Discovery of circulating RNA biomarkers in autism

Project Details

Autism is a complex, heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disability with an early childhood onset and a lifelong course. The identification of biomarkers to define biologically homogeneous subgroups, predict risk, and aid the diagnosis of autism would greatly facilitate the management of this common disorder, which affects ~1% of the population.

This research project seeks to identify circulating RNA biomarkers that are dysregulated in autism and, using this information, aims to develop a diagnostic blood test for autism. In this way, the research seeks to overcome the current difficulties that exist around obtaining a diagnosis of autism and, by doing so, should help to facilitate intervention and thus improve outcomes for autistic children and their families.


  • Dr Ken Pang, Consultant Paediatrician
  • Dr Nicole van Bergen, Research Officer
  • Dr Rocio Ruis, PhD Candidate
  • Ms Simran Kaur, PhD Candidate
  • Ms Marilou Barrios, PhD Candidate
  • Mr Blake Smith, PhD Candidate
  • Ms Lucy Liu, MA Candidate


  • Metabolic Research Group – Kids Research Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network
  • Professor Carolyn Sue – Kolling Research Institute, Sydney
  • Professor David Ravine – School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Perth
  • Professor Helen Leonard – Telethon Kids Institute, Perth
  • Dr Yiran Guo and Dr Brendan Keating – Center for Advanced Genomics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Dr Carole Lister, Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, Universite du Luxembourg

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD, Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Group

Neurodevelopmental Genomics Research

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Neurodevelopmental Genomics Research