Neuroepidemiology Group

Our group focuses on public health and neuroscience. We are particularly interested in brain conditions that are becoming increasingly more common. These conditions include autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and multiple sclerosis. We aim to generate new knowledge to allow better prevention or treatment of these conditions.

In our group, we combine epigenetics and public health with brain science and molecular biology. We have a focus on primary prevention before disease starts or secondary progression to slow disease or severity when disease is established. Our work involves knowledge generation on causes of increasingly common chronic diseases to inform prevention and new approaches to treatment. These disorders include multiple sclerosis, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit disorder.

Research interests

  • Neurodevelopment
  • Developing brain
  • Neuroepidemiology
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Multiple sclerosis


  • Analytical epidemiology
  • Multi-omics bioinformatics
  • Neuroscience laboratory work



Research team

Research team head

Team members

Research fellows

Research and technical staff

  • Alex Eisner
  • Ellen Morwitch
  • Sarah Thomson
  • Alex Gruen
  • Dhaval Parikh
  • Max Reissman
  • Georgia Cotter

PhD students

  • Alicia Bjorksten
  • Samuel Tanner
  • Kristina Vacy
  • Lada Staskova


  • Chapman, C., Lucas, R.M., Ponsonby, A.-L., Taylor, B. and Ausimmune Investigator Group (2022). Predictors of progression from a first demyelinating event to clinically definite multiple sclerosis. Brain Communications, [online] 4(4), p.fcac181. doi:
  • ‌Thomson, S., Drummond, K., O’Hely, M., Symeonides, C., Chandran, C., Mansell, T., Saffery, R., Sly, P., Mueller, J., Vuillermin, P. and Ponsonby, A.-L. (2023). Increased maternal non-oxidative energy metabolism mediates association between prenatal di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) exposure and offspring autism spectrum disorder symptoms in early life: A birth cohort study. Environment International, 171, p.107678. doi:
  • Ponsonby, A.-L. (2021). Reflection on modern methods: building causal evidence within high-dimensional molecular epidemiological studies of moderate size. International Journal of Epidemiology. doi:
  • Tanner, S., Thomson, S., Drummond, K., O’Hely, M., Symeonides, C., Mansell, T., Saffery, R., Sly, P.D., Collier, F., Burgner, D., Sugeng, E.J., Dwyer, T., Vuillermin, P. and Ponsonby, A.-L. (2022). A Pathway-Based Genetic Score for Oxidative Stress: An Indicator of Host Vulnerability to Phthalate-Associated Adverse Neurodevelopment. Antioxidants, 11(4), p.659. doi:
  • Pham, C., Bekkering, S., O’Hely, M., Burgner, D., Thomson, S., Vuillermin, P., Collier, F., Marx, W., Mansell, T., Symeonides, C., Sly, P.D., Tang, M.L.K., Saffery, R. and Ponsonby, A.-L. (2022). Infant inflammation predicts childhood emotional and behavioral problems and partially mediates socioeconomic disadvantage. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 104, pp.83–94. doi:

Contact us

Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby

Group Head
[email protected]