Robyn Wootton

I am a psychiatric genetic epidemiologist, interested in understanding and preventing mental illness. My research is highly interdisciplinary, combining methodologies from behaviour genetics, epidemiology and longitudinal modelling. 

Currently, my research focus has three core areas:

1) Longitudinal modelling of mental illness over the life-course: applying novel modelling techniques to better understand how mental health develops with age.
2) Leveraging genetic data to better understand the development of mental illness: using Mendelian randomisation to identify risk factors for mental illness and comparing transmitted and non-transmitted genetic variants to understand the intergenerational transmission of mental illness from parents to children.
3) Identifying predictors of mental illness progression: combining longitudinal modelling of mental illness with genetic causal inference techniques to find robust predictors of favourable outcomes for those with mental illness.

I have worked with data from international cohorts including ALSPAC (UK), TEDS (UK), E-Risk (UK), MoBa (Norway), Dunedin (New Zealand) and Pelotas (Brazil).

I am skilled in several epidemiology methodologies including twin modelling, GWAS, polygenic score analysis, genetic correlations, Mendelian randomisation, genetic nurture analysis and repeated measures multi-level modelling.

I am a research fellow in the Psychiatric Genetic Epidemiology group at Nic Waals Institute, contributing to the PsychGen research group at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (led by Alexandra Havdahl). I am supported by grants from Helse Sør-Øst (Recover - 2020024; CHARM - 2022039).

Wootton, R. E.*Havdahl, A.*, Leppert, B., Riglin, L., Ask, H., Tesli, M., Bugge Askeland, R., Hannigan, L. J., Corfield, E., Øyen, A., Andreassen, O. A., Tilling, K., Davey Smith, G., Thapar, A., Reichborn-Kjennerud, T., & Stergiakouli (2022). Parental genetic liability to ADHD, autism and schizophrenia is associated with prenatal exposures in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort study (MoBa). JAMA Psychiatry. 79(8), 799-810.

Wootton, R. E., Riglin, L., Blakey, R., Agnew-Blais, J., Caye, A., Cadman, T., Havdahl, A., Gonçalves, H., Menezes, A. M. B., Wehrmeister, F. C., Rimfeld, K., Davey Smith, G., Eley, T. C., Augusto Rohde, L., Arseneault, L., Moffitt, T. E., Stergiakouli, E., Thapar A., & Tilling, K. (2022). ADHD traits decline over the life-course in the general population: Trajectories across five population birth cohorts spanning ages 3 to 45 years. IJE.

Wootton, R. E., Jones, H. J., & Sallis, H. M. (2021). Mendelian randomisation for psychiatry: How does it work, and what can it tell us? Molecular Psychiatry. 27, 53–57.

Firth, J., Solmi, M., Wootton, R. E., Vancampfort, D., Schuch, F. B., … Sarris, J., Rosenbaum, S., Carvalho, A. F., & Stubbs, B. (2020). A meta-review of "lifestyle psychiatry": the role of exercise, smoking, diet and sleep in the prevention and treatment of mental disorders. World Psychiatry, 19(3), 360-380.

Harrison, R., Munafò, M. R., Davey Smith, G., & Wootton, R. E. (2020). Examining the effect of smoking on suicidal ideation and attempts: A triangulation of epidemiological approaches. British Journal of Psychiatry, 217(6), 701-707.     

Wootton, R. E., Richmond, R. C., Stuijfzand, B. G., Lawn, R. B., Sallis, H. M., Taylor, G. M. J., Jones, H. J., Zammit, S., Davey Smith, G., Munafò, M. R. (2019). Evidence for causal effects of lifetime smoking on risk for depression and schizophrenia: A Mendelian randomisation study. Psychological Medicine, 50(14), 2435 – 2443.

Wootton, R. E., Lawn, R. B., Millard, L. A. C., Davies, N. M., Taylor, A. E., Munafo, M. R., Timpson, N. J., Davis, O. S. P., Davey Smith, G., & Haworth, C. M. A. (2018). Testing the causal effects between subjective wellbeing and physical health using Mendelian randomisation. BMJ, 362, k3788.

View all our publications 

Last updated 2/2/2024