Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Kellie J. Archer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nitai Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Nathan Gillespie, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Michael Neale, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Guimin Gao, Ph.D.


The Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study (BLTS) was being conducted in Australia and was funded by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Adolescent twins were sampled as a part of this study and surveyed about their substance use as part of the Pathways to Cannabis Use, Abuse and Dependence project. The methods developed in this dissertation were designed for the purpose of analyzing a subset of the Pathways data that includes demographics, cannabis use metrics, personality measures, and imputed genotypes (SNPs) for 493 complete twin pairs (986 subjects.) The primary goal was to determine what combination of SNPs and additional covariates may predict cannabis use, measured on an ordinal scale as: “never tried,” “used moderately,” or “used frequently”. To conduct this analysis, we extended the ordinal Generalized Monotone Incremental Forward Stagewise (GMIFS) method for mixed models. This extension includes allowance for a unpenalized set of covariates to be coerced into the model as well as flexibility for user-specified correlation patterns between twins in a family. The proposed methods are applicable to high-dimensional (genomic or otherwise) data with ordinal response and specific, known covariance structure within clusters.


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