Neurodevelopmental paths to autism

GEL team members working on the projectDr Meaburn, Dr Anna Gui

Collaborators: Professor Emily Jones (Co-PI), Professor Michael Simpson (KCL), Professor Mark Johnson

Funded by: the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI)

The Project: The project is focused on understanding how genetic variation influences early brain development and results in autism symptoms in infants and toddlers.  SNP microarray and whole exome sequencing data has been generated for families participating in the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS,  BASIS families have a least one child with a community clinical diagnosis of autism, and their infant siblings have been characterized at the behavioural, cognitive and neural level from early infancy to childhood. 

We are using the prospective longitudinal design to ask how genetic variants that contribute to autism relate to early social attention and the emergence of autism symptoms, and how genetic effects might be moderated by family environment.


Fish L.A., Nyström P., Gliga T., Gui A., Begum Ali J., Mason L., Garg S., Green J., Johnson M.H., Charman T., Harrison R., Meaburn E., Falck-Ytter T., Jones E.J.H., the BASIS/STAARS team (2021). Development of the pupillary light reflex from 9 to 24 months: associations with common autism spectrum disorder (ASD) genetic liability and 3-year ASD diagnosis. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry.

Gui A., Meaburn E., Tye C., Charman T., Johnson M.H., Jones E.J.H. (2021). Association of polygenic liability for autism with face-sensitive cortical responses from infancy. JAMA Pediatrics, 175(9):968-970,

Anna Gui, Emily J.H. Jones, Chloe C.Y. Wong, Emma Meaburn, Baocong Xia, Greg Pasco, Sarah Lloyd-Fox, Tony Charman, Patrick Bolton, Mark H. Johnson. (202). Leveraging epigenetics to examine differences in developmental trajectories of social attention: A proof-of-principle study of DNA methylation in infants with older siblings with autism. Infant Behavior and Development, Volume 60

Gui, A., Mason, L., Gliga, T., Hendry, A., Begum Ali, J., Pasco, G., Shepard, E., Curtis, C., Charman, C., Johnson, M.H., Meaburn, E., Jones, E. and the BASIS_STAARS team (2020). Look duration at the face as a developmental endophenotype: Elucidating pathways to autism and ADHD. Development and Psychopathology, 1-20. doi:10.1017/S0954579420000930