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Professor Thalia C Eley  BA MA PhD
Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics

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tel+44 20 7848 0863
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Institute of Psychiatry
Box  PO80
De Crespigny Park
United Kingdom, SE5 8AF

location C1.16
MRC, SGDP Centre
departmentsSocial, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (IRG)
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (MRC)


Thalia C. Eley is based at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. She directs the Emotional Development, Intervention and Treatment lab (EDITlab). Her work combines behavioural genetics with developmental psychology. Her interest in these areas stems from her school days where she was fascinated by how different her peers were in how they reacted to stress. This led her to study psychology at Cambridge University, and for her doctoral work she conducted a twin study of emotional development at the Institute of Child Health, University College London. Publications from this study led to being awarded the Spearman Medal (for outstanding published work in psychology within 10 years of graduation), from the British Psychological Society (2002). After that time she was funded by two fellowships from the UK Medical Research Council and is now Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics. Using both quantitative and molecular genetic approaches she has focused on two main themes within her research. First she has examined the role of gene-environment interactions on the development of anxiety and depression, work for which she was awarded the Lilly-Molecular Psychiatry Award for the best original research submitted by a young investigator (2004). Second, she has considered the role of cognitive biases in the development of anxiety and depression in the context of genetically sensitive designs.

At present her twin research includes ongoing analyses of her longitudinal twin study, G1219. She is also working with Tom McAdams on the transmission of anxiety and depression from parents to children using the “Children of Twins” approach. Her molecular work currently focuses on two projects exploring the role of specific genetic markers in response to psychological therapies, including cognitive-behaviour therapy for child anxiety and exposure therapy for adult phobias. The first paper from the child anxiety study was awarded the Macquarie University Research Excellence Award, 2011. Finally, with respect to cognitive biases, she is currently working with Dr Kate Lester on attention bias modification in child anxiety.

For more information about the work of the EDITlab please see the website.

Prof Eley also directs the SGDP Summer School.

teaching activities


In press
Wilkinson, P., Trzaskowski, M., Haworth, C.M., & Eley, T.C. (in press). The Role of Gene-Environment Correlations and Interactions in Middle Childhood Depressive Symptoms. Development and Psychopathology.
Lau, J. F. Y., Hilbert, K., Goodman, R., Gregory, A.M., Pine, D.S., Viding, E.M. & Eley, T.C. (in press). ’Unnatural’ fears and childhood anxiety: Investigating the genetic and environmental bases of biases in threat recognition and avoidance. Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders.
Scaini, S., Ogliari, A., Eley, T.C., Zavos, H.M.S., Battaglia, M. (in press). Genetic and environmental contributions to separation anxiety: A meta-analytic approach to twin data, Depression and Anxiety.
Parsons M.J., Lester K.J., Barclay N.L., Nolan P.M., Eley T.C., Gregory A.M. (in press) Replication of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) loci for sleep in the British G1219 cohort. American Journal of Medical Genetics Park B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics.
Brown, H. M., McAdams, T. C., Lester, K. J., Goodman, R., Clark, D. M., & Eley, T. C. (In Press). Attentional threat avoidance and familial risk are independently associated with childhood anxiety disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Barclay, N.L., Eley, T.C., Parsons, M. J., Willis, T. A., Gregory, A.M. (in press). Monozygotic Twin Differences in Non-Shared Environmental Factors Associated with Chronotype. Journal of Biological Rhythms.

