Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine
Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine

Riccardo Marioni Research Group

Genetics and epigenetics of cognitive ageing

Section Head: Translational Epidemiology

Dr Riccardo Marioni
Dr Riccardo Marioni

Research in a Nutshell

I am a Senior Group Leader with a background in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. My primary research goal is to use computational models to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer’s disease and to enhance prediction of the disease.

I have a passion for research into ageing and, in particular, examining the genetic and environmental contributions to health, cognitive ageing, and dementia.

In recent years, much of my research has focused on DNA methylation – chemical changes to DNA that turn genes on and off and that can be added and removed over the lifespan. These methylation marks can be influenced by genes, lifestyle, and the environment, making them ideal candidates to help us understand the interaction between nature and nurture. We are currently using novel methods to model multiple omics datasets (genetics, epigenetics, and proteomics) together to better understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie dementia and to improve risk prediction.  

Much of my group’s work is carried out using data from deeply phenotyped cohorts, such as Generation Scotland, PREVENT Dementia, and the Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 and 1936.


Marioni Group Website (external)

Riccardo Marioni Research Group


Dr Riccardo Marioni Group Leader
Daniel McCartney Postdoctoral Research Associate
Robert Hillary Postdoctoral Research Associate
Yipeng Cheng PhD Student - Edinburgh Helsinki Program in Human Genomics  
Danni Gadd WT Translational Neuroscience PhD programme
Eleanor Conole WT Translational Neuroscience PhD programme (co-supervised)
Jure Mur WT Translational Neuroscience PhD programme (co-supervised)

Elena Bernabeu

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ola Chybowska

MRC Precision Medicine PhD student

Ella Davyson

Biomedical AI PhD student (co-supervised)



Previous Team Members

Kate Doust PhD Student (co-supervised)

Anna Stevenson (2017 - 2020), Robert Hillary (2018 - 2021),  WT Translational Neuroscience PhD students 

Co-supervised PhD Students: Joeri Meijsen (2014 - 2018), Dan Simpson (2017 - 2021)

Anne Seeboth (2019) MRes

Evgenii Lobzaev, Michael Stam, Natalia Szlachetka (2020 group project), Ella Davyson (2021, MSc project). Biomedical AI PhD programme

Olivia Hamilton (2017), Anders Jesperson (2018), Rebecca Madden (2018), Rebecca Lodge (2019), Jure Mur (2019), Tyler Saunders (2019), Sarah Kent (2020), Danni Gadd (2020). Wellcome Trust Translational Neuroscience PhD rotation projects

Yufei Zhang (2020) MSc Statistics and OR

Imrich Berta (2019) MPhil Computational Biology, University of Cambridge

Dominique Ding (2016), Lichen Ma (2019) MSc Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis

XiaoXiao Xie, 2018 MSc Bioinformatics

Daniel Peng, 2016, MSc Cognitive Neuroscience

Jing Guo, 2015, MSc Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis



  • Doctor Tamir Chandra, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Ian Deary, University of Edinburgh 
  • Doctor Kathy Evans, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Andrew McIntosh, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Craig Ritchie, University of Edinburgh
  • Generation Scotland/STRADL research team, University of Edinburgh
  • Lothian Birth Cohort research team, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Peter Visscher, University of Queensland
  • Professor Naomi Wray, University of Queensland
  • Professor Steve Hovath, UCLA 
  • Professor Caroline Relton, University of Bristol
  • Doctor Matthew Robinson, University of Lausanne

Current Funding

Large-Scale Genomic Analysis of Aging-Related Cognitive Change Prior to Dementia Onset (2021 - 2026)
NIH: R01 Research Grant. Co-Investigator (PI: Elliot Tucker-Drob, University of Texas, Austin)
Integrated multi-omics prediction of incident Alzheimer’s disease and its risk factors (2021 - 2024)
Alzheimer’s Society. Principal Investigator
Generation Scotland: NextGenScot (2019 - 2024)

Wellcome Trust. Co-Investigator (PI: David Porteous, University of Edinburgh)

UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Biomedical Artificial Intelligence (2019 - 2027)

EPSRC. CDT Exectutive Committee Member (PI: Ian Simpson, University of Edinburgh)

Integrated gene and brain mapping of language and reading abilities (2020 - 2025)

BBSRC. Co-Investigator (PI: Michelle Luciano, University of Edinburgh)

Validation and optimization of epigenetic clocks (2018 - 2023)

NIH:R01 Research Grant. Co-Investigator (PI:Steve Horvath, UCLA)


Scientific Themes

Genetics, methylation, GWAS, prediction, ageing, cognitive decline