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TEDS Team

Meet the Team

The TEDS Team

Meet the team behind TEDS and find out more about the research going on at TEDS.

Director of TEDS

Professor Robert Plomin

I have spent my career investigating the genetic and environmental origins of psychological traits. Since I started TEDS in the early 1990s, my focus has been on the role of nature and nurture on the development of cognition and behaviour problems in childhood and adolescence. I would like to thank all of the TEDS families for all of their hard work – we couldn’t do this revolutionary science without you. I look forward to working with the TEDS families for many years to come.

It is always wonderful to be able to talk about our TEDS research and to highlight the importance of genetics in development, especially in relation to education. I was recently interviewed for the prestigious BBC Radio 4 programme called The Life Scientific in which TEDS features prominently in the interview. Click here to listen to the 30-minute broadcast. I have also recently been interviewed for a 40-minute podcast with the Guardian’s Science Weekly, and the Time Education Supplement about my views on genetics in education.

Deputy director of TEDS

Professor Thalia Eley

I have always been fascinated by why people react so differently when faced with a stressful situation. What we are learning is that genetic factors influence how we respond to the world around us – be it positive events or more difficult times. I am also fascinated by how the way we respond to the environment is influenced by our parents – both the genes we inherit from them and from seeing how they respond to their own environment. With this in mind, it will be particularly interesting to start working with the children of the TEDS twins, a new study we have called CoTEDS. This will be a unique study (the first of its kind in the world) as currently no sample of twins that have been providing data for as long as TEDS twins, have then gone onto report on the development of their children.

TEDS Project Team

Rachel Ogden

I have been working with TEDS since our participants were 7 years old. I was recruited to help with the large scale data collection that took place over the phone and I have taken part in many other phases of data collection over the years. My role now is to help plan studies and coordinate communication with our participants. We are fortunate to have so many active TEDS families helping with our research and it has been a great pleasure to follow the twins’ development into adulthood.

Andrew McMillan

I joined TEDS at the end of 2001, during the age 7 twin telephone study, and have been the Data Manager since then. My work involves managing our admin database, where we record what happens to every family in each of our studies. I also handle all the data that are returned in questionnaires and web studies, documenting them and converting them to a suitable form for our researchers to analyse

Louise Webster

Louise joined TEDS in August 1996 as a research support worker. She manages TEDS finances and many administrative aspects of the study including recruitment of staff, preparing grant applications and monitoring publications. Louise has extensive administrative, historical and procedural knowledge of the study.

CoTEDS Project Team

Tom McAdams

I am interested in how and why cognitive, emotional, and behavioural traits run in families. It has been shown that children resemble their parents not only physically but also in terms of their intelligence, their behaviour, and on many psychological traits. These parent-child associations may arise because parents have a direct impact on the way that their children develop. However, almost all traits are under some degree of genetic influence so these parent-child associations could also arise because children share 50% of their DNA. For example, intelligent parents may rear intelligent children because A) they adopt parenting practices that nurture the development of intelligence in their children, and/or B) intelligent children may inherit a genetic propensity towards intelligence from their intelligent parents. My research is aimed at disentangling the role of the rearing environment from that of genetic transmission, and one particularly powerful way to do this is through the study of twins who have children.

I am therefore very excited that over the next few years we will be setting up the Children of TEDS study (CoTEDS). In this new study we will track the development of the CoTEDS children just as the development of the TEDS twins has been tracked. This time however, there will be an added focus on the role of the parent in child development. This will be the first study of it’s kind, where a sample of twins and their children have both been assessed and their development followed from an early age. This will provide us with a completely unique and powerful research resource. Using data from CoTEDS we will be able to address some age-old questions about the role of the parent in child development.

Yasmin Ahmadzadeh

I gained my BSc in Neuroscience from the University of Manchester in 2015. I joined the TEDS team shortly after as a Research Assistant, helping to set up and run the new study - Children of TEDS (CoTEDS). I am interested in using data from CoTEDS to research the mechanisms underlying intergenerational transmission of mental health disorders. I am planning to start my PhD later this year with the TEDS/CoTEDS team.

Current PhD Students

Saskia Selzam

There is increasing evidence that many different cognitive, non-cognitive and physical traits share a common genetic architecture. I am particularly interested in individual differences in health, health behaviours, personality, educational achievement and intelligence. Therefore, I would like to study the influence of genetic and environmental effects, investigate relationships between these traits and what causes them, as well as identify early predictors. I am interested in using a broad range of methods to answer my research questions, including the twin method as well as DNA based methods.

Rosa Cheesman

I am interested in understanding the genetic and environmental influences on anxiety and depression across development. To explore the aetiology of anxiety and depression, I am employing and comparing twin and genomic methods. I am keen to use polygenic scoring as well as the Children of Twins design to study the role of genotype-environment correlation in the transmission of traits within families.

Andrea Allegrini

I joined the TEDS team in August 2017. My PhD trajectory is part of an international research collaboration aiming to disentangle the genetic and environmental underpinnings of child and adolescent mental health problems. Before joining TEDS, I studied clinical and developmental psychopathology at Vrije University Amsterdam, where I looked at individual differences in physiological responses to stress during development. For my PhD, I am interested in the gene-environment interplay of psychiatric and cognitive related traits in adolescence – the way in which the environment we live in interacts with our underlying genetic predispositions to explain individual differences in developmental outcomes.

Past TEDS PhD students

  • Dr Maciek Trzaskowski
  • Dr Bonny Oliver
  • Dr Rosalind Arden
  • Professor Essi Viding
  • Dr Oliver Davis
  • Dr Corina Greven 
  • Dr Claire Haworth
  • Dr Angelica Ronald
  • Dr Ken Hanscombe
  • Dr Emma Meabur
  • Professor Yulia Kovas
  • Dr Kathryn Asbury
  • Dr Emma Hayiou-Thomas
  • Dr Nicholas Shakeshaft 
  • Dr Kaili Rimfeld 
  • Dr Eva Krapohl
  • Dr Emily Smith-Woolley
  • Dr Ziada Ayorech