Barclay, N. L., Eley, T.C., Buysse, D.J., Maughan, B., & Gregory, A.M. (2012). Nonshared environmental influences on sleep quality: A study of monozygotic twin differences. Behavior Genetics, 42, 234-244.
Brown, H. M., Trzaskowski, M., Zavos, H. M. S., Rijsdijk, F. V., Gregory, A. M. and Eley, T. C. (2012). Phenotypic and genetic structure of anxiety sensitivity in adolescence and early adulthood. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26, 680-688.
Eley, T.C., Hudson, J.L., Creswell, C., Tropeano, M., Lester, K.J., Cooper, P., Farmer, A., Lewis, C.M., Lyneham, H.J., Rapee, R.M., Uher, R., Zavos, H.M.S., & Collier, D.A. (2012). Therapygenetics: The 5HTTLPR and response to psychological therapy. Molecular Psychiatry, 17, 236-237. Recipient of a Macquarie University Research Excellence Award, 2011. A spotlight was written on this paper: Beevers & McGeary (2011). "Therapygenetics: moving towards personalized psychotherapy treatment." Trends in cognitive sciences, 16, 11-12.
Lau, J. F. Y., Belli, S., Gregory, A. M., Napolitano, M. & Eley, T. C. (2012). The role of children’s negative attributions on depressive symptoms: An inherited characteristic or a product of the early environment? Developmental Science, 15, 569-578.
Lester, K.J., Hudson, J.L., Tropeano, M., Creswell, C., Collier, D.A., Farmer, A., Lyneham, H.J., Rapee, R.M., Eley, T.C. (2012). Neurotrophic gene polymorphisms and response to psychological therapy. Translational Psychiatry, doi:10.1038/tp.2012.33; published online 1 May 2012.
McAdams, T., Rowe, R., Rijsdijk, F., Maughan, B., & Eley, T.C. (2012). The covariation of antisocial behaviour and substance use in adolescence: A behavioural genetic perspective. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22, 100-112.
Stringaris*, A., Zavos*, H. M. S., Leibenluft, E., Maughan, B. & Eley, T.C. (2012). Adolescent irritability: phenotypic associations and genetic links with depressed mood. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 47-54.
Trzaskowski, M., Zavos, H.M.S., Haworth, C.M.A., Plomin, R., & Eley, T.C. (2012). Stable Genetic Influence on Anxiety-Related Behaviours Across Middle Childhood, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 85-94.
Zavos, H. M. S., Gregory, A. M., & Eley, T. C. (2012). Longitudinal genetic analysis of anxiety sensitivity. Developmental Psychology, 48, 204-212.
Zavos, H.M.S., Rijsdijk, F.V.R., Eley, T.C. (2012). A longitudinal genetically informative study of associations between anxiety sensitivity, anxiety and depression. Behavior Genetics, 42, 592-602 .
Zavos, H. M. S., Wong, C. C. Y., Barclay, N. L., Keers, R., Mill, J., Rijsdijk, F. V., Gregory, A. M., Eley, T. C. (2012). Anxiety sensitivity in adolescence and young adulthood: the role of stressful life events, 5HTTLPR and their interaction. Depression and anxiety, 29, 400-408.

Barclay, N. L., Eley, T. C., Maughan, B., Rowe, R., & Gregory, A. M. (2011). Associations between diurnal preference, sleep quality and externalising behaviours: A behavioural genetic analysis. Psychological Medicine, 41, 1029-1040.
Barclay, N. L., Eley, T. C., Mill, J., Wong, C. C. Y., Zavos, H. M. S., Archer, S. N., & Gregory, A. M. (2011). Sleep quality and diurnal preference in a sample of young adults: Associations with 5HTTLPR, PER3 and CLOCK 3111. American Journal of Medical Genetics: Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics: Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 156, 681-690.
Barclay, N. L., Eley, T. C., Rijsdijk, F. V., & Gregory, A. M. (2011). Dependent negative life events and sleep quality: An examination of gene-environment interplay. Sleep Medicine, 12, 403-409.
Gregory, A.M., Buysse, D. J, Willis, T.A., Rijsdijk, F. V., Maughan, B., Rowe, R., Cartwright, S., Barclay, N. L., Eley, T.C. (2011). Associations between sleep quality and anxiety and depression symptoms in a sample of young adult twins and siblings. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 71, 250-255.
Mackie, C. J., Conrod, P. J., Rijsdijk, F. V., & Eley, T. C. (2011). A systematic evaluation and validation of subtypes of adolescent alcohol use motives: Genetic and environmental contributions. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 35, 420-430.

