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Monika A Waszczuk, Phd

Dr. Monika Waszczuk is an Associate Professor of Psychology. She completed her undergraduate training at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, UK. Afterwards, Dr. Waszczuk received her MSc and PhD in Behavioral Genetics from the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, UK. Following her graduate training, Dr. Waszczuk joined the Department of Psychiatry at Stony Brook University in New York, where she completed her postdoctoral training and conducted research as an Assistant Professor. Many of her projects at Stony Brook University have been in collaboration with the World Trade Center Health and Wellness Program. Dr. Waszczuk is an executive board member of the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) Consortium and serves as a Chair of the Genetic Workgroup. Dr. Waszczuk joined the faculty of RFUMS in 2020.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Research Interests

The overarching goal of Dr. Waszczuk’s research program is to explicate the role of genetic vulnerability in the etiology and co-occurrence of physical and mental health conditions. Research topic include:

  • Application of polygenic risk scores to predict severity and long-term course of PTSD, inflammation, and other health outcomes in responders to the 9/11 disaster.
  • Interplay between personality traits, health-related behaviors, and trauma/stress exposure in mental and physical health.
  • Etiology of psychiatric conditions, in particular emotional disorders (e.g. depression, anxiety, PTSD), in developmental and adult populations.
  • Psychiatric comorbidity, classification, and the HiTOP model, with a focus on transdiagnostic approaches.

Connect with Dr. Waszczuk on Twitter: @MAWaszczuk

Are You a Prospective Graduate Student?

Dr. Waszczuk is considering prospective student applications for the 2021/2022 academic year.

Please email Dr. Waszczuk for more information and to discuss your application and funding opportunities. Do reach out even if you are unsure whether you meet all qualification criteria, as we take a holistic view of each applicant. Students with interest in research would be a particularly good fit with the lab. Candidates from underrepresented and less traditional backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

To find out what it is like working with Dr. Waszczuk, contact details to her previous students and lab members are available upon request. To gain insight into the RFU admission process and students’ perspectives, the following current graduate students are happy to be contacted:

Estee Feldman

Karolina Grotkowski

Erin Kaseda

Allison Brown 

Madison Dykins

Recent publications (selected)

Please see Dr. Waszczuk’s CV for a complete list of her current/previous research funding and peer-reviewed publications.

Waszczuk, M. A. (in press). The utility of hierarchical models of psychopathology in genetics and biomarker research. World Psychiatry.

Waszczuk, M. A., Zavos, H. M. S. & Eley, T. C. (2020). Why do depression, conduct and hyperactivity symptoms co-occur across adolescence? The role of stable and dynamic genetic and environmental influences. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Waszczuk, M. A., Eaton, N. R., Krueger, R. F., Shackman, A. J., Waldman, I. D. … Kotov, R. (2019). Redefining phenotypes to advance psychiatric genetics: Implications from Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 129 (2), 143–161.

Gromatsky, M. A., He, S., Perlman, G., Klein, D. N., Kotov, R. & Waszczuk, M. A. (2019). Prospective prediction of first onset of non-suicidal self-injury in adolescent girls. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Waszczuk, M. A., Waaktaar, T., Eley, T. C. & Torgersen, S. (2019). Aetiological influences on continuity and co-occurrence of eating disorders symptoms across adolescence and emerging adulthood. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 52 (5), 554-563.

Waszczuk, M. A., Ruggero, C. J., Li, K., Luft, B. J. & Kotov, R. (2019). The role of modifiable health-related behaviors in the association between PTSD and respiratory illness. Behaviour, Research and Therapy, 115, 64-72.

Kuan, P. F., Yang, X., Clouston, S., Ren, X., Kotov, R., Waszczuk, M. A. … Luft, B. J. (2019). Cell type specific gene expression patterns associated with posttraumatic stress disorder in World Trade Center responders. Translational Psychiatry, 9 (1), 1.

Schuler, K. L., Ruggero, C. J., Mahaffey, B., Gonzalez, A., Callahan, J., Boals, A., Waszczuk, M. A., Luft, B. J. & Kotov, R. (2019). When hindsight is not 20/20: Assessment of PTSD predominantly captures worst, not average, symptoms. Assessment.

Dornbach-Bender, A., Ruggero, C. J., Schuler, K., Contractor, A. A., Waszczuk, M. A., …, Kotov, R. (2019). Positive and negative affect in the daily life of World Trade Center responders with PTSD: An ecological momentary assessment study. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12 (1), 75-83.

Waszczuk, M. A., Li, K., Ruggero, C. J., Clouston, S. A. P., Luft, B. J. & Kotov, R. (2018). Maladaptive personality traits and 10 year course of psychiatric and medical symptoms and functional impairment following trauma. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52 (8), 697–712.