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Dr Esther Walton

Dr Esther Walton

Dr Esther Walton
MSc, PhD(T.U.Dresden)

Senior Research Associate in Genetic Epidemiology

Area of research

Psychiatric Epigenetics

Office BS9
Oakfield House,
Oakfield Grove, Clifton BS8 2BN
(See a map)

Summary

I focus on genetic and longitudinal epigenetic effects on mental health outcomes using causal inference methods such as Mendelian Randomization.

Biography

I have expert knowledge on mental health research and hands-on experience in leading large-scale collaborations, as part of my work within the ENIGMA consortium. My career has taken me to diverse research environments in the UK (King’s College London in the group of Ted Barker), Germany (TU Dresden, group of Stefan Ehrlich), the Netherlands (University College Maastricht) and the US (as part of my DFG-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia State University, group of Jessica Turner), allowing me to develop skills, which I apply now in my research within the Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol. 

Activities / Findings

I investigate the link between DNA methylation and mental health. Specifically, I focus on traits including hyperactivity and behavioural difficulties as well as mental health conditions such as depression and schizophrenia. As an active member of the ENIGMA consortium, I have a long track record of investigating brain imaging correlates of mental health conditions and how these link to genetic and epigenetic markers. In my research I apply several approaches including methylome-wide association analyses, mixed and multi-level modelling, as well as causal inference methods such as Mendelian randomization. I also study the life-course of these associations by applying longitudinal analyses on prospectively collected data from large UK and international cohorts. 

Teaching

I teach on a range of courses inside and outside Bristol University, focussing on genetics, epigenetics, and structural equation modelling

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • structural brain imaging
  • ENIGMA consortium

Skills

  • ADHD
  • Schizophrenia
  • depression

Methodologies

  • longitudinal change
  • methylome-wide association analysis
  • Mendelian Randomization

Memberships

Organisations

Bristol Medical School (PHS)

Centres, collaborations and units

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • iPSYCH consortium
  • ENIGMA consortium
  • Prof Dunn (Harvard)
  • Generation R
  • Lothian Birth Cohort

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