Barclay, N. L., Eley, T. C., Buysse, D. J., Archer, S. N., & Gregory, A. M. (2010). Diurnal preference and sleep quality: Same genes? A study of young adult twins. Chronobiology International, 27, 278-296.
Barclay, N. L., Eley, T. C., Buysse, D. J., Rijsdijk, F. V., & Gregory, A. M. (2010). Genetic and environmental influences on different components of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and their overlap. Sleep, 33, 659-668.
Eley T.C., Napolitano M., Lau J.Y.F., Gregory A.M. (2010). Does childhood anxiety evoke maternal control? A genetically informed study. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. 51,772-779.
Gregory, A. M., Noone, D. M., Eley, T. C., & Harvey, A. G. (2010). Catastrophising and symptoms of sleep disturbances in children. Journal of Sleep Research. Journal of Sleep Research , 19, 175-182.
Zavos,H.M.S., Rijsdijk,F.V., Gregory,A.M. & Eley,T.C. (2010). Genetic influences on the cognitive biases associated with anxiety and depression symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Affective Disorders, 124, 45-53.
Gregory, A. M., Light-Häusermann, J. H., Rijsdijk, F. V., & Eley, T. C. (2009). Behavioral Genetic Analyses of Prosocial Behavior in Adolescents. Developmental Science, 12, 165-174.
Gregory, A.M., Rijsdijk, F.V., Lau, J. F., Dahl, R.E., Eley, T.C. (2009). The direction of longitudinal associations between sleep problems and depression symptoms: a study of twins aged 8 and 10 years. Sleep, 32, 189-199.
Hallett, V., Ronald, A., Rijsdijk, F.V., & Eley, T.C. (2009). Phenotypic and genetic differentiation of anxiety-related behaviors in middle childhood. Depression and Anxiety, 26, 316-324.
Lau, J. Y. F., Burt, M., Leibenluft, E., Pine, D. S., Rijsdijk, F., Shiffrin, N., & Eley, T. C. (2009). Individual differences in children’s facial expression recognition ability: The role of genetic and environmental influences. Developmental Neuropsychology, 34, 37-51.
Pike, A. & Eley, T. C. (2009). Links between parenting and extra-familial relationships: Nature or nurture? Journal of Adolescence, 32, 519-533.
Button, T. M. M., Lau, J. Y. F., Maughan, B., & Eley, T. C. (2008). Maternal punitive discipline, negative life events and gene-environment interplay in the development of externalizing behavior. Psychological Medicine, 38, 29-29.
Eley,T.C., Gregory,A.M., Lau,J.Y.F., McGuffin,P., Napolitano,M., Rijsdijk,F.V., and Clark,D.M. (2008). In the face of uncertainty: A genetic analysis of ambiguous information, anxiety and depression in children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 55-65.
Eley, T. C., Rijsdijk, F. V., Perrin, S., O’Connor, T. G., & Bolton, D. (2008). A multivariate genetic analysis of specific phobia, separation anxiety and social phobia in early childhood. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36(6), 839-848.
Lau, J. Y. F. & Eley, T. C. (2008). Disentangling gene environment correlations and interactions in adolescent depression. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 42, 142-150.
Lau, J. Y. F. & Eley, T. C. (2008). Attributional style as a risk marker of genetic effects for adolescent depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 849-859.
Rowe, R., Rijsdijk, F. V., Maughan, B., Hosang, G. M., & Eley, T. C. (2008). Heterogeneity in antisocial behaviours and comorbidity with depressed mood: A behavioural genetic approach. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 49, 526-34.

Bolton, D., Rijsdijk, F., O’Connor, T. G., Perrin, S., & Eley, T. C. (2007). Obsessive-compulsive disorder, tics and anxiety in 6-year-old twins. Psychological Medicine, 37, 39-48.
Eley, T. C. Genetics of anxiety disorders (2007). Psychiatry, 6, 258-262.
Eley, T. C., Gregory, A. M., Clark, D. M., & Ehlers, A. (2007). Feeling anxious: A twin study of panic/somatic symptoms, anxiety sensitivity and heart-beat perception in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,12, 1184-1191. Lay summary:
Gregory, A. M., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., Koenen, K., Eley, T. C., Poulton, R. (2007). Juvenile mental health histories of adults with anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 301-308.
Gregory, A. M., Rijksdijk, F., Lau, J. Y. F., Napolitano, M., McGuffin, P., & Eley, T. C. (2007). Interpersonal Cognitions and Associations with Depressive Symptoms in School-Aged Twins. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 762-775.
Lau, J. Y. F., Gregory, A. M., Goldwin, M. A., Pine, D. S., & Eley, T. C. (2007). Assessing gene-environment interactions on anxiety symptom subtypes across childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 19, 1129-1146.
Lau, J. Y. F., Rijksdijk, F. V., Gregory, A. M., McGuffin, P., & Eley, T. C. (2007) Pathways to childhood depressive symptoms: The role of social, cognitive and genetic risk factors. Developmental Psychology,43, 1402-1414.
Bolton, D., Eley, T. C., O’Connor, T. G., Perrin, S., Rabe-Hesketh, S., Rijsdijk, F. V., & Smith, P. (2006) Prevalence and genetic and environmental influences on anxiety disorders in 6-year-old twins. Psychological Medicine, 36, 335-344.
Gregory, A. M., Rijsdijk, F. V., Dahl, R. E., McGuffin, P., & Eley, T. C. (2006) Associations between Sleep Problems, Anxiety and Depression in Twins Aged 8 Years. Pediatrics, 118, 1124-1132.
Gregory, A. M., Rijsdijk, F. V., & Eley, T. C. (2006). A twin-study of sleep difficulties in school-aged children. Child Development,77, 1668-1679.
Lau, J. Y. F. & Eley, T. C. (2006). Changes in genetic and environmental influences on depressive symptoms across adolescence: A twin and sibling study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 189, 422-427.
Lau, J. Y. F., Eley, T. C. & Stevenson, J. (2006). Examining the state-trait anxiety relationship: A behavioural genetic approach. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 18-26.
Lau, J. Y. F., Rijsdijk, F. V., & Eley, T. C. (2006). I think, therefore I am: A twin study of attributional style in adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 47, 696-703.
Pike, A., Iervolino, A., Eley, T. C., Price, T. S., & Plomin, R. (2006). Environmental risk and young children’s cognitive and behavioral development. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30, 55-66.
Rowe, R., Maughan, B., & Eley, T. C. (2006) Links between antisocial behavior and depressed mood: The role of life events and attributional style. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, (283-292).
Stirling, L., Eley, T. C., & Clark, D. M. (2006). Avoidance of negative faces and social anxiety in children. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 35, 440-445.

