National Autism Project – Autism Experts

The experts listed below have been chosen to cover the whole range of research and practice in ASD. They have agreed to lend their knowledge to the project in order that the report to be published in 2016 will be as authoritative as possible.


Baron Cohen, Professor Simon

Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, University of Cambridge, Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge and Director of the Autism Research Centre. He is author of Mindblindness (1995), The Essential Difference (2003), Prenatal Testosterone in Mind (2005), and Zero Degrees of Empathy (2011). He has written books for parents and teachers including Autism and Asperger Syndrome: The Facts (2008), and Teaching Children with Autism to Mindread (1999). He has celebrated autism in An Exact Mind (2004). He is author of the DVDs Mind Reading and The Transporters, to help children with autism learn emotion recognition, both nominated for BAFTA awards. Particular research interests include the basis of sex differences in autism prevalence and the empathising-systematising theory.


Beadle-Brown, Professor Julie

Julie Beadle-Brown is Reader in Intellectual and Developmental Disability at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent and Professor in Disability Studies at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. She is an HPC registered practitioner psychologist. She has worked in the field of autism and intellectual disability for almost 25 years, working collaboratively with and providing advice and support to people and organisations in a number of different countries. The main focus of her work is on improving the quality of life of, and quality of services for, people with autism and their families, with a particular focus on person-centred support. Julie is also involved in evaluating the impact of different intervention programmes.


Bird, Professor Sir Adrian

Adrian Bird is Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh. Adrian’s research focuses on the basic biology and biomedical significance of DNA methylation and other epigenetic processes. His laboratory identified CpG islands as gene markers in the vertebrate genome and discovered proteins that read the DNA methylation signal to influence chromatin structure. Mutations in one of these proteins, MeCP2, cause the severe neurological disorder Rett Syndrome. His laboratory established that the severe neurological phenotype in an animal model is curable.


Brugha, Professor Terry

Terry Brugha is Professor of Psychiatry, University of Leicester, and Consultant Psychiatrist, Leicester. His achievements include the development of the world’s most widely used measure of stressful life events, the List of Threatening Experiences, and the completion of the world’s first nationwide adult general population programme of surveys of the epidemiology of autism spectrum disorder in adults. Terry is also the chair of the WHO advisory committee on the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) and leads a long term programme of clinical trials on the prevention of perinatal depression and has served as Secretary General of the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology.


Bulmer, Caroline

Caroline Bulmer is Senior Manager and Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist at Queensmill School for individuals with severe and complex autism aged 2 – 25 years. Caroline studied Psychology prior to gaining an MSc in Occupational Therapy. She has undertaken accredited masters level post graduate training in Sensory Integration and has completed a number of training courses related to supporting individuals with autism including specific issues such as toileting and feeding. She has over 15 years of experience working with children and young people with autism and their families in a range of settings including education, respite and community within both independent and local authority organisations.


Charman, Professor Tony

Tony Charman holds the Chair in Clinical Child Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College, London. His main research interest is the investigation of social cognitive development in children with autism and the clinical application of this work. He is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and works in a specialist service for children with autism and complex neurodevelopmental conditions at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He has served on a number of expert panels for the Medical Research Council and NICE in the UK, NIH in the USA and the WHO. He has worked closely with UK charities to advocate for services and positive policy development for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families.


Dunn, Dr Yo

Yo Dunn is an independent trainer and consultant ( who works across the public sector (primarily in social care and education) with specialisms in autism and law. She has expertise on the legal framework of adult social care in particular and on a range of areas of public law relevant to the lives of autistic people including the Care Act; safeguarding; commissioning; Mental Capacity law; Deprivation of liberty; Special Educational Needs and Disability Law; health law; data protection; equality and human rights law. She provides training and consults for many English local authorities and other clients (sometimes on behalf of Belinda Schwehr’s Care and Health Law). She has a background in social policy analysis and a thorough working knowledge of professional practice issues in both adult and children’s services. She is autistic, a parent of autistic children and is deeply involved in the adult self-advocate community, having recently retired after many years as company secretary of Autscape. Yo is also a member of NAP’s Autistic Advisory Panel.


Green, Professor Jonathan

Jonathan Green is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Manchester and Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre Honorary Consultant, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. He is a clinician scientist who runs a regional specialist Social Development Clinic at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital undertaking assessment and treatment innovation with ASD and other impairments of social development in children. His clinical trials in autism have included the MRC Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT), and its 5 year follow up into middle childhood; the i-BASIS infancy prodromal social communication intervention trial; and the PASS implementation of PACT in South Asia. He works on developmental studies of parent-child social interaction and comorbidity and is part of a MRC methodology research group developing better methods of process and causal analysis in clinical trials.


