Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, 2007
Matt McGue, Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, is internationally renowned in the fields of behavioral and epidemiological genetics and is considered to be the world leader in the application of sophisticated behavior genetic methods to address critical questions about why humans differ in significant psychological characteristics such as personality, intelligence, and psychopathology. His earlier work demonstrated the link between schizophrenia and multiple genes and recently he has used innovative research designs and landmark longitudinal studies to understand human behavioral development. These studies were the basis for the development of a very influential model that shows how individual risk and family rearing practices contribute to the development of addiction (Twin and Adoption Studies of Adolescent Development), how genetic and experiential factors contribute to longevity and mental health in old age (Twin Studies of Old Age), and how inherited factors influence the development of differences in many adult behaviors. Professor McGue's research contributions to his field have been significant. He is described as an outstanding teacher and mentor. His course in behavior genetics is among the highest rated psychology courses and his behavior genetic statistical analysis of twin, family, and longitudinal data is considered the primary vehicle for graduate students to learn these methods. He has supervised eleven graduate students (four at other institutions) as well as providing guidance to numerous non-advisees. He has provided leadership at the departmental, university, national, and international level and has served on many committees within the institution. He served as the director of the Behavior Genetics and Individual Differences Program for ten years, and as associate department chair and then department chair. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Scholar of the College (CLA), and the James Shields Award (Behavior Genetics Association), to name a few. In addition, he has served on national and international committees including, the NIAAA National Advising Committee; he served as chair of the NIH Behavior Genetics & Epidemiology study section; and as Treasurer and President of the Behavior Genetics Association. His two nominators wrote, "Professor McGue is one of the world's leading behavioral geneticists, an international leader whose career as a scholar, researcher, and teacher has had a brilliant and productive trajectory. He is not only prolific and influential, but a model investigator, respected for his high quality work in a wide variety of scientific arenas, rendering him distinct among scientists. Professor McGue is thoroughly deserving of this honor. Appointing him to this prestigious position will bring credit to the University of Minnesota." The Nominating Committee concurs with their assessment and is proud to forward his name as one of the 2007 Regents Professors.