I am a researcher in psychiatric epidemiology at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. I am also a Fellow with MQ Mental Health.
Current Grants as PI
MQ Mental Health (2021-2023)
Supervision of PhD Students as Main Supervisor
Miriam Martini (MEB)
Supervision of PhD Students as Co-Supervisor
Torkel Carlsson (KIND, Dept of Women & Children's Health, KI)
Pei-Yin Pan (KIND, Dept of Women & Children's Health, KI)
Lin Li (School of Medical Science, Örebro University)
The main focus of my research is on better understanding the mental and physical health challenges faced by autistic individuals. Autism affects social communication, behavioral routines, and sensory experiences. Most autistic individuals qualify for a diagnosis of at least one mental health problem, such as anxiety disorders. More recent research suggests that various physical health problems are also somewhat common, such as gastrointestinal diseases.
My research aims to better understand why these challenges so commonly present among autistic individuals. At the moment, I am working with MQ Mental Health to complete a project aiming to identify the risk factors for mental health problems in autistic individuals. I am interested in similar questions in relation to physical health problems. A further aim of my work is to better understand the outcomes associated with these co-occurring difficulties. I ultimately hope that my work will contribute to better detection of co-occurring difficulties with autism, and improved treatment of these problems within health care settings.
I initially undertook training in behavioral genetics, and so I have several smaller projects using twin and family designs to better understand the etiology of neurodevelopmental conditions (mainly autism, but also ADHD). For example, my prior work has shown that it might be beneficial to define these conditions dimensionally and that the etiology of autism and ADHD has remained constant over time, despite an increased prevalence in diagnoses of these conditions.
I am a coordinator for degree projects on the medical program. I am happy to discuss projects with interested undergraduate and masters students with similar interests to mine.
2010-2013 PhD Behavioural Genetics, Institute of Education, London, UK
2009-2010 MSc (with Distinction) Psychological Research Methods, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
2006-2009 BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
Academic honours, awards and prizes
MQ Mental Health Fellows Award (granted for the period 2021-2023), which currently funds my research on autism and mental health.