Mady Hornig


Director of Translational Research, Center for Infection and Immunity
Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Phone: 212.342.9036
Fax: 212.342.9044

  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, AB, 1978
  • New School for Social Research, New York, New York, MA, 1978
  • Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, MD, 1988
  • Resident in Psychiatry, Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, 1988-92
  • Psychopharmacology Clinical and Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, 1991-92
  • NIMH Neuropsychopharmacology Fellow, National Research Service Award, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1992-94

Mady Hornig, MA, MD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, directs translational research in the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. A physician-scientist, she is internationally recognized for her animal model and clinical research on the role of microbes, immunity, and xenobiotics in the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infection), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), mood disorders, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). 


Dr. Hornig integrates data from animal model, clinical and epidemiologic studies to understand how exposures to infections, pollutants, and other common stressors may alter gene expression and precipitate neuropsychiatric illness. Her work is guided by the "three strikes" hypothesis: the concept that complex relationships among genes or "nature" (first dimension), environment or "nurture" (second dimension), and timing (third dimension) underlie the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders. Findings from animal models of immune-mediated neurodevelopmental damage are used to sharpen the focus of investigations in human cohorts, creating the basis for translation into novel biomarkers and intervention strategies; hypotheses generated from epidemiologic studies are then rigorously tested in animal models. Her work extends to the search for biomarkers that may serve as harbingers of disease, documentable long before the first evidence of clinical illness. She directs the Chronic Fatigue Initiative Pathogen Discovery and Pathogenesis Program at CII, and is a lead investigator for the Autism Birth Cohort (ABC), a prospective birth cohort study in Norway that is identifying how genes and maturational factors interact with environmental agents to lead to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Hornig also collaborates with Dr. Jill Goldstein (Harvard) on projects examining the influence of immune molecules on sex-specific, prenatal brain development and their role in the genesis of schizophrenia, major depression, and cardiovascular disease in adults. Her work on the MIND (Microbiology and Immunology of Neuropsychiatric Disorders) Project, the largest epidemiologic study of immune factors in mood disorders and schizophrenia, addresses the potential role of viruses and immune responses in these illnesses. In 2004, Dr. Hornig presented to the Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Review Committee and testified twice before congressional subcommittees regarding the role of infections and toxins and their interactions with genetic and maturational factors in autism pathogenesis, urging an overhaul in the production and delivery of immunizations in order to ensure more rapid distribution of safer vaccines. 
  • Hornig M*, Briese T, Buie T, Bauman ML, Lauwers G, Siemetzki U, Hummel K, Rota PA, Bellini WJ, O'Leary JJ, Sheils O, Alden E, Pickering L, Lipkin WI*. Lack of association between measles virus vaccine and autism with enteropathy: a case-control study. PLoS One 2008;3:e3140 (“Exceptional” ranking, Faculty of 1000 Biology, 10 Sep 2008; one of top 5 papers, Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2008; top 12 of 20,623 research articles published in PLoS papers, 2008; top 0.1% of 104,037 PLoS publications through 1/14/2014; included in 2015 PLoS One collection, “The Missing Pieces”)
  • Yaddanapudi K§, Hornig M§*, Serge R, De Miranda J, Baghban A, Villar G, Lipkin WI. Passive transfer of streptococcus-induced antibodies reproduces behavioral disturbances in a mouse model  of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infection (PANDAS). Mol Psychiatry Mol Psychiatry 2010;15:712-726 (cover article)
  • Palacios G§Hornig M§, Cisterna D, Savji N, Bussetti AV, Kapoor V, Hui J, Tokarz R, Briese T, Baumeister E, Lipkin WI. Streptococcus pneumoniae coinfection is correlated with the severity of H1N1 pandemic influenza. PLoS ONE 2009;4:e8540. 
  • Hornig M*, Briese T, Licinio J, Khabbaz RF, Altshuler LL, Potkin SG, Schwemmle M, Siemetzki U, Mintz J, Honkavuori K, Kraemer HC, Egan MF, Whybrow PC, Bunney WE, Lipkin WI. Absence of evidence for bornavirus infection in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Mol Psychiatry 2012;17:486-493 (accompanied by editorial)
  • Hornig M*, Montoya JG, Klimas NG, Levine S, Felsenstein D, Bateman L, Peterson DL, Gottschalk CG, Schultz AF, Che X, Eddy ML, Komaroff AL, Lipkin WI. Distinct plasma immune signatures in ME/CFS are present early in the course of illness. Sci Adv 2015;1:e1400121

*corresponding author

§contributed equally to this work)