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Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Research interests

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 anorexia nervosa and schizophrenia. As an active member of the ENIGMA Schizophrenia and ENIGMA Eating Disorder working groups, 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.



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 (MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, King’s College London), Germany (TU Dresden), the Netherlands and the US (as part of my DFG-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia State University), allowing me to develop skills, which I apply now in my own research.


I use the following methods:

R programming, methylome-wide and genetic association analyses, FreeSurfer, mixed and multi-level modelling, as well as causal inference methods such as Mendelian randomization

Willing to supervise PhD

Accepting PhD students

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Esther Walton is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

mental health Social Sciences
schizophrenia Social Sciences
anorexia Social Sciences
eating disorder Social Sciences
epidemiology Social Sciences
brain Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2020 2023


Walton, E.

EU - Horizon 2020


Project: EU Commission

Research Output 2012 2019

9 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access

Epigenome-wide association study of seizures in childhood and adolescence

Walton, E., Caramaschi, D., Relton, C., Hatcher, C., Felix, J. F., Mulder, R. & Cecil, C. A. M., 29 Nov 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : CLINICAL EPIGENETICS.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Genetic architecture of subcortical brain structures in 38,851 individuals

ENIGMA, 1 Nov 2019, In : Nature Genetics. 51, 11, p. 1624-1636 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Genome-wide association study identifies eight risk loci and implicates metabo-psychiatric origins for anorexia nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative, 1 Aug 2019, In : Nature Genetics. 51, 8, p. 1207-1214 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access