pediatrics)
1999           David Olkon Scholarship (for outstanding student in psychiatry/neurology)
2000           James P. Keating Outstanding Resident Award
2003           General Psychiatry Resident Travel Award, AACAP, Lilly
2003           Emory University Psychiatry Resident’s Symposium
2003           NIMH Outstanding Resident in Psychiatry Award
2007           Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow
2008           Future Leaders in Psychiatry Awardee
2008           “Excellence in Academic Teaching” Award by Psychiatry Residents
2009            Richard Todd Memorial Award Lecture in Child Psychiatry, World Congress of 
                    Psychiatric Genetics
2010            Nominee, Golden Stethoscope Teaching Award, UVM College of Medicine
2011            Nominee, Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Vermont
                    Center for Teaching and Learning
2011            American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2011 Klingenstein Third
                    Generation Foundation Award for Research in Depression or Suicide.
2011            University of Vermont Medical Group Junior Researcher of the Year
2013           "Excellence in Academic Teaching" Award by Psychiatry Residents


Althoff RR, Ayer LA, Crehan ET, Rettew DC, Baer JR, Hudziak JJ. Temperamental profiles of dysregulated children. J Child Psychiatry Hum Devel. 2012 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print] In press. PMID: 22271225

Kuny AV, Althoff RR, Copeland W, Bartels M, Van Beijsterveldt CE, Baer J, Hudziak JJ. Separating the domains of oppositional behavior: comparing latent models of the conners’ oppositional subscale. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;52(2): 172-183 PMID: 23357444

Rubin D, Althoff RR, Walkup JT, Hudziak JJ. Cross-informant Agreement on Child and Adolescent Withdrawn Behavior: A Latent Class Approach. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev, 2012 Sept published online. PMID: 22968799

Scheet P, Ehli EA, Xiao X, van Beijsterveldt CE, Abdellaoui A, Althoff RR, Hottenga JJ, Willemsen G, Nelson KA, Huizenga PE, Hu Y, Amos CI, Bartels M, Groen-Blokhuis MM, de Geus EJ, Hudziak JJ, Davies GE, Boomsma DI. Twins, Tissue, and Time: An Assessment of SNPs and CNVs. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2012 Sep 28:1-9.  PMID: 23021707

Althoff RR, Hudziak JJ, Willemsen G, Hudziak V, Bartels M, Boomsma DI. Genetic and environmental contributions to self-reported thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2012; Jan;159B(1):120-7. PMID: 22162437 PMCID: 3254180

De Clercq B, Rettew D, Althoff RR, De Bolle M. Childhood Personality Types: Vulnerability and Adaptation over Time. J Child Psych Psychol. 2012 Jun;53(6):716-22. PMID: 22211435. PMCID: 3326221

Ehli EA, Abdellaoui A, Hu Y, Hottenga JJ, Kattengerb M, van Beijsterveldt CEM, Bartels M, Althoff RR, Xiao XJ, Scheet P, de Geus EJ, Hudziak JJ, Boomsma DI, Davies GE. De novo and inherited CNVs in MZ twin pairs selected for discordance and concordance on Attention Probems. European Journal of Human Genetics. April 2012 [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 22490988

To view more of Dr. Althoff's publications, please visit Pub Med