Emma Meaburn

Reader in Human Genetics

Senior Lecturer

Office: Room 516b, Department of Psychological Sciences
tel: +44 (0)20 3073 8083
email: e.meaburn@bbk.ac.uk

Publications listed on BIROn



Dr Emma Meaburn is a behaviour geneticist based at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, embedded within the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck. In 2019 she joined forces with Prof Angelica Ronald to co-direct the GEL lab, and is the co-director and founder of the BRIDGE Lab (a bio-banking and wet lab). She is also a member of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience


Dr Meaburn obtained a BSc (Hons) in Human Biology at King’s College London in 1999, which sparked an interest in the genetic basis of human behaviour. She went on to complete an MSc in Human Molecular Genetics from Imperial College London in 2000 and joined the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London in 2000 as a research assistant. This led to a PhD in Behavioural Genetics under the supervision of Professor Robert Plomin and several enjoyable years as a TEDS postdoc, where she led the molecular genetic research efforts into the identification of genetic variants associated with individual differences in reading and cognitive abilities. In 2010, she was appointed as a Lecturer at Birkbeck and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016.


Dr Meaburn’s research program is centered on the fundamental, yet timely, question of how genetic variation contributes to individual differences in behavior and how these causal processes unfold across development. Her research harnesses contemporary molecular genomic and statistical genetic approaches using clinical, twin, familial and population-based samples. Key insights from her research include that variance in learning abilities is polygenic, and the development of early versions of polygenic scores with applications in prediction. Her research has over time expanded to address the developmental timing and specificity of genetic and epigenetic effects, and the role of environmental factors. This multidisciplinary work has real-world implications for educational practice and social policies, and for the treatment and early identification of neurodevelopmental disorders.


Please visit Dr Meaburn’s Birkbeck webpage for a full list of her publications