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Affiliated and former members

Professor Peter Hancock is principally interested in the perception of faces and what kind of representations we might use. His research has explored face processing and scene perception in autistic individuals and those with Williams syndrome. Read more about Peter’s research and publications here.

2022 STAR Placements and Research Assistants

We are extremely grateful for the support provided to the STAR team by placement students or voluntary research assistants! This year we are supported by:

Emily Greenan
Jen Dow
Lynsey McDevitt
Sanna Rehman
Sarah Dantas


Khiah Strachan, Network Administrator (STARTS)

Khiah is a former Stirling student that completed her MSc in Autism Research in 2021. Currently, Khiah is the administrator on the Striving to Transform Autism Research Together Scotland (STARTS) network, supporting Dr Eilidh Cage, Dr Monique Botha and Dr Catherine Crompton (University of Edinburgh).

Rhys Swainston, Research Associate

Rhys is a MSc postgraduate working as a Research Assistant alongside Dr Catherine Grainger. He has run two autism-related project looking at the support systems that were available to autistic adults as children and their employability as adults. He is currently assisting on a project that focuses on autism and prospective memory.

Andrew Currie, PhD Student

Andrew is a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde, where he completed his MRes in English studies in 2021. His research focuses on literary narrative processing in autistic adult readers and explores their engagement with literary fiction. He is particularly interested in whether the cognitive traits associated with autism create a unique reading experience for such readers. Andrew is also passionate autism inclusion, advocacy and community participation. He is currently supervised by Dr. Elspeth Jajdelska (Strathclyde), Prof. Nigel Fabb (