Happé, Professor Francesca

Francesca Happé is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of the MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College, London. She has spent the last 25 years trying to understand how people with autism see and process the world, focusing on both social difficulties and non-social assets in ASD. She is Past President of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), winner of the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal, the Experimental Psychology Society Prize and the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award, and was recently made a Fellow of the British Academy.


Howlin, Professor Patricia

Pat Howlin is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London and Professor of Developmental Disorders at the University of Sydney. A particular focus of her research is on the effectiveness of interventions and on outcomes in adult life for individuals with autism. She was a founder editor of the journal Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice. Recent awards include the Autism Association of Western Australia award for services to autism (2011); the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) Life Time Achievement award (2013) and the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Autismus-Spektrum e.V.(WGAS) Kanner-Asperger Medal (2015).


Johnson, Professor Mark

Mark Johnson is MRC Director of the Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development (CBCD) at Birkbeck, University of London, which he established in 1998. He has published over 300 papers and 10 books on brain and cognitive development in humans and other species, including the textbook “Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience” now in its 4th Edition. Currently, his laboratory focuses on typical, at-risk and atypical functional brain development in human infants and toddlers using a variety of different neuroimaging, cognitive, behavioural, and genetic methods. He coordinates several national and international collaborative networks, including the BASIS Autism network, and is a named fellow of the APS, BPS, Cognitive Science Society, and British Academy (FBA).


Long, Dr Andrew

Andrew Long was appointed as consultant in general paediatrics at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2011 having been a consultant in South London since 1991. In 2014 he completed five years as Head of the London School for Paediatrics and Child Health having been Associate Dean and clinical lead for careers since 2006. He was elected as Vice President for Education at Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in July 2013 and is a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators.


Mills, Richard

Richard Mills is Research Director at Research Autism. He is also Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Psychology, University of Bath, an Associate at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, and Visiting Scholar and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Autism at Bond University, QLD, Australia. He is an editor of Autism, the International Journal of Research and Practice and of Advances in Autism. He sits as a member of the autism research advisory committee for the Northern Ireland Assembly. Richard has a particular research interest in the effects of stress in autism, and autism and criminal justice. He has recently co-authored and paper on cyber crime and autism in the context of international law enforcement.


Murphy, Professor Declan

Declan Murphy is the Mortimer D. Sackler Professor of Translational Neurodevelopment, and Director of the Sackler Institute of Translational Neurodevelopment, King’s College, London. He is also Head of the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences (IOP), and Director of the Behavioural and Developmental Psychiatry Clinical Academic Group, King’s College, London. His overarching mission is to translate research from ‘bench to bedside’ and develop new diagnostic approaches and treatments. The research work undertaken in his laboratory currently links to stem cells and animal models through to neuropsychological studies and neuroimaging, and clinical trials (including behavioral interventions) and Health Services research. He leads the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative in autism, EU-AIMS.


Osborn, Sue

Sue Osborn was Chief Executive of Kingwood, a specialist provider of supported living services for 100 adults and young people with autism. Kingwood also undertakes action research programmes, such as the development of national guidance in collaboration with the Helen Hamlyn Centre, the Royal College of Art, on improving the design of homes and services for people with autism, and to develop improved interventions to assist staff in their daily practice. Sue was an NHS Chief Executive for over 25 years having had responsibility for acute, primary and community care, mental health and Learning Disabilities services, as well as having been a Health Authority Chief Executive. In addition Sue was the first Chief Executive of the National Patient Safety Agency, a national NHS organisation, with responsibility from improving the safety of health care delivery within England.


Parr, Dr Jeremy

Jeremy Parr is Clinical Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University and Consultant in Paediatric Neurodisability. Jeremy sees children, families and young adults in NHS clinics focusing on diagnostic assessments, management and interventions, and has wide ranging autism research interests. Jeremy leads the Autism Spectrum Database-UK, which is a database of over 3000 families of children with ASD, who have shown interest in participating in research. He also leads a new programme of research on Autism in Adulthood, focusing on life course and ageing; this includes a longitudinal study of adults and older people on the autism spectrum, and relatives. Jeremy leads or is involved with multiple clinical trials that evaluate treatments or interventions, and projects that investigate health care provision.


