Dr Jennifer Lau

University lecturer
Understanding and improving anxiety and depression outcomes in childhood and adolescence

Research Themes

Divisional Themes

  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Behavioural Science
  • Imaging
  • Neuroscience

Unit Themes

Selected Publications

Tel 01865 271375
Contact address South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3UD, United Kingdom
Department Department of Experimental Psychology
Dr Jennifer Lau

Dr Jennifer Lau

I am the head of the REDD lab and also Director of the Calleva Research Centre for Evolution and Human Science. My research investigates the interplay between genetic and environmental factors on intermediate neurocognitive mechanisms contributing to the development of anxiety and depression in childhood and adolescence. I am especially interested in how the relationships between risk variables and symptoms change across developmentally-sensitive periods, and in how targeting specific neurocognitive factors through such external manipulations such as cognitive training can change long-term developmental trajectories. My work uses genetically-informative designs to identify inherited neuro-cognitive markers for anxiety and depression; functional neuroimaging techniques paired with experimental tasks, developed to probe specific social-emotional information processing relevant to anxiety and depression; and cognitive bias modification training paradigms to assess the plasticity of neurocognitive vulnerability and associated changes in symptoms.  

Sources of Funding

  • ESRC
  • British Academy
  • Nuffield Foundation
  • Brain and Behavior Foundation


I read Psychology at University College London, University of London. After a year as a research assistant at the Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit at the Institute of Child Health, I moved to the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, where I completed my PhD under the supervision of Dr Thalia Eley and Professor Peter McGuffin. Following a brief visiting fellowship at the Mood and Anxiety Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, I became a lecturer at the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. I have been based at Oxford since October 2007.