Scientific Advisors to Research Autism

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. Director of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) in Cambridge

Simon Baron-Cohen, scientific advisor to Research Autism I hold degrees in Human Sciences from New College, Oxford, a PhD in Psychology from UCL, and an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry. I held lectureships in both of these departments in London before moving to Cambridge in 1994.

I am the author of numerous works including Mindblindness (MIT Press, 1995). I have edited a number of scholarly anthologies, including Understanding Other Minds (OUP, 1993, 2001). I have also written books for parents and teachers such as Autism and Asperger Syndrome: The Facts (OUP, 2008). I am also author of the DVD-ROM Mind Reading: an interactive guide to emotions (Jessica Kingsley Ltd, 2003) and The Transporters), an animation for preschool children with autism to help them learn emotion recognition. Both of these were nominated for BAFTA awards.

I have been awarded prizes from the American Psychological Association, the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA), and the British Psychological Society (BPS) for research into autism. For 2007 I was President of the Psychology Section of the BA, Vice President of the National Autistic Society, and received the 2006 Presidents' Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge from the BPS. I am a Fellow of the BPS and the British Academy, and co-editor in chief of the new journal Molecular Autism. My current research is testing the 'extreme male brain' theory of autism at the neural, endocrine and genetic levels.

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Professor Terry Brugha

Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Research, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester and Honorary Consultant Adult General Psychiatrist, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.

Terry Brugha, scientific advisor to Research AutismI operate an NHS assessment clinic for adults who may have Autism Spectrum Disorder and liaise with adult mental health services throughout Leicester and Leicestershire, also providing training to professional staff and teams.

My area of research is psychiatric epidemiology and I am currently developing and testing methods for studying ASD in adult populations throughout England.

I am Associate Editor, Psychological Medicine (Cambridge University Press) and Member National Autistic Society Standards Group.


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Dr. Carole Buckley, BSc MBBS FRCGP

Carole Buckley, scientific advisor to Research Autism A GP since 1986 and currently in partnership in Bristol, I have been the GP member on the NICE guideline development groups for autism in adults and the management of autism in children and young people.

At present I am the GP member for the NICE guideline on learning disability and challenging behaviour and sit on the children and young peoples health outcomes forum.

I was delighted that the Royal College of General Practitioners accepted the proposal that ASD be a clinical priority for GP's from April 2014.

I have a son on the autism spectrum giving a more personal and unique insight into the challenges posed by ASC.

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Dr. Juli Crocombe

Clinical Director for ASD Pathway, St Andrew’s Healthcare.

Juli Crocombe, scientific advisor to Research AutismI am a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry of over 15 years standing. I have extensive knowledge and experience of autism and have worked intensively with people on the autism spectrum who present with complex mental health needs and/or offending behaviour, including those with a learning disability and those with normal or high functional ability.

Committed to improving the quality of health and social care provision for people on the autism spectrum, I have played a significant part in shaping and driving national policy including:

  • member of the DH National Autism External Reference Group for the Strategy for Adults with Autism and chair of the Health working group;
  • member of the NICE Clinical Guideline Development Group for Autism in Adults and Specialist Committee Member of the NICE QSAC for Autism;
  • member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Research Autism;
  • member of the Editorial Board for the NAS Annual National Professional Conference;
  • member of the APPGA Advisory Group for over 10 years and elected as Chair in 2013.

I have contributed to the evidence base through research to develop our understanding of people on the autism spectrum who offend, including internet offences.

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the Goth

Trainer and advocate in autism

 the Goth, scientific advisor to Research AutismDiagnosed eleven years ago with high-functioning autism, I have been working as a trainer and advocate in the autism field since then.

I also produce and edit Asperger United magazine, a free, independent publication funded by the NAS.

My background is farming, physics, linguistics and psychology, and I am also a qualified cabinet-maker.

I have advised on two television series that featured autists, and also uses my hearing to advise people how to get the best sound from hi-fi.


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Dr. Dido Green, PhD

Reader in Rehabilitation, Oxford Brookes University

Dido Green, scientific advisor to Research Autism As an Occupational Therapist I worked within the multidisciplinary service at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS trust for 15 years before moving into academia to expand research in rehabilitation.

My current research interests focus on neurodisability and the neuroplasticity of sensory and motor learning and behaviour. Identification of factors contributing to outcome and predictive modelling of response to treatment are important components of my work.

I am the Allied Health Professions Occupational Therapy Expert Representative to the Department of Health for Children with Learning Disabilities and represent the College of Occupational Therapists on issues for children with neurodisabilities.

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Professor Marie Harder

Professor of Sustainable Waste Mgment, University of Brighton

Professor Marie Harder, scientific advisor to Research AutismI am an applied scientist with nearly 50 refereed papers and 9 PhD student completions. I have initiated dozens of of projects, as head of the Waste and Energy Research Group, totalling over $3,600,000 of public and private funds in the last 7 years.

I am a member of the Editorial Board of the Institute of Civil Engineers journal Waste and Resource Management and the Advisory Committee of Resource Recovery Forum.

