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Research Funding

European Commission

Healthy Minds from 0-100 years: Optimising the use of European brain imaging cohorts ("Lifebrain"); 2017-2021; Co-applicant with Kristine B. Walhovd, University of Oslo [N, S, GB, D, E, DK, CH]

Medical Research Council (UK):

(1) Predicting MRI abnormalities with longitudinal data of the Whitehall II Substudy; 2012-17; Identifier: NCT03335696;  PI - co-applicants: Geddes, Kivimäki, Mackay, Singh-Manoux, Smith. 

(2) Adult Determinants of Late Life Depression, Cognitive Decline and Physical Functioning - The Whitehall II Ageing Study; 2013-18; Co-applicant with Kivimäki et al., UCL

The HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust:

Research into Ageing and Dementia 2012-2022; PI


Research Councils UK

Klaus Ebmeier


Foundation Chair of Old Age Psychiatry

  • Professorial Fellow (
  • Consultant Psychiatrist (
  • Section Editor Old Age Psychiatry (

Exploring neurobiology of ageing with epidemiological imaging

Why do some people suffer from depression and memory loss as they age, whereas others stay well for the whole of their lives?

We have randomly selected a large group of 800 volunteers, who have been followed up over most of their adult lives (in fact for 30 years), and have examined them in detail for age-related changes of mood and memory function. By also scanning these volunteers with a cutting-edge magnetic resonance imaging protocol that allows us to analyse brain structure, the quality of white matter connections and the networks active in the brain, we hope to discover the mechanisms that link experience and lifestyle in mid-life with illness developing in advancing age. Even more important, we hope to identify the factors that allow us to compensate for risk and to maintain our brain function into high age. Markers of stress during midlife appear to predict brain changes associated with cognitive ageing, as well as earlier alcohol consumption, sleep patterns and cardiovascular risk. Apart from younger age and higher education levels, better structural connectivity in white matter appears to protect participants from mental deterioration.

In a new study called "Healthy Minds from 0-100 years: Optimising the use of European brain imaging cohorts," funded as part of EU Horizon 2020, we now integrate 11 longitudinal mostly population-based cohort studies investigating cognitive and mental health across the life-span (n=18 500). Many subjects (n=6000) underwent MRI examinations (40 000 exams) in addition to clinical cognitive and mental health data and genetic sampling. We are currently linking those databases with each other to benefit from greater accuracy and representativeness to analyse age-related changes.

See here for latest Lifebrain News!

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Neurobiology of Ageing

Key publications