Jean-Baptiste Pingault, head of lab


Jean-Baptiste is a Professor of Developmental Psychopathology and Genetics at the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (CEPH), University College London (UCL), as well as a visiting researcher at the Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry centre, King’s College London (KCL).

He is currently a MQ Transforming Mental Health Fellow. Prior to his arrival in London with a European Marie Curie Fellowship, he has done research  in France, Brazil and Canada. More information at:

Current lab members

Research Associates

Jessie Baldwin

Jessie is a Sir Henry Wellcome post-doctoral fellow at UCL and visiting researcher at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at KCL. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Warwick and master’s degree and PhD at the SGDP Centre, KCL. She then joined the CMAP Lab as a post-doctoral research associate working on an MQ-funded project on bullying victimisation and mental health. Her current research focuses on understanding the links between adverse childhood and mental health, using genetically informative designs and statistical methods to strengthen causal inference. She is also passionate about open science and is the UCL Local Network Lead for the UK Reproducibility Network and co-lead of the ReproducibiliTea journal club at UCL. 

Twitter: @jessiebaldwin

Wikus Barkhuizen

Wikus is a Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellow at UCL. He obtained his BSc in Psychology at Birkbeck and an MSc at King’s College London in Early Intervention in Psychosis. Wikus completed his PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck on adolescent psychotic experiences such as paranoia, how these experiences overlap with mental illness, and its association with tobacco use. He has eight years of clinical experience in the addiction sector as a practitioner and manager at substance misuse treatment services in London. 
Wikus joined UCL as a postdoctoral researcher in January 2020. In this post, his main research projects focussed on the aetiology and the intergenerational transmission of childhood ADHD. He obtained a Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellowship in 2022. For this fellowship, he employs genetically informed designs to investigate whether shared biological pathways and causal relationships may explain associations between health-related behaviours and mental health outcomes in children and young people.  

Twitter: @WikusBarkhuizen

Andrea Allegrini

Andrea joined the lab as postdoctoral researcher after completing his PhD in statistical genetics at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry centre, King’s College London. During his PhD project Andrea focused on the application of multivariate genetic methods to better understand the (co)occurrence of complex phenotypes across child development. His research interests focus on genomic based prediction and inference, gene-environment interplay, and the developmental cooccurence of psychopathology related traits. 
He joined CMAP to investigate the intergenerational transmission of mental health problems using genetically based methods for causal inference.   

Twitter: @AndreAllegrini 

Abigail Ter Kuile

Abi joined the lab in April 2023 as a postdoctoral researcher in Psychiatric Genetics after completing her PhD in Statistical Genetics at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry centre, King’s College London. During her PhD, she applied a range of genome-wide techniques to investigate the risk and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders. Her work in the CMAP lab will include investigating the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment and risk for mental health problems. Additionally, she will explore the use of Mendelian randomisation techniques to repurpose and discover drug targets for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Twitter: @Abiterkuile

Nicole Creasey

Nicole is a postdoctoral researcher investigating the role of DNA methylation in the intergenerational transmission of mental health problems. She is interested in how genetics and early life experiences interact to shape the epigenome and influence both risk and resilience for mental health problems. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a Research Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Leiden University. Her doctoral work at the University of Amsterdam focused on understanding the effects of parental factors on children’s DNA methylation and how these effects can be mitigated through early intervention. She also worked with at-risk families as a parenting coach and co-led the implementation of the strengths-based Family Check-Up intervention in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Twitter: @NicoleCreasey

PhD candidates

Lucy Karwatowska

Lucy received her BSc in Experimental Psychology from the University of Bristol (2012 – 2015). She collaborated with the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group on her final-year dissertation which investigated the role of state anxiety on social evaluation learning using carbon dioxide inhalation methods. She gained a distinction for her MSc in Forensic Mental Health Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London (2015 – 2017) and was awarded the Sheilagh Hodgins Prize for the highest dissertation mark in her cohort. She then worked at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust (2017 – 2018) as an Assistant Research Psychologist on an NIHR funded multi-site project investigating the effects of personalised interventions for early onset conduct problems. She started her jointly funded ESRC / BBSRC PhD Studentship in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London in October 2018. Her current research uses causal inference designs to better understand the aetiology of conduct problems, specifically the biosocial risk factors associated with the development of antisocial behaviour. She hopes that the results from her PhD will inform future research, clinical assessments and evidence-based treatments for early-onset conduct problems.

Twitter: @lkarwatowska

Tracy Odigie

Tracy graduated with a Masters Distinction in MBiol Biochemistry from the University of Portsmouth. She underwent her masters as a placement year based at St George’s Hospital London in the Genetics Department, working on the 100,000 Genomes Project. During her time there, Tracy was a Research Assistant on projects that focused on Cancer Genomics and the Molecular Profiling of Colorectal Cancer. She also has experience working as a Clinical Trial Coordinator at University College London Hospital on cancer trials.
In September 2020, Tracy started her jointly funded ESRC/BBSRC PhD Studentship at University College London, based within the CMAP Research Lab. Her PhD focuses on using genetically informed designs to understand the relationship between bullying victimisation and mental health outcomes in childhood and adolescence. She is supervised by Professor Jean-Baptiste Pingault, Dr Wikus Barkhuizen and Professor Praveetha Patalay. 