I also review for several international journals, and actively participate in discussions of the UK Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Waste Group.

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Dr. Jacqui Jackson, PhD

Scientific Advisor Research Autism

Jacqui Jackson, scientific advisor to Research AutismAs a parent of 7 children, 5 with a range of differences including autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia, I am acutely aware of the need for ongoing research, not only into the causes of these conditions, but also into interventions that can make a real difference to the lives of people with an ASD and their families.

I have a 1st Class (hons) degree in social policy and subsequent postgraduate qualifications in special educational needs. I have just completed a PhD, researching into sensory differences and design for children with an ASD.

I am a consultant for the Centre for the Development of Autism Practice (CDAP) where along with others I provide workshops and training on a variety of issues surrounding ASD, my particularly area of specialty being sensory differences.

I wrote 'Multicoloured Mayhem' - a parents' guide to the many differences experienced in our household. The publicity surrounding this inspired the BBC to make a documentary about us (My Family and Autism) and subsequently a drama (Magnificent 7).

I work closely with the National Autistic Society, to raise awareness and advocate for changes both in service and policy for children and adults with an ASD and their families.

Why we need the Research Autism website

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Professor Martin Knapp

Professor of Social Policy, London School of Economics

Professor Martin KnappI am the Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research.

My current research emphases are primarily dementia, long-term social care, child and adult mental health, and autism.

Much of my work has an economic focus, and seeks to inform policy and practice discussions.

I am a member of the World Dementia Council.

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Professor Ann LeCouteur

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Newcastle University

Ann LeCouter, scientific advisor to Research AutismI work within a multidisciplinary clinical academic team that provides specialist clinical services for children and young people with complex neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

My Current research interests include the aetiology of ASD; evaluation of interventions for children and families; and the promotion of models of assessments and treatment.

I chaired the work of a national working party that led to the publication of The National Autism Plan for Children (2003. I am involved with a number of UK charities for children and young people with complex needs.

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Professor Roy McConkey

Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disabilities at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.     

I am a psychologist by training and a native of Belfast. I have previously held posts in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.  I am a visiting professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa; the University of Sydney and at Trinity College, Dublin.

I have worked in the field of intellectual disability for over 40 years and authored, co-authored and edited over 15 books, and published over  150 book chapters and research papers in learned journals.  

I have acted as a consultant to various United Nations agencies and International NGOs.  This work has taken me to some 20 countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, South America.  

I am a Fellow of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

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Damian Milton

Autism Consultant

Damian Milton, scientific advisor to Research AutismI have recently completed a doctorate with the Autism Centre for Educational Research at the University of Birmingham. I have a number of academic qualifications in sociology, psychology, philosophy and education and a number of years experience as a lecturer in both FE and HE. I also regularly present papers at academic conferences, and am on the editorial board of three academic journals regarding autism and disability.

I work for the National Autistic Society as Head of Autism Knowledge and Expertise (adults and community).  I am also a part-time Researcher at London South Bank University on the cygnet mentoring project.

My interest in autism began when my son was diagnosed in 2005 as autistic at the age of two. I was also diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2009 at the age of thirty-six.

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Dr. Jamie Nicholls, MBBS DRCOG

Retired General Practitioner

Jamie Nicholls, scientific advisor to Research AutismI have been a general practitioner in Hockley, Essex since 1979. I was also a GP Tutor for Southend-on-Sea district. I was responsible for arranging much of the continuing medical education for the GPs in my area, and used this network to attempt to increase the awareness of Autistic Spectrum Disorders amongst my medical colleagues locally and nationally.

I have been a Councillor with the National Autistic Society for many years, and have served as a Board member. I am also a trustee with the Inge Wakehurst Trust which contributed to the foundation of Research Autism.

I have a son with autism, born in 1980, who spent most of his school years at NAS schools, and now lives in a sheltered community for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Sussex, where he works productively on a farm.

My involvement in Research Autism comes from a need to increase the awareness of Autistic Spectrum Disorders in primary care. As this provides the first rung on the ladder towards diagnosis and beyond, it is essential that practitioners are familiar with it.

Why we need the Research Autism website

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Professor Chris Oliver

Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham

I am Professor of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Birmingham and director of the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

I trained as a clinical psychologist at Edinburgh University before completing a PhD on self-injurious behaviour in people with intellectual disability at the Institute of Psychiatry, London.

I am currently researching early intervention, behaviour disorders in people with severe intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder, behavioural phenotypes in genetic syndromes and neuropsychological and behavioural assessment for people with severe intellectual disability.

I have published over 100 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals, am Editor in Chief for the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research and serve on a number of scientific advisory committees for syndrome support groups. Sadly, I support Luton Town Football Club.

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Dr. Jeremy Parr

Clinical Senior Lecturer/Hon Consultant, Newcastle University

Jeremy Parr, scientific advisor to Research Autism I am a Paediatric Neurodisability clinical academic with wide ranging research interests in the Neurodisability field, including investigating the neurobiological basis of disabilities, carrying out intervention studies to ameliorate disability, and undertaking research into clinical service delivery.

