My research focuses on the experiences of autistic adolescents and adults in the areas of health, healthcare, education, and employment. I’m thrilled to be staying at the Autism Research Centre and at Queens’ as a PDRA Rokos Fellow, after completing my PhD here. During my PhD, I identified dramatically increased risks of chronic, physical health conditions among autistic adults, and particularly autistic females. My work also provides early evidence that lifestyle behaviors (e.g., diet, exercise, and sleep), together with other biological or societal factors likely contribute to excess risk of some chronic physical health conditions among autistic individuals. Finally, using mixed-methods studies, I established that autistic adults may be more likely to be LGBTQA+, and may experience differences in sexual activity, substance use, and healthcare quality. Findings from my PhD have been published in journals such as The Lancet Psychiatry, Nature Communications, Molecular Autism, and Autism; in addition, I co-wrote two articles for the GP magazine, Prescriber, aimed at informing healthcare providers about appropriate screening and support for autistic children and adults. I have greatly enjoyed supervising undergraduate students in the fields of Medicine, Psychological and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural Sciences (both at Queens’ and at other Cambridge colleges) over the past three years and look forward to the opportunity to continue teaching during my PDRA position.
The goals of my postdoctoral position are two-fold: (1) I will continue my work regarding the health and healthcare of autistic adults, but will also expand my research to consider the experiences of young autistic adults in the UK who are ‘NEET’ (Not in Employment, Education, or Training); and (2) I will be developing policy documents to help communicate the findings of my research to key stakeholders and policy-makers, in order to improve healthcare quality and support for autistic individuals.
- Postdoctoral Research Associate