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Research groups

Anya Topiwala


Wellcome Trust CRCD Fellow; Consultant Psychiatrist

I qualified in Medicine from the University of Oxford and subsequently pursued specialist training in older adult psychiatry. In 2017 I completed a DPhil in Psychiatry based on the MRC-funded study "Predicting MRI abnormalities with longitudinal data of the Whitehall II Substudy".

My current research, based in the Neuroimaging Statistics group at the Big Data Institute, uses population neuroimaging to study the impact of risk and resilience factors on psychiatric and cognitive disorders of later life. A particular interest is the association of alcohol consumption, a lifestyle factor which is widespread and modifiable, with adverse brain outcomes including dementia. As a practicing clinician I hope my research will ultimately yield benefits in dementia prevention.

In 2019 I was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship to investigate the effect of and mechanistic pathways through which alcohol consumption impacts brain health. Using huge databases, which contain lifestyle and clinical data on millions of people in the UK and US, and the largest brain imaging and genetic samples worldwide, I will clarify how alcohol affects brain structure and function. The research will be conducted in collaboration with colleagues at the Universities of Oxford, Yale and London.

My previous funding has been through the MRC, the Ruth and Nevill Mott Scholarship at Linacre College, and grants from Alzheimer's Research UK and the University of Oxford. Prizes awarded include the Gosling Fellowship from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Junior Investigator Award from the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, and a European Psychiatry Society Research prize.