I am a Trustee and Co-Chair of the Research Autism Scientific Advisory Committee, as well as a Member of the Executive Committee of the British Academy of Childhood Disability, and Chair of the British Academy of Childhood Disability Strategic Research Group.


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Dr. Liz Pellicano

Reader in Developmental Cognitive Science and Director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Liz Pellicano, scientific advisor to Research Autism

My current research aims to understand the way that autistic people perceive and interpret the world around them and how any such differences impact upon people's everyday lives - at home, at school and in the community. I am also committed to improving relationships between autistic people and (non-autistic) scientists and to enhancing public understanding of autism, both its challenges and opportunities.

I trained as an educational psychologist in Perth, Australia, where I also completed my PhD on the cognitive profile of children with autism, before becoming a Research Fellow in Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. I became Director of CRAE in January 2013.

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Ms. Carol Povey

Director of the Centre for Autism, the National Autistic Society

Carol Povey, scientific advisor to Research AutismI am the Director of the Centre for Autism which aims to build capacity in the autism sector, to help innovate and develop good practice and provide a hub for greater collaboration, both UK wide and internationally. Within the Centre are Accreditation, Information Advice & Advocacy, training and conferences, NAS family support programmes, the regional and national teams, Prospects, Research, the Autism Education Trust, and the Lorna Wing Centre.

My day to day activities are many and varied, and include developing and overseeing a range of projects, ensuring both traded and charitable activities are as efficient and effective as possible, and working closely with external organisations, ensuring that by working together we can develop capacity in the sector and raise standards for people with autism.

I have post graduate qualifications in management, training and social care. I am the chair of the editorial board of the NAS' professional conference, have contributed to a number of publications, and have trained and presented at conferences nationally and internationally.

I have worked with people with autism and their families for over 30 years. I started my career working for the City of Westminster, in a small specialist day service, then spent 12 years working for the Wirral Autistic Society, five years of which were spent establishing their training and development services. In 1996, I moved to Bromley Autistic Trust as Chief Executive where I developed their residential, day and supported living services and established a thriving family support service.

I joined The National Autistic Society as Regional Co-ordinator for London and the South-East in 2001 where I had responsibility for working with branches, parent groups, and local authorities. In 2005 I became Head of Adult Services for the NAS and in 2008, added the role of Responsible Individual to the post. I have been in role of Director of the Centre for Autism since April 2010.

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Dr Sue Smith DHSC

LD Health and Autism Lead, SEQOL

Dr Sue SmithI have been working as a Speech and Language Therapist with adults with autism and/or learning disability for 23 years. I have worked in long-stay hospitals, day services and the community.  I have worked in community teams and also on a consultative basis for organisations such as Hampshire Autistic Society. My more recent work has developed in the area of diagnosis and supporting individuals who are described as having Asperger Syndrome.

I currently lead the learning disability health team and autism diagnostic service for SEQOL and have had a key role in developing national recognised approaches to diagnostic pathway development and innovative models of practice in provision of probation services for people with autism.

My primary area of academic interest has been in exploration of quality of life perceptions of people with autism, in particular people with mild and borderline learning disability.  This was the focus of my doctoral thesis with the University of the West of England. Other areas of academic interest include the experience of adults with autism in the criminal justice system and the perceptions of women with autism. I have presented my doctoral work at national and international conferences.

I have previously published in the area of learning disability and am currently developing work for publication in relation to my doctoral thesis. I contributed to chapters in the following books:

  • Rennie, J. (2007). Learning disability- Physical Therapy, treatment and management (Second Edition). Whurr Publishers.
  • Kelly, A. (2001). Working with adults with learning disability. Speechmark (formally Winslow Press)

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Professor Digby Tantam, MPH PhD FRCPsych FBPsS

Honorary consultant in the Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust and Director of the Septimus group

I have degees in mathemematics and philosophy from the Open University, in Animal Physiology from the University of Oxford, in Public Health from Harvard University, in Medicine from Oxford, and in Psychiatry from London. 

I have been assessing people with autism spectrum disorders since 1980 when I was an MRC training fellow under the supervision of Uta Frith.  I have been a consultant psychiatrist since 1983 and a consultant psychiatric and psychotherapy, and Professor of Psychotherapy, since 1990. 

I am currently an honorary consultant in the Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust, where I founded the Sheffield Autism Service, and Director of the Septimus group, which includes the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (www.nspc.org.uk) where I am deputy principal. I also have an honorary appointment in developmental psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. 

Many of my 160 research publications are about autism, as are 3 of my 13 published books. My most recent books include  Can the world afford autistic spectrum disorder? Jessica Kingsley, 2009, Autism spectrum disorders: a life-span perspective. Jessica Kingsley, 2012, and Emotional Well-being and Mental Health: A Guide for Counsellors & Psychotherapists.  Sage, 2014.  My book on the interbrain is due out next year.

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25 Oct 2017