Mady Hornig, MD

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Mady Hornig, MA, MD is a physician-scientist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health where she is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, where she was a College Scholar (Biology, Law & Society), an MA in Psychology from The New School for Social Research, and an MD from The Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel). A physician-scientist, she is widely recognized for her animal model and clinical research on the role of microbial, immune and toxic factors in the development of brain conditions including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infection (PANDAS), mood disorders, schizophrenia, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and cognitive disorders of aging. She is particularly interested in fetal programming of central nervous system (CNS) disorders that manifest across the life span, ranging from neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism to mood and cognitive disorders in adulthood and later life. She is internationally known for establishing animal models focused on how genes and age-related factors interact with microbes and other environmental agents to lead to inflammation and autoimmune phenomena that disrupt brain development and function. She uses immune profiling, metabolomic, proteomic, epigenetic and microbiome approaches to identify prenatal and birth biomarkers for a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism and ADHD, in the large, prospective MoBa Study in Norway and other pregnancy/birth cohorts. She is applying similar approaches to uncover markers of disturbed immunity and metabolism that correlate with the clinical deficits of disabling diseases such as ME/CFS, with support from the Hutchins Family Foundation/Chronic Fatigue Initiative (CFI) and NIH.

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 in autism pathogenesis and has lectured globally on immune-mediated brain disorders such as autism, PANDAS and ME/CFS. She has over 130 peer-reviewed publications, has edited several books, and has received many academic awards. Her work has been featured by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Discover Magazine, Nature Medicine, Science, Wired, the Huffington Post, O Magazine, CBS News, and This Week in Virology.

She is a member of the President's Council of Cornell Women, and maintains a strong connection with organizations focused on disabilities, such as The Microbe Discovery Project, #MEAction, #MillionsMissing and The Global Autism Project; the environment, including Riverkeeper and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment; and music, including a close association with Jazz at Lincoln Center as a member of the Chairman's Circle.


  • Female

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 1978 Cornell University (College Scholar: Biology)
  • MA, 1983 New School for Social Research (Psychology)
  • MD, 1988 Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel)

Committees, Societies, Councils

Member, American Psychiatric Association

Fellow, American Psychopathological Association

Member, International Society of NeuroVirology

Associate Member, American Society for Virology

International Association for CFS/ME

Honors & Awards

College Scholar, Cornell University, 1974-1978

American Medical Association (AMA) Rock Sleyster Memorial Scholar, 1987-1988

Association for Academic Psychiatry/Mead Johnson Fellow in Academic Psychiatry, 1992

NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 1993-1995

President's Council of Cornell Women, 2004-2007


Research Interests

  • Aging
  • Child and Adolescent Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Genetics
  • Infectious diseases
  • Maternal and Reproductive Health
  • Mental Health

Selected Publications

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. Can the light of immunometabolism cut through “brain fog”? (invited commentary). J Clin Invest 2020;130:1102-1105. doi: 10.1172/JCI134985

Hornig M, Gottschalk G, Peterson DL, Knox KK, Schultz AF, Eddy ML, Che X, Lipkin WI. Cytokine network analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Mol Psychiatry. 2015;21:261-9.

Goldstein JM, Cohen JE, Mareckova KM, Holsen L, Whitfield-Gabrieli S, Gilman S, Buka SL, Hornig M. Impact of prenatal maternal cytokine exposure on sex differences in brain circuitry regulating stress in offspring 45 years later. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2021;118:e2014464118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2014464118

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 Psychiatry2010;15:712-726. [cover article] [*contributed equally; **corresponding author].

Hornig M, Chian D, Lipkin WI. Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain-dependent. Mol Psychiatry 2004;9:833-845 [cover article and Nature View feature, Nature Publishing Group,].

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.

Hornig M, Amsterdam JD, Kamoun M, Goodman DBP Autoantibody disturbances in affective disorders: a function of age and gender? J Affective Disord 55 29-37 1999

Hornig M, Weissenbock H, Horscroft N, Lipkin WI An infection-based model of neurodevelopmental damage Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96 12102-7 1999

Hoffman KL, Hornig M, Yaddanapudi K, Jabado O, Lipkin WI A murine model for neuropsychiatric disorders associated with group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection J Neurosci 24 1780-91 2004

Global Health Activities

Gene-Environment Interactions in an Autism Birth Cohort: This project will describe the developmental trajectory of children with autism spectrum disorders, identify risk factors associated with the development of these disorders, and elucidate biologic markers (genetic, biochemical) present before or at birth that may help to predict children at risk for the development of these disorders.

Infection, fever and immunity in ADHD in a prospective birth cohort in Norway: This project will examine the relationship of immune and infectious factors during pregnancy and early life to the development of ADHD.

Immune profiles, vitamin D and neurological outcomes among children with sickle cell anemia in the US and Uganda: We will examine immune profiles and vitamin D levels among children with sickle cell anemia in the US and Uganda to determine their relationship with neurological outcomes.