Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Moritz Herle

Research interests

  • Early life eating behaviours and childhood obesity risk
  • Genetic and Environmental contribution to the development of complex traits
  • Polygenic scoring to predict risk of disease
  • Ethical implications of genetic research


I am interested in how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of individual differences in complex traits. Before joining UCL in January 2015 I completed a BSc in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and an MSc in Genes, Environment and Development at the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre (SGDP) at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.

For my PhD I am applying different behavioural genetic methodologies to explore how emotional overeating develops in childhood, as well as its impact on weight development and obesity risk. I will be analysing data from the Gemini Study- Health and Development in Twins-  using statistical and molecular genetic approaches. My PhD is supervised by Dr Clare Llewellyn, Dr Alison Fildes and Dr Frühling Rijsdijk and is funded by the UCL Grand Challenges Scheme. 




BSc Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London

MSc Genes, Environment & Development, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre (SGDP) at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London


  1. Herle, M., Fildes, A., Rijsdijk, F., Steinsbekk, S and Llewellyn, CH (accepted): The home environment shapes emotional eating in childhood. Child Development. 
  2. Smith AD, Herle M, Fildes A, Cooke L, Steinsbekk S, Llewellyn CH. Food fussiness and food neophobia share a common etiology in early childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2016. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12647 
  3. Smith AD, Fildes A, Cooke L, Herle M, Shakeshaft N, Plomin R, Llewellyn CH. Genetic and environmental influences on food preferences in adolescence. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 104, 2016, 446-453. 
  4. Herle, M., A. Fildes, C. van Jaarsveld, F. Rijsdijk and C. H. Llewellyn (2016). Parental Reports of Infant and Child Eating Behaviors are not Affected by Their Beliefs About Their Twins' Zygosity. Behavior Genetics. doi: 10.1007/s10519-016-9798-y.