Pellicano, Dr Liz

Liz Pellicano is Reader in Developmental Cognitive Science and Director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at the Institute of Education, London. She is a developmental cognitive scientist committed to understanding the distinctive opportunities and challenges often faced by autistic children, young people and adults and tracing their impact on everyday life – at home, at school and out-and-about in the community. Her current research seeks both to understand the way that autistic people perceive and interpret the world around them and to determine the impact of these differences on daily life – especially at home and in the classroom. She also has a longstanding interest in involving autistic people and their families more directly in the research process and has written several discussion pieces on the social and ethical implications of biomedical research on autism.


Pickles, Professor Andrew

Andrew Pickles is Head of Biostatistics at King’s College, London. He has worked on a range of studies of autism spectrum disorder including methods for diagnosis and detection, its genetic basis, its development over time, its co-occurrence with other disorders and more recently both prevention and treatment trials. He is a member of the Academy of Medical Science.


Povey, Carol

Carol Povey has worked with people with autism and their families for over 30 years. Starting in a local authority, Carol then worked for a number of local autism organisations, including the Wirral Autistic Society and Bromley Autistic Trust, where she was Chief Executive. Carol joined the National Autistic Society in 2001 where she is the Director of the Centre for Autism, which aims to promote innovation, excellence and understanding across the autism sector. Carol sits on the Council of Administration of Autism Europe, is Chair of the Professionals Conference editorial board, is on the editorial board of the “Autism” journal, and is on the programme board for the Autism Education Trust.


Singh, Professor Ilina

Ilina Singh is Professor of Neuroscience & Society at the University of Oxford, where she holds a joint appointment between the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Philosophy (Uehiro Centre). Her work examines the psychosocial and ethical implications of advances in biomedicine and neuroscience for young people and families. Recent projects include the ADHD VOICES project; Neuroenhancement Responsible Research and Innovation; and the Urban Brain Project. In 2014, she received a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award for a study entitled: Becoming Good: Early Intervention and Moral Development in Child Psychiatry. She is the lead editor of BioPrediction, Biomarkers and Bad Behavior: Scientific, Ethical and Legal Challenges. She has acted as an advisor to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, NICE, NIMH and other organisations.


Stewart, Dr Catriona

Catriona Stewart chairs SWAN (Scottish Women’s Autism Network) which offers peer-support and advice and is committed to increasing knowledge and understanding. Currently Academic Advisor to Scottish Autism’s Right Click programme, she is conducting ongoing research into women and girls. She gives talks and training, and has had input into a range of consultations, publications and reports, including presenting to a committee of UN Women. Findings from her study on girls with Asperger’s were published in GAP, 2012. In 2015 SWAN delivered two ground-breaking Learning Events for autistic women/girls, families/carers and practitioners at Strathclyde University with Autism Network Scotland. Catriona is working towards her 2nd MSc, an applied research degree in Gender Studies at Stirling University. She is also a member of NAP’s Autistic Advisory Panel.


Swinton, Professor John

John Swinton founded the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability at the University of Aberdeen in 2004. The centre has a dual focus on a) the relationship between spirituality, theology and contemporary healthcare practices and b) the theology and spirituality of disability. It is a multidisciplinary project which aims to enable researchers, practitioners and educators to work together to develop innovative and creative research projects and teaching initiatives. He has worked as a registered nurse specializing in psychiatry and learning disabilities and also as a community mental health chaplain working alongside people with severe mental illness. His areas of research include the spirituality of people with learning disabilities, the relationship between spirituality, theology and health and the theology of disability.


Tricklebank, Dr Mark

Mark Tricklebank is a visiting researcher in the Department of Imaging Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, London. He was previously a Senior Research Fellow in the psychiatric disorders drug hunting team of Eli Lilly and Co Ltd. Prior to joining Lilly in 1995 he was Head of the mental health unit in Novartis Pharma, Basel, and held senior positions in Merck, Sharp and Dohme and Merrell. He is a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society. His research interests encompass the development of treatments for psychiatric and neurological diseases with an emphasis on the translatability of animal models for human cognition.


Wallace, Simon Dr

Simon has been involved in autism research since 1996, working at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. Simon’s research ranged from genetics through to interventions using virtual reality technology. In 2005 he was awarded an Autism Speaks fellowship to conduct a magnetoencephalography study of face processing in children with autism. Since leaving academic research Simon has worked for charities overseeing research grants and programmes in the UK and across Europe. Most notably he led on a programme of work to establish a public health network for autism across eight countries in south east Europe. He is currently the Research Director at Autistica – a medical research charity based in the UK – and leads on the implementation of their current research strategy.