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5 Questions with Faculty: Gabriel Schlomer

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 28, 2017) — Gabriel L. Schlomer is an assistant professor in the, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, Division of Educational Psychology and Methodology, part of UAlbany’s School of Education. He’s been at the University for two years, attracted by the division’s new undergraduate major in Human Development, which officially began this year. “My background is in developmental psychology so it was a good fit for me,” he said.
Gabriel Schlomer enjoys some beet soup in Vilnius, Lithuania, during a visit last summer for a conference.

Schlomer’s work focuses on adolescent health risk behaviors, parent-child relationships, gene-environment interactions and evolutionary developmental psychology.

What are you working on now?

The work I am most excited about involves testing genetic and environmental influences on adolescent substance use. I work on a project that includes 2,000 adolescents who participated in a substance use intervention and who also provided DNA. I look at genes linked to substance use risk and determine if the intervention — an environment — can mitigate that risk. In many cases the answer to that question is yes and I find it absolutely fascinating.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

I was always interested in science and psychology. I picked up a book called The Moral Animal by Robert Wright early in college. It is about how evolution shaped human psychology and behavior. I was instantly sold.

Genetics eventually became a natural offshoot of my graduate work in evolutionary developmental psychology. Much of my work now is focused on better integrating genetics into this area of research.

What was your first job?

I was a paper boy when I was a kid and then when I turned 14 I got a job at McDonald's and worked there until I was 18 and went off to college.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is the stretch of sidewalk between SEFCU arena and the basketball courts that is shrouded in trees. I regularly run the loop around campus and start my route so that area is the very end of my run. The trees and greenery are beautiful and it is nice to end my work out after running through it.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It’s my favorite and I've read it several times.

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