Gregory, A.M., Caspi, A., Eley, T., Moffitt, T., O’Connor, T., Poulton, R. (2005). Prospective longitudinal associations between persistent sleep problems in childhood and anxiety and depression disorders in adulthood. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33 (2), 157-163.
Gregory, A.M., Eley, T.C. (2005). Sleep Problems, Anxiety and Cognitive Style in School-Aged Children. Infant and Child Development, 14, 435-444.
Gregory, A. M., Eley, T. C., O’Connor, T. G., Rijsdijk, F., & Plomin, R. (2005). Family influences on the association between sleep problems and anxiety in a large sample of pre-school aged twins. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 1337-1348.
Liang, H. & Eley, T. C. (2005). A Monozygotic Twin Study of Nonshared Environmental Influence on Adolescent Depressive Symptoms. Child Development, 76, 1247-1260.
Tuvblad, C., Eley, T.C & Lichtenstein, P. (2005). The development of antisocial behaviour from childhood to adolescence. A longitudinal twin study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 14, 216-225.

Becker-Blease, K. A., Deater-Deckard, K., Eley, T. C., Freyd, J. J., Stevenson, J., & Plomin, R. (2004). A genetic analysis of dissociative behaviours in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Applied Disciplines, 45, 522-532. Winner of the 2005 Pierre Janet award from the International Society for the Study of Dissociation.
Eley, T. C., Liang, H., Plomin, R., Sham, P., Sterne, A., Williamson, R., & Purcell, S. (2004). Parental vulnerability, family environment and their interactions as predictors of depressive symptoms in adolescents . Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 298-306.
Eley, T. C., Stirling, L., Ehlers, A., Gregory, A. M., & Clark, D. M. (2004). Heart-beat perception, panic/somatic symptoms and anxiety sensitivity in children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 439-448. (Re-written for a lay audience:
Eley, T. C., Sugden, K., Gregory, A. M., Sterne, A., Plomin, R., & Craig, I. W. (2004). Gene-environment interaction analysis of serotonin system markers with adolescent depression. Molecular Psychiatry, 9, 908-918. (Awarded the Lilly-Molecular Psychiatry Award 2004).
Gregory, A. M., Eley, T. C., O’Connor, T. G., & Plomin, R. (2004). The etiologies of associations between childhood sleep and behavioral problems in a large twin sample. Journal of the American Academic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 744-751.
Gregory, A. M., Eley, T. C., & Plomin, R. (2004). Exploring the Associations between Anxiety and Conduct Disorders in a large sample of twins aged 2-4. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33, 111-122.
Kuntsi, J., Eley, T. C., Taylor, A., Hughes, C., Asherson, P., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2004). The co-occurrence of ADHD and low IQ has genetic origins. Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 124B, 41-47.
Scourfield, J., Martin, N., Eley, T. C., & McGuffin, P. (2004). The genetic relationship between social cognition and conduct problems. Behavior Genetics, 34, 377-383.

last updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013