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Genes, Environment, and Youth Development (Su)

Keywords: gene-environment interplay, substance use, family relationships, adolescence, young adulthood, ethnic/racial minority, health disparities

Lab Research Area:

Integrating developmental psychopathology and statistical/molecular genetics, we seek to understand how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of alcohol use disorders and related behavioral and emotional health outcomes in diverse populations.

We are interested in:

1) understanding how family processes and sociocultural factors may buffer or exacerbate genetic risk for the development of risky substance use patterns across development, particularly during adolescence and young adulthood,

2) disentangling the genetic and psychosocial pathways underlying the intergenerational transmission of risk and resilience related to substance use disorders and related outcomes, and

3) examining potential differences in pathways of risk and resilience across racial/ethnic groups.

Our goal is to understand how genetic and psychosocial factors predict substance misuse to better inform effective, personalized prevention and intervention for individuals who are at risk.

Research Projects:

Currently, we are preparing for the launch of a longitudinal study that involves collecting online survey (questionnaire and daily diary) and DNA data from European American and Latino college students at ASU, to study how family and cultural processes (and other relevant environmental factors) in conjunction with genetic factors contribute to alcohol use and related outcomes throughout college years. 
In addition, our lab has access to data from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) and the Spit for Science Study (S4S) through active collaborations with COGA and S4S investigators. 

Lab Director and Principal Investigator: Jinni Su, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Jinni SuDr. Su is a member of the developmental psychology faculty. Her research focuses on how genetic and environmental influences contribute to the development of substance use and related behavioral and emotional health outcomes. Integrating developmental psychology and statistical/molecular genetics, Dr. Su utilizes a multidisciplinary perspective to understand the interplay between genetic predispositions and psychosocial factors in influencing substance use and related outcomes across diverse populations, with a focus on racial/ethnic minority adolescents and young adults. She applies innovative genetically informed designs to examine the genetic and psychosocial pathways underlying the intergenerational transmission of substance use disorders and related outcomes. Dr. Su also examines potential differences in pathways of risk and resilience across racial/ethnic groups, with the goal to understand mechanisms underlying racial/ethnic disparities in substance use disorders and related health outcomes and inform effective, personalized prevention and intervention efforts. Her research involves self-report data from surveys and interviews and genomic data collected from saliva or blood samples. Dr. Su received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Beijing Normal University, China. She completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Su continued as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University under the mentorship of Dr. Danielle Dick.

Contact Dr. Su | Read her CV  

Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Claudia Grochalska 

I am currently a junior double majoring in psychology and neuroscience and minoring in Slavic studies. My research interests include substance abuse and addiction, as well as treatments and preventative measures. I am planning on pursuing a career in research and am very excited to gain hands-on experience working in Dr. Su’s lab. Feel free to contact me at cgrochal@asu.edu

 Monica Lam


I am currently a sophomore majoring in Biological Sciences - Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. I am interested in researching the genetic aspects of substance abuse as well as neurodegenerative diseases. I am doing a pre-medical path for I aspire to have a career in the medical field as an emergency doctor.

 Christopher Hernandez Salinas 


Christopher is a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Science and Global Health and minoring in Transborder Latino/Chicano Studies. 

Mahasin Shigdy

Shigdy is a 4th-year undergraduate student of psychology. She is interested in researching deviancy in racial, sexual and gender minorities within the field of developmental psychology, specifically how the broader and local social, cultural and political landscape may influence the behaviors of adolescents from minority groups. 

Derek Soto

I am a junior undergraduate student at ASU studying Psychology. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I am interested in substance use and addiction research. Addiction is something that has deeply affected loved ones in my life and once I found out about this lab I knew I had to be apart of it.

Join the Lab!

We are actively recruiting motivated and responsible undergraduate research assistants (RA) to join our lab! RA positions for Spring 2020 have been filled, and we are currently recruiting RAs to start in Summer 2020. If you are interested in becoming an RA (for credit or volunteer) in the Genes, Environment, and Youth Development Lab, please fill out this application form.

Dr. Su is accepting new Ph.D. students in the Developmental and Clinical Psychology programs for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please inquire directly with Dr. Su at jinnisu1@asu.edu.

Contact Dr. Jinni Su

Select publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from Dr. Su’s research and lab. A more complete listing may be found in Dr. Su’s curriculum vitae.  Student co-authors appear with an asterisk*.


Su, J., Kuo, S. I., Derlan, C., Hagiwara, N., Guy, M., & Dick, D. M. (2019). Racial discrimination and alcohol problems among African American young adults: Examining the moderating effects of parent and peer racial socialization. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Ksinan, A., Su, J., Aliev, F., Spit for Science Workgroup, & Dick, D. M. (2019). Unpacking genetic risk pathways for college student alcohol consumption: The mediating role of impulsivity. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Silventoinen, K., Su, J., Pulkkinen, L., Barr, P., Rose, R. J., Dick, D. M., & Kaprio, J. (2019). Genetics of perceived family interactions from 12 to 17 years of age: A longitudinal twin study. Behavior Genetics, 49, 366-375.


Su, J., Kuo, S. I., Myers, J. M., Guy, M. & Dick, D. M. (2018). Examining interactions between genetic risk for alcohol problems, peer deviance, and interpersonal traumatic events on trajectory of alcohol use disorder symptoms among African American college students. Development and Psychopathology, 30, 1749-1761.

Su, J., Kuo, S. I., Aliev, F., Guy, M. C., Derlan, C. L., Edenberg, H. J., … & Dick, D. M. (2018). Influence of parental alcohol dependence symptoms and parenting on adolescent risky drinking and conduct problems: A family systems perspective. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 42, 1783-1794.

Su, J., Kuo, S. I., Bucholz, K. K., Edenberg, H. J., Kramer, J. R., Schuckit, M., & Dick, D. M. (2018). Understanding mechanisms of genetic risk for adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems: The mediating role of parenting and personality. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 21, 310-321.

Su, J., Supple, A. J., Leerkes, E. M., & Kuo, S. I. (2018). Latent trajectories of alcohol use from early adolescence to young adulthood: Interaction effects between 5-HTTLPR and parenting quality and gender differences. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 457-469.

Su, J., Hancock, L., McGann, A., Alshagra, M.*, Ericson, R.*, Niazi, Z.*, Dick, D. M., & Adkins, A. (2018). Evaluating the effect of a campus-wide social norms marketing intervention on alcohol use perceptions, consumption, and blackouts. Journal of    American College Health, 66, 219-224.

Su, J., Supple, A. J., & Kuo, S. I. (2018). The role of individual and contextual factors in differentiating substance use profiles among adolescents. Substance Use and Misuse, 53, 734-743.


Su, J., & Supple, A. J. (2016). School substance use norms and racial composition moderate parental and peer influences on adolescent substance use. American Journal of Community Psychology, 57, 280-290.


 Su, J., & Supple, A. J. (2014). Parental, peer, school, and neighborhood influences on adolescent substance use: Direct and indirect effects and ethnic variations. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. 13, 227-246. 

  • Dr. Jinni Su received seed grant from the Institute for Social Science Research (11/13/2019). Her grant proposal is titled "A Cultural Genomics Approach to Understand Gene-Environment Interactions and Alcohol Misuse among African American College Students".

  • Dr. Jinni Su is featured on ASU Now about her research, addressing the importance of increasing representation of minority populations in genetic research.