Professor Alina Rodriguez
Honorary Professor, Centre for Psychiatry
Alina Rodriguez received her Ph.D. in psychology from Uppsala University, Sweden. She takes a multidisciplinary approach to study life course epidemiology and mental health. She specializes in identifying causal pathways of complex disorders within maternal and child health.
Her primary programme of research is on identifying and understanding factors in the prenatal environment that may perturb foetal development and are associated with negative developmental outcomes in children. This research involves international collaboration and prospective longitudinal studies of tens of thousands of pregnant women and their children primarily from the Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, and Denmark) and the UK, in addition to population-register studies in Sweden and Finland. To understand the mechanisms underlying associations between the prenatal environment and child development, Alina includes analysis of genetic and epigenetic contributions as well as stress and corticosteroids.
Unhealthy lifestyles including lack of physical activity and obesity are not only major determinants of health, they are also relevant for mental health. The prevention of unhealthy lifestyle factors can then have a benefit for both. Alina’s research shows that high maternal body mass index at the start of pregnancy is associated with higher risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children, highlighting pregnancy as a potential time to intervene for both obesity and mental health prevention in the next generation. Alina’s research also shows an interplay between obesity/physical inactivity and neurodevelopmental problems in childhood and adolescence.