Who we are > FENS-Kavli Scholars > ALI JAWAID (2023)


Country of origin: Pakistan


Dr. Ali Jawaid is a physician-scientist with training in both clinical and basic neuroscience. He completed his medical studies from Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan, and followed it up with fellowship in Neuropsychiatry from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA. He then proceeded to complete an MD-PhD in Neuroscience from Switzerland (simultaneous PhD degrees awarded by UZH/ETH International Program in Neuroscience and UZH MD-PhD program in 2016). Dr. Jawaid has worked extensively in the fields of childhood trauma, memory, neurodegenerative disorders, neuroepigenetics, and epigenetic inheritance. He has authored 75+ publications, in notable scientific journals, such as Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Human Behavior, Neuron, Nature Communications, Trends in Genetics, EMBO Journal, and Molecular Neurodegeneration and has a current H-index of 27. He chaired the European MD-PhD association between 2016 and 2018, and is a fiction author, poet, and virtual-reality enthusiast outside of scientific work.

Dr. Ali Jawaid currently heads the Laboratory for Translational Research in Exposures and Neuropsychiatric Disorders (TREND Lab) at the Nencki Institute, Warsaw, Poland. He is a strong proponent of bridging the bench-bedside gap in Neuroscience, and using science for humanitarian causes that are not only limited to disease prevention and therapeutics, but also for resolution of human conflicts and peace building. His work has been widely featured in internationally renowned magazines, scientific blogs, and TV channels.


June 2020 - Present
Nencki- EMBL Center for Excellence in Neural Plasticity and Brain Disorders, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Warsaw, Poland
September 2020 - Present
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX, USA


Post-doctoral fellow, Laboratory of Neuroepigenetics, Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich (UZH)/ Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland
Post-doctoral fellow, Laboratory of Neuroepigenetics, Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich (UZH)/ Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland
Ph.D: University of Zurich, Switzerland



Life experiences and environmental conditions are strong determinants of brain health in humans. Exposure to adverse or hostile conditions, especially early in life, often leads to an enhanced vulnerability to neuropsychiatric perturbations. Intriguingly, in some case, the effects of childhood trauma are even transmitted to subsequent generations. Furthermore, certain other exposures, such as presence of metabolic syndrome during late adult life, have a surprisingly protective effect against some neurodegenerative conditions. Importantly, in both cases, molecular cascades related to metabolic signalling are implicated.  

Jawaid lab is focussed on elucidating ways to mitigate the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric and neurogenerative disorders via targeting metabolism. Specifically, this includes dissecting the liaison between non-coding RNAs and lipid molecules in neuropsychiatric sequelae of early life trauma; and investigating how metabolism can be manipulated to counter its neuropsychiatric manifestations across generations. An additional aim of Jawaid lab is to understand the contribution of metabolic factors in pathological protein aggregation and their microglia-mediated clearance in the context of neurodegeneration.