Psychology Colloquium: Dr Gail Alvares (Senior Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute, WA)
Senior Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute, WA
Title: From biobank to clinic: translating autism research into clinical practice
Abstract: Nearly 80 years on from the first descriptions of what we now refer to as autism spectrum disorder, we are now at a crossroads in balancing essential research seeking to understand the mechanisms contributing to differences in neurodevelopment with the imperative from the community to accelerate priority-driven research that makes a meaningful differences in individual’s lives. In this talk, I will discuss a program of research spanning basic science discoveries to clinical intervention evaluations aiming to further evidence-based policies and clinical practices that ultimately benefit individuals on the spectrum and their families. I will present data from the Australian Autism Biobank, the largest biological and clinical repository of information on children on the autism spectrum and their families in Australia, as well as data from a state-wide autism diagnostic registry. I will also discuss recent findings and protocols of several large completed and ongoing trials that, together with our broader program of research, has informed the establishment of a new early intervention clinical research service for children on the autism spectrum and their families, CliniKids. Together, this program of work will provide evidence to challenge long-held dogmas and misconceptions about how we may understand and support individuals on the autism spectrum.