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Professor Kim Cornish PhD

My passion for research is driven by a fundamental belief that new knowledge should be transferred to benefit all society - to families, clinicians and communities to ensure that all individuals with genetic disorders can reach their full potential at every stage in their development. Kim Cornish


Smiling girl with butterfly facepaint

happy boy and a rainbow

Our goal

To discover, to translate, to intervene, to maximise potential across development


book cover

Attention, Genes, and Developmental Disorders

Professor Kim Cornish has just co authored a book with John Wilding (University of London) on "Attention, Genes, and Developmental Disorders" published by Oxford University Press.

This scholarly but readable book will be the definitive text on the development of attention and the range of neuro developmental disorders, such as ADHD and Fragile X Syndrome, in which impaired attention creates serious disability and handicap for young people and their families.


Introducing Kim Cornish
Developmental neuroscientist Professor Kim Cornish is a world-leading expert in genetic disorders, and especially Fragile X syndrome – the most common cause of hereditary mental retardation, and yet one of the least recognised. >> find out more

Research Goals and Themes: A snapshot of what we do and why it’s so important

We have witnessed an amazing decade of unparalleled advances in the fields of molecular genetics, developmental cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, and brain imaging. Collaboratively, these advances have enhanced our understanding of how genes can impact upon phenotypic outcomes, through the identification of specific patterns of cognitive processing (e.g., language, attention, number, face and emotion processing) and the deficits that characterize a specific neurodevelopmental disorder.

One of the major strengths of this interdisciplinary research is that it clarifies which behaviours are more dependent on the overall degree of intellectual impairment, i.e., domain-general deficits no matter what the specific cause, and which behaviours reflect impairment unique to a particular developmental disorder, i.e., domain-specific deficits.

With colleagues from around the world (UK, Europe, North America and Australia) we have begun to identify syndrome-specific “signatures” or profiles that provide crucial information on the relation between gene-brain-behaviour correlates and how they interact across developmental time from infancy all the way through to adulthood. The role of the environment in shaping these genetic-brain-behaviour relationships will be a source of intensive research over the next decade.

Translational value – why is it so important?

A core goal of neurodevelopmental disorders research is to transfer findings to the broader community. Bridging the gap between a new generation of research discoveries and their application and uptake by clinicians, educators, families and policy makers is essential:
  • at the clinical level to ensure that treatments and intervention approaches are targeted to meet the specific needs of different developmental disorders and across their lifespan
  • at the educational level to ensure that progress is made towards inclusion, that is that all children can be educated in regular classrooms with teachers feeling confident in their ability to adapt the curriculum to the differing needs of students with developmental disabilities. Hand in hand with this vision must come appropriate resources
  • at the family level to provide parents with a greater understanding about their child’s condition and how they can help to “educate” teachers and clinicians about what to expect and what services they need as a priority
  • at the policy level to ensure that social inclusion of individuals with developmental disorders is a priority that permeates across all society

Snapshots of Professor Cornish’s research focus

Cornish Developmental Lab

Our Research Focus

Project: DELTA

Project: Australian Fragile X Carrier Study

Project: NAPS

Project: ASD Attention and Academics Study

Project: Williams syndrome and Down syndrome Motor study

Honours, PhD and Postdoctoral projects

People and Collaborators

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