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Clare Elwell is a Professor of Medical Physics at University College London and Vice Dean for Impact for UCL Engineering. She develops functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to image the human brain and her research projects include studies of infant brain development, autism, acute brain injury, migraine and malaria. She currently leads the Brain Imaging for Global Health (BRIGHT) project which delivered the first brain images of infants in Africa.

Clare is Past President of the Society for Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy and current President of the London International Youth Science Forum. She was a 2018 British Science Association Media Fellow at the Financial Times and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the RSA. She was awarded a Brocher Foundation Fellowship to investigate the responsible use of neuroimaging in disorders of consciousness. She is Founder and Trustee of the charity Young Scientists for Africa.

Mark Johnson is Professor of Experimental Psychology, Head of the Department of Psychology at Cambridge, and a Fellow of King’s College. He obtained his BSc in Biological Sciences with honours in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh, and his PhD from Cambridge (King’s College). In between two periods as a Research Scientist at the Medical Research Council’s Cognitive Development Unit in London (1985-89 and 1994-98), he was Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University, USA. In 1997 he moved with MRC funding to Birkbeck, University of London, and established the Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development.


Johnson has published over 400 journal papers and 10 books on brain and cognitive development in human infants, children and in other species. His laboratory currently focuses on typical, at-risk and atypical functional brain development in human infants and toddlers using a variety of different brain imaging, cognitive, behavioural, genetic and computational modelling techniques. He is an elected fellow of several academic societies, including the Association for Psychological Science (2004), the Cognitive Science Society (2012), the British Academy (2011), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2019). He is also recipient of awards such as the Queen’s Anniversary Prize (2006), the BPS President’s Award (2008), the EPS mid-career award (2009), the Huttenlocher Prize (2015), the William Thierry Preyer Award (2017), and the APS Mentor Award (2019).

William Fifer’s research programme focusses on the effects of the early environment on fetal and infant brain/behavior development. Within the fetal/infant perinatal research effort in the Division of Developmental Neuroscience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Columbia University Autism Center of Excellence they have active collaborations within the Departments of Psychiatry, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Behavioral Medicine and Public Health focused on investigations of the role of early experience in shaping fetal/infant physiology and neurobehavior. Their team investigates the complex interplay of sleep physiology, central and peripheral nervous system control and the development of executive functions to understand how they relate to resilience and risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. A major emphasis of their work is to determine how patterns of early life experiences, often associated with pre or perinatal exposures, shape the developing brain and later neurodevelopmental outcome.  NIH, Welcome Leap and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation support  current research on the effects of maternally mediated exposures on the developing fetus, early learning and memory, sensory development, brain regulation during sleep and assessment of risk for neurological disorders.  Their lab is currently part of an NIH Autism Center of Excellence at Columbia Cenrin, including four large cohort studies with local, national and international colleagues in NYC, South Africa, the Northern plains and the United Kingdom investigating early markers and trajectories of neurodevelopmental disorders aimed at early detection and ultimately the development of timely interventions.

Jan Buitelaar is a professor of psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry at the Radboud University Medical Centre, and at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He has a strong clinical and research interest in neuropsychiatric disorders as ADHD, autism and impulsivity and aggression related disorders, and is involved in pharmacological, cognitive, clinical, genetic, and neuroimaging studies in these disorders. His current active research is focused on translational studies aiming to identify new molecular targets for ADHD and autism through matching preclinical models to human imaging genetics studies. His research is supported by numerous grants from the European Union, NIH, and from the Dutch Medical Research Council. He has published more than 1000 peer-reviewed scientific papers with more than 50,000 citations and is among the top 1% of most often cited researchers worldwide.

He has been awarded several honours, such as the research price of the Dutch Society of Psychiatry in 2011, the international travelling speaker fellowship 2011/2012 of the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, the Merz Guest Professorship at Goethe University in Frankfurt in 2014, the Oeuvre Award of European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ESCAP in 2019, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of European Network for Hyperkinetic Disorder Eunethydis in 2022. He is vice-president of the ADHD World Federation, treasurer of Eunethydis, and a fellow of INSAR (International Society for Autism Research). He has been knighted in the order of the Dutch Lion.

Professor Dave Delpy was previously Research Vice Provost UCL, CEO of the EPSRC, Chair of the MoD’s Defence Scientific Advisory Council and Chair of the Strategic Advisory Board for the UK National QT Programme. He is currently a member of the Home Office Science Advisory Council, Brunel University Council, Honorary Treasurer at the Institute of Physics, Chair of the RAEng Healthcare Topic Group and a member of the RAEng Engineering Policy Centre Committee.

Paul Appelbaum is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law, and Director, Center for Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. He directs Columbia’s Center for Research on Ethical, Legal, & Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic, & Behavioral Genetics. The author of many articles and books on law and ethics in clinical practice and research, much of his recent research has focused on the ethical and psychosocial impact of advances in genetics. Dr. Appelbaum is a Past President of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, now chairs the APA’s DSM Steering Committee, and is a member (and former chair) of the Standing Committee on Ethics of the World Psychiatric Association. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Appelbaum is a graduate of Columbia College, received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and completed his psychiatry residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center/Harvard Medical School.

Matthew Goodwin is an Interdisciplinary Professor with tenure at Northeastern University, jointly appointed in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the Khoury College of Computer Science, where he is a founding member of a new doctoral program in Personal Health Informatics and Directs the Computational Behavioral Science Laboratory. Goodwin has held appointments at Harvard Medical School as a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics (2018-2020), Brown University as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (2008-2018), and the MIT Media Lab as Director of Clinical Research (2008-2011). He has also served on the Executive Board of the International Society for Autism Research (2005-2008) and the Scientific Advisory Board for Autism Speaks (2014-2017). He has over 25 years of research and clinical experience working with children and adults on the autism spectrum and developing and evaluating innovative behavioral assessment and intervention technologies, including video and audio capture, telemetric physiological monitors, accelerometry sensors, and digital video/facial recognition systems. Goodwin has received several honors, including a dissertation award from the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, Peter Merenda Prize in Statistics and Research Methodology, Hariri Award for Transformative Computational Science, a career contribution award from the Princeton Autism Lecture Series, and named an Aspen Ideas Scholar by the Aspen Institute and Matilda White Riley Early-Stage Investigator by the National Institutes of Health. He has obtained research funding from various sources, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, Department of Defense, Simons Foundation, Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, and Autism Speaks. Goodwin received his B.A. in psychology from St. Clare’s in Oxford and Wheaton College and his MA and Ph.D. in experimental psychology and behavioral science from the University of Rhode Island. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Affective Computing at the MIT Media Lab in 2010.

Susan Leekam is an Emerita Professor at Cardiff University and a Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellow. She has thirty-five years of research experience in the study of neurodevelopment with a background in cognitive and language development and clinical research. In her clinical research in autism she has developed assessment techniques and training resources that are used in NHS clinical services in Wales, in Europe and in other countries in the world.

Sue was the founding Director of the first national centre for autism research in the UK, the Wales Autism Research Centre. She has experience in the development of collaborative expertise networks that span research, government, and charity sectors. She has served on steering committees for the Welsh Government’s Autism Strategic Action Plan, and the NHS All-Wales Neurodevelopmental Services Pathway, and on MRC, NIHR and ESRC programme committees. In other network projects, she has promoted participatory research within the autism research agenda and is a member of the RECODE DCM Scientific Steering Committee.