The Team‎ > ‎

Esther Walton

Research Statement

I am interested in the genetics of psychiatric disorders and their neuroimaging phenotypes. In particular, I research the cumulative risk for schizophrenia by investigating brain-based correlates such as DLPFC dysfunction and reduced cortical thickness. Furthermore, I started investigating epigenetic profiles of schizophrenia patients. 

Scientific Education

since 2011
Ph.D. candidate, TU Dresden, Dresden, Germany 
MSc. Medical Neurosciences, Charité University Hospital Berlin, Berlin, Germany 

2007 - 2008   
Advanced Statistical Design, Open University, England 

Psychology (Bachelor), University College Maastricht, Maastricht, Netherlands

Professional Experience

Jan 2012–Feb 2012
The Mind Research Network, Vince Calhoun, Albuquerque (USA)

Sep 2010
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Vesna Boraska, Cambridge (UK)

Mar 2010–Aug 2010
Massachusetts General Hospital, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Randy Gollub, Boston (USA)

Selected Publications

Walton E., Geisler D., Lee P.H., Hass J., Turner J.A., Liu J., et al. Prefrontal Inefficiency Is Associated With Polygenic Risk for Schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 2013 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Walton E., Turner J.A., Ehrlich S. Neuroimaging as a potential biomarker to optimize psychiatric research and treatment. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2013 Oct;25(5):619-31.

Walton E., Geisler D., Hass J., et al. The Impact of Genome-Wide Supported Schizophrenia Risk Variants in the Neurogranin Gene on Brain Structure and Function. PloS One. 2013 Oct 2;8(10):e76815.

Liu J., Chen J., Ehrlich S., Walton E., et al. Methylation Patterns in Whole Blood Correlate With Symptoms in Schizophrenia Patients. Schizophr Bull. 2014 Jul;40(4):769-76. Epub 2013 Jun 3.

Ehrlich, S., Walton, E., Roffman, J. L., Weiss, D., Puls, I., Doehler, N., Burghardt, R., et al. Smoking, But Not Malnutrition, Influences Promoter-Specific DNA Methylation of the Proopiomelanocortin Gene in Patients With and Without Anorexia Nervosa. Can J Psychiatry. 2012 Mar;57(3):168-76.

Walton, E., Turner, J., Gollub, R. L., Manoach, D. S., Yendiki, A., Ho, B.-C., Sponheim, S. R., et al. Cumulative Genetic Risk and Prefrontal Activity in Patients With Schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 2013 May;39(3):703-11. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Hass, J., Walton, E., Kirsten, K., Liu, J., Priebe, L., Wolf, C., Karbalai, N., Gollub, R.L., White, T., Rößner, V., Müller, K.U., Paus, T., Smolka, M.N., Schumann, G., IMAGEN Consortium, Scholz, M., Cichon, S., Calhoun, V.D., Ehrlich, S. A genome-wide association study suggests novel loci associated with a schizophrenia-related brain-based phenotype. Plos One. 2013 Jun 21;8(6):e64872. Print 2013.

Brauns, S., Gollub, R.L., Walton, E., Hass, J., Smolka, M.N., White, T., Wassink, T.H., Calhoun, V.D., Ehrlich, S. Genetic variation in GAD1 is associated with cortical thickness in the parahippocampal gyrus. J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Jul;47(7):872-9. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Yeo RA, Gangestad SW, Walton E, Ehrlich S, Pommy J, Turner J, Liu J, Mayer AR, Schulz SC, Ho BC, Bustillo JR, Wassink TH, Morrow EM, Sponheim SR, Calhoun VD. Genetic influences on cognitive endophenotypes in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2014 Jun;156(1):71-5. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Walton E, Liu J, Hass J, White T, Scholz M, Roessner V, Gollub R, Calhoun VD, Ehrlich S. MB-COMT promoter DNA methylation is associated with working-memory processing in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls. Epigenetics. 2014 May 16;9(8). [Epub ahead of print]

Hass J, Walton E, Kirsten H, Turner J, Wolthusen R, Roessner V, Sponheim SR, Holt D, Gollub R, Calhoun VD, Ehrlich S. Complexin2 modulates working memory-related neural activity in patients with schizophrenia. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. [in press]

Other Scientific Activities, Honors, Awards

since April 2011         
three-year doctoral scholarship, Friedrich-Ebert foundation 

Conference Scholarship for the FallingWalls Lab conference, AT Kearney 

six-month scholarship to conduct a Master thesis in the US, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) 

2009 – 2010              
two-year predoctoral scholarship, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation

Contact Information

University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus
Department for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Technische Universität Dresden
Fetscherstraße 74, 01307 Dresden

E-Mail: esther.walton(at)