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T.J.H. (Tonya) White, PhD

Associate Professor and Principal Investigator of Pediatric Population Neuroimaging

  • Department
  • Child Psychiatry
  • Focus area
  • Imaging in Health Sciences



Pediatric population neuroimaging lies at the interface between the disciplines of child psychiatry, radiology, pediatrics, and epidemiology. While there are certain challenges in being at the interface of four different disciplines, there are also tremendous opportunities to address specific questions that lie at this interface.

My group works as a team focusing on five different research domains, including: 

1.) Effects of prenatal and early life experience on downstream brain development

2.) Psychopathology along the continuum

3.) The neurobiology of emerging psychopathology

4.) Pediatric imaging genetics and

5.) Typical development and pediatric neuroimaging methodologies.

Field(s) of expertise

The last two decades have seen an exponential growth in the use of magnetic resonance imaging to study the neurobiology of typical development and disorders affecting the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging is safe, utilizing no ionizing radiation, and can be highly beneficial to evaluate brain structure, function, and structure/function relationships.

I moved from the University of Minnesota in 2009 to set up a neuroimaging program (KNICR) within the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Generation R Study. I currently direct the neuroimaging program in the Generation R Study and via collaborative work with the departments of Radiology, Epidemiology, Bioinformatics, and Pediatrics we have one of the largest pediatric neuroimaging cohorts in the world. The tenets for our work are that developmental and psychiatric disorders emerge within the context of brain development, yet little is known about the developmental trajectory of many of the major psychiatric disorders and their point of divergence from typical developmental trajectories.

It is thus the goal of my research team to carefully map normal neurodevelopment and to map neurodevelopment of individuals with, or at high-risk for developing serious psychiatric disorders. In addition, my team explores environmental factors associated with later neurodevelopment. With nearly 7,000 active participants in the Generation R Study, it is extremely well suited to pursue these research questions.

Education and career

I received a Bachelors degree (magna cum laude) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah and a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. I obtained my Medical Degree from the University of Illinois. Thereafter I completed a combined residency in Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Utah and a Research Fellowship in Neuroimaging from the University of Iowa.

I was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota for 8 years prior to joining the faculty at Erasmus University Medical Centre in 2009. I started a PhD in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 2005 and completed my PhD at the Erasmus University in September 2010.

Scholarships, grants, and awards

A complete CV can be downloaded here.


Incidental Findings on Brain Imaging in the General Pediatric Population.
Jansen PR, Dremmen M, van den Berg A, Dekkers IA, Blanken LME, Muetzel RL, Bolhuis K, Mulder RM, Kocevska D, Jansen TA, de Wit MY, Neuteboom RF, Polderman TJC, Posthuma D, Jaddoe VWV, Verhulst FC, Tiemeier H, van der Lugt A, White TJH. (2017). N Engl J Med. 2017 Oct 19;377(16):1593-1595.

Tracking Brain Development and Dimensional Psychiatric Symptoms in Children: A Longitudinal Population-Based Neuroimaging Study.
Muetzel RL, Blanken LME, van der Ende J, El Marroun H, Shaw P, Sudre G, van der Lugt A, Jaddoe VWV, Verhulst FC, Tiemeier H, White T. (2018). Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 1;175(1):54-62.

Automated quality assessment of structural magnetic resonance imagines in children: Comparisons with visual inspection and suface-based reconstruction.
White T, Jansen PR, Muetzel RL, Sudre G, El Marroun H, Tiemeier H, Qiu A, Shaw P, Michael AM, Verhulst FC. (2018). Human Brain Mapping 39(3): 1218-1231. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23911.

Cortical morphology in 6- to 10-year old children with autistic traits: a population-based neuroimaging study.
Blanken LM, Mous SE, Ghassabian A, Muetzel RL, Schoemaker NK, El Marroun H, van der Lugt A, Jaddoe VW, Hofman A, Verhulst FC, Tiemeier H, White T. (2015). Am J Psychiatry. 2015 May;172(5):479-86.

Best practices in data analysis and sharing in neuroimaging using MRI.
Nichols TE, Das S, Eickhoff SB, Evans AC, Glatard T, Hanke M7,, Kriegeskorte N, Milham MP, Poldrack RA, Poline JB, Proal E, Thirion B, Van Essen DC, White T, Yeo BT. (2017). Nat Neurosci. 2017 Feb 23;20(3):299-303.

Paediatric population neuroimaging and the Generation R Study: the second wave.
White T, Muetzel RL, El Marroun H, Blanken LME, Jansen P, Bolhuis K, Kocevska D, Mous SE, Mulder R, Jaddoe VWV, van der Lugt A, Verhulst FC, Tiemeier H. (2018). Eur J Epidemiol. 2018 Jan;33(1):99-125.

A complete overview of publications can be found here:

Tonya White