Twitter: @TracyOdg

Emma Francis

Emma is a PhD Candidate on the UCL-Birkbeck Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Programme. She completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University Belfast and master’s degree at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. Prior to her PhD, Emma researched severe mental illness in both NHS and academic settings. She joined the CMAP Lab in September 2020 and her research uses genetically informative approaches to understand the relationship between objective and subjective experiences associated with health outcomes. Outside of her PhD, Emma is passionate about improving the collective postgraduate research (PGR) experience and represents UCL PGRs in her elected role as Research Students’ Officer (2022-23). 

Twitter: @emmarubyfrancis
More info

Leonard Frach

Leonard joined the lab as a PhD student funded by the European Research Council (ERC). He graduated from Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB) in Germany, where he studied Psychology (BSc), including a research stay at the IoPPN (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience), King’s College London. Afterwards he finished the MSc Psychology, specialising in Cognitive Neuroscience at the RUB. Leonard has been working in the Department of Genetic Psychology at the RUB since his second year as an undergraduate student. For his undergraduate and MSc projects, he investigated epigenetic modifications in the association with childhood adversity and stress reactivity, and using genetics to predict the outcome of exposure-based psychotherapy in individuals with anxiety disorders, respectively.
For his PhD project at the C-MAP lab, supervised by Prof Jean-Baptiste Pingault and Prof Frank Dudbridge, he investigates intergenerational transmission of risk factors for externalising problems of the offspring.

Twitter: @LeoFrach

Giulia Piazza

Giulia is a PhD student carrying out a rotation project at the C-MAP lab. She joined the UCL-Wellcome 4-year PhD in Mental Health Science in September 2020 and previously completed an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL and BA in Psychology and Philosophy at the University of Stirling, Scotland. Giulia has also worked as Research Assistant at the UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, as well as worked as undergraduate Research Assistant on neuroimaging and cross-cultural research projects. During her rotation, she will be using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to explore the influence of polygenic scores on psychopathology symptoms using network analysis.

Twitter: @GiuliaPiazza15

Merle Schlief

Merle is a Wellcome Trust funded PhD student in Clinical Mental Health Sciences. She is currently undertaking a rotation project at the C-MAP lab, supervised by Dr Andrea Allegrini and Prof Jean-Baptiste Pingault, looking at the longitudinal association between BMI and ADHD using mendelian randomization. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at the UCL Division of Psychiatry, primarily for the NIHR funded Mental Health Policy Research Unit. She obtained a BSc in Psychology from the Erasmus University Rotterdam and a MSc in Clinical Mental Health Sciences from UCL.

Twitter: @MerleSchlief


Elizabeth Orpwood

Elizabeth a third year MSci Psychology student at UCL, conducting her third-year project in the CMAP lab on the influences of parental cognitive and non-cognitive skills on the mental health of offspring. She is interested in psychiatric genetics and the neurological mechanisms underlying clinical disorders and hope to develop this into a career in research in the future. She is currently completing a UCL Psychology Summer Scholarship project on the attentional difficulties of patients with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and stuttering, and she is hoping to continue research into ADHD in her final year and PhD projects.

Ayana Cant

Ayana is a third-year BSc Psychology student at UCL undertaking her third-year project investigating the genomic effects on stability and changes in psychiatric behaviours using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. Her interests are in the genetic aetiology underlying the pattern of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. She works part-time as an assistant to a clinical psychologist where she works one-on-one with children experiencing neurodevelopmental or behavioural difficulties. She hopes to continue working in the field of psychiatric genetics and clinical psychology post-graduation.


Tabea Schoeler

Tabea has joined the lab as a postdoctoral researcher after completing her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (King’s College London). During her PhD, she examined the link between cannabis use and mental health outcomes. Her current research focuses on investigating risk factors and consequences of substance use, including cannabis use. In particular, she is keen to apply more stringent statistical methods such as quasi-experimental designs and genetically informed methods to elucidate and disentangle risk effects on mental health in large epidemiological datasets. More information at:

Eshim S Jami

Eshim joined the lab in November 2020 as a postdoctoral researcher. Prior to that, her PhD in psychiatric genetics was based at the Department of Biological Psychology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In her PhD work she used molecular genetics statistical methods to gain insight into genetic and environmental pathways of transmission of childhood mental health problems. In the CMAP lab, she will continue to investigate intergenerational transmission of mental health problems using genetically informative methods.

Twitter: @eshim_s

Biyao Wang

Biyao is an Associate Professor at School of Psychology, South China Normal University and a visiting scholar at UCL. Before, Biyao was as a post-doctoral research associate in the lab on a Nuffield-funded project. She completed her PhD in Developmental Psychopathology at University of Goettingen in Germany. During her PhD, she investigated the development relationship of general sleep problems and the transdiagnostic, general psychopathological factor of dysregulation profile. Her current research focuses on understanding the intergenerational transmission of educational achievement. By implementing data of general population samples of trios and genetically informed methods, she aims to quantify the putative causal effect of parental education on children’s educational achievement and distinguish between genetic and environmental pathways of transmission across generations.

Twitter: @biyao_wang

Hugo Peyre

Hugo is a visiting scholar from Paris Diderot University (INSERM UMR 1141), France. During his PhD under the supervision of Franck Ramus at the LSCP (Cognitive Sciences and Psycholinguistics Laboratory, Paris) he examined the environmental factors influencing cognitive development during the preschool period in the French EDEN cohort. He is also consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Robert Debré hospital in Paris. His current research focuses on methodological approaches using polygenic instruments within family-based designs to study the effects of prenatal environmental factors on cognitive development.