Autism Panel
1:15pm - 2:00pm

Chair: Dr Jo Moss, Network Director


Dr Sarah White is an autism researcher at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, studying cognitive differences in the autistic mind through development, using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques. Sarah’s interested in whether mentalizing differences can explain the core behaviours that define autism, and whether implicit mentalizing difficulties can account for the specific profile of differences in other domains too - lying, laughter, smiles, bilingualism, executive function, intergroup bias, mental health... to name a few. 

The ultimate aim is to understand autism better in order that evidence-based support can be developed that targets the source and makes a real difference.

Dr Natali Bozhilova is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Surrey, with the Neurodevelopmental Research lab. In 2016, Natali started her PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience as part of the MRC DTP 0+4 programme at King’s College London with Professor Philip Asherson, Professor Katya Rubia and Dr Giorgia Michelini as supervisors.

Natali has also tutored and delivered behavioural therapies to children with a wide range of neurodevelopmental conditions. Her primary interests involve understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms associated with mind wandering in individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions, and more recently the development of autistic and ADHD-related traits in individuals with genetic syndromes.


Dr Katherine Ellis is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Surrey. Her research aims to understand social and emotional difficulties experienced by individuals with genetic syndromes associated with intellectual disability and autism. To date, her research has focused on how differences in social cognitive development, as well as sensory processing, may underpin differences in social and emotional functioning observed in these groups. She hopes to develop sensitive diagnostic tools and targeted interventions based on detailed descriptions of causal mechanisms between genetic abnormality, to neurobiological and cognitive phenotypes, and behaviour within each syndrome.