Related conditions

Related conditions

Research projects

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a significant health issue that negatively impacts mental health and wellbeing. Many children and adults with an ASD also have co-morbit conditions, such as anxiety and/or depression.

Current studies


Wellbeing and emotional development in 2-year-old siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Researchers: Katherine (Kat) Crea (BBSc Hons), Kristelle Hudry (PhD) and Cheryl Dissanayake (PhD)

Study aim: This is a longitudinal study investigating the role of child, family, and environmental factors in the development of mental health and emotional wellbeing in toddlers who are at high risk for ASDs based on having an older sibling with this diagnosis.

Research has suggested that younger siblings of children with an ASD may be at increased risk of mental health difficulties. To date, no study has investigated this issue in high-risk siblings under 3 years of age. We aim to address this gap in the literature by investigating the role of child, family, and environmental factors in the development of mental health and wellbeing over this important developmental period.

Contact details: Ms Kat Crea kn2crea@students.latrobe.edu.au or Dr Kristelle Hudry k.hudry@latrobe.edu.au.

Investigating the genetics of co-morbid anxiety and insomnia in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Researchers: Amanda Richdale (PhD), Greg Somers (PhD), Matthew Hale (PhD), John Lesku (PhD), Cheryl Dissanayake (PhD) & Stephen Kent (PhD).

Funded by: La Trobe University Research Focus Area 'Understanding Disease' Small Project Grants 

Study aim: The genetic correlates of ASD remain poorly understood. We are investigating the neurological and behavioural function of 16 single genes identified as associated with co-morbid insomnia or anxiety in ASD. Single-gene fruit-fly models for each of these genes will be assayed for impaired social and sleep behaviours, in addition to examining morphological disruptions to axon and synapse architecture.

Contact details: Associate Professor Amanda Richdale a.richdale@latrobe.edu.au or Professor Cheryl Dissanayake c.dissanayake@latrobe.edu.au