Photo credits:
Danish Saroee

Janina Neufeld

Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS.
Researcher/Assistant Professor, Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska Institutet (KIND),
and Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet

Janina Neufeld received her PhD training at the Center for Systems Neuroscience Hannover, where
she investigated the brain mechanisms underlying synesthesia, a phenomenon where specific stimuli
automatically trigger additional sensory-like experiences. Subsequently, Neufeld completed two post-
doctoral training periods, one at the University of Reading and one at Karolinska Institutet in Stock-
holm, focusing on brain alterations associated with autism spectrum conditions. She developed her
own line of research on the link between synesthesia and mental health conditions and was one of
the first researchers to publish scientific evidence on the co-occurrence of synesthesia and autism.

Neufeld aims to elucidate the etiology of synesthesia and the risks and benefits associated with the
phenomenon, such as potentially increased vulnerability to develop certain mental health conditions
and potentially improved memory and sensory processing. Applying a twin design allows her to dis-
entangle genetic and environmental contributions to behavioral and brain alterations in synesthesia
and its association with mental health conditions. Neufeld further aims to generate new insights into
the etiology of autism and to differentiate the correlates of associated difficulties and talents.

Neufeld is collaborating both nationally and internationally with experts from various disciplines (psy-
chiatry, genetics, epidemiology, neuroimaging, and perception). She has published many original re-
search articles on altered brain function and perception in autism in internationally renowned journals,
including Molecular Psychiatry and the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

As a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, Neufeld will focus on the link between synesthesia and mental health
conditions, with a special focus on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In addition to investigating
this link at a cognitive and neurological level, she will also study its genetic origin.

Janina Neufeld is in residence at the Collegium in the academic year 2022-23.
This information is accurate as of the academic year 2022-23.