Director of Clinical Research, Patrick Wild Centre, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
My research group carries out studies in two major areas: first, in testing potential therapeutic interventions for autism and intellectual disabilities, and second, the study of brain mechanisms that underlie these conditions.
The focus of our clinical trial work comprises the assessment of potential medical and behavioral interventions. I have been the UK-chief investigator for several clinical trials of new medications for fragile X syndrome and we have also carried out studies targeted at developing social and cognitive abilities in people with autism and intellectual disability.
Related to this work, my group is also involved in studies to identify the clinical, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics of people with genetic causes of autism, intellectual disability, and related conditions. This research informs the development of relevant tools to measure improvement in clinical trials and the identification of subgroups of people who may respond to particularly targeted interventions.
In studying the brain mechanisms underlying autism and intellectual disability we employ a cognitive neuroscience approach and often use Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans to examine brain structure and function.
The laboratory focuses on synaptic function, from the physiological and morphological alterations to the behavioral phenotypes associated with rodent models of Autism and Intellectual Disabilities. We also test the hypothesis that distinct genetic causes of ASDs/IDs convergence on common biochemical and cellular pathologies associated that may be amenable to similar therapeutic approaches.
Professor - University of Edinburgh
Co-Director - Patrick Wild Centre
Director - Simons Initiative