Daniel Gustavson, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Genetic Medicine

Dr. Gustavson is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016. There he used experimental and longitudinal twin approaches to examine how executive functions relate to substance use, anxiety, and depression symptoms in adolescents and young adults, including how these constructs play a role in everyday self-regulation problems (procrastination, impulsivity). Dr. Gustavson was also a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Diego from 2016 to 2019. He continued to study cognition using longitudinal twin studies, this time with a stronger focus on cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease, also incorporating data from genome-wide association studies.

Dr. Gustavson joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2019, where he coordinates projects in the Music Cognition Lab. He is also a member of the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute. His research continues to use a longitudinal, multidisciplinary approach to study cognitive changes across the lifespan, including their genetic and environmental associations with mental health and self-regulation. He is also examining how measures of musical ability relate to cognitive and mental health outcomes using an array of genetic methods (twin and adoption studies, genomic SEM, polygenic risk scores), and is assisting Dr. Gordon to organize a consortium on the genetics of musicality. Outside of the university, Dan is a guitarist, drummer, painter, and beer brewer.