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Dr Kaili Rimfeld PhD
Dr Kaili Rimfeld

Dr Kaili Rimfeld PhD

  • Supervisors

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow

Research subject areas

  • Mental Health

Contact details


Kaili Rimfeld studies causes of correlates of individual differences in academic achievement combining behavioural genetic and statistical genetic methods with psychometrics and innovative assessment methods. She has published empirical research using quantitative genetic methodology, involving both the twin design and DNA-based methods, to increase the understanding of individual differences in educational achievement.

Kaili gained her BSc in Psychology and MSc in Developmental Psychology from Birkbeck College, University of London. In 2013, Kaili received an MRC studentship and began her PhD at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London, supervised by Robert Plomin. The aim of her PhD, that she completed in 2017, was to increase understanding of the aetiology of individual differences in educational achievement at the end of compulsory schooling and beyond.

Kaili Rimfeld’s current work, that is funded by the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship, aims to get to the heart of the association between early educational experiences and adverse life outcomes using advanced statistical genetic methods that aid in identification of specific risk that predict outcomes during childhood and later in life while controlling for genetic confounding.

The work will build upon her research done to date in understanding individual differences in educational outcomes and their cognitive and non-cognitive correlates. She will study educational environments, such as school types and school-related stress and anxiety, and how they relate to children’s genetic propensities and ultimately lead to different life outcomes using advanced statistical methods. Kaili will aim to clarify the developmental trajectories of wellbeing, as well as its associations and the aetiology of the associations with school-related stress and anxiety. These analyses will greatly increase understanding of the development of mental health problems in the context of academic achievement. This line of research will help to understand the complex interplay between environmental risk factors and adverse life outcomes and increase the understanding on how to best intervene to prevent the development of emotional problems during childhood and in adulthood.

Research interests

  • Gene and environment interplay
  • Early predictors of educational achievement, as well as life outcomes associated with it, such as the quality of life and health outcomes
  • Risk and protective factors of mental health problems throughout the lifespan