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Professor Richie Poulton

Director, Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit
Co-Director, National Centre for Lifecourse Research                                                        

Professor, Department of Psychology

Professor Richie Poulton is Director of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, which conducts the Dunedin longitudinal study—one of the most detailed studies of human health and development ever undertaken.

A multidisciplinary, longitudinal study of 1,037 babies born in Dunedin during 1972–73, the Study members have been followed up since birth, at age 3; then every 2 years to age 15; and at ages 18, 21, 26, 32 and, most recently, 38 (2010-2012). It is next planned to see the Study members at age 45. Recent assessments have included a broad range of studies in the psychosocial, behavioural medicine and biomedical research areas.

Richie Poulton has published more than 200+ peer-reviewed scientific papers, with many appearing in leading international journals. In 2014, he was named as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson-Reuters (one of only four New Zealanders so designated) and was listed in 2014 World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, Thomson-Reuters. In October 2014, he was appointed as Chief Science Advisor for the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, a role he will perform in addition to his duties as Director of the Research Unit.

His research interests are:

  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Gene-environment prediction of complex disorders
  • Psychosocial determinants of chronic physical disease 

The Dunedin Study website has further information on Richie Poulton and the Study itself.

Selected publications

Belsky, D.W., Moffitt, T.E., Houts, R., Bennett, G.G., Biddle, A.K., Blumenthal, J.A., Evans, J.P., Harrington, H. L., Sugden, K., Williams, B.S., Poulton, R., Caspi, A. (2012). Polygenic Risk for Adult Obesity is Mediated by Rapid Childhood Growth: Evidence from a 4-Decade Longitudinal Study. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 166(166), 515-521.

Ioannidis, J.P.A., Loy, E.Y., Poulton, R., Chia, K.S. (2009) Researching genetic versus nongenetic determinants of disease: A comparison and proposed unification. Science Translational Medicine, 1(1), 7ps8. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000247

Caspi, A., Langley, K., Milne, B.J., Moffitt, T. E., O'Donovan, M., Owen, M.J., Polo-Tomas, M., Poulton, R., Rutter, M., Taylor, A., Williams, B. S., Thapar, A. (2008). A replicated molecular genetic basis for subtyping antisocial behavior in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry. 65: 203-210.

Danese, A., Moffitt, T. E., Pariante, C.M., Poulton, R., Caspi, A. (2008). Elevated inflammation levels in depressed adults with a history of childhood maltreatment. Archives of General Psychiatry. 65: 409-415.

Poulton, R., Andrews, G., Millichamp, J. (2008). Gene-environment interaction and the anxiety disorders. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. 258: 65-68.

Robertson, S.P., Poulton, R. (2008). Longitudinal studies to detect gene x environment interactions in common disease - Bang for your buck? Social Science and Medicine. 67: 666-672.

Van Os, J., Rutten, B.P.F., Poulton, R. (2008). Gene-environment interactions: A review of epidemiological findings and future directions. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 34: 1066-1082.

Caspi, A., Williams, B. S., Kim-Cohen, J., Craig, I. , Milne, B.J., Poulton, R., Schalkwyk, L.C., Taylor, A. , Werts, H., Moffitt, T. E. (2007). Moderation of breastfeeding effects on cognitive development by genetic variation in fatty acid metabolism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. jason: 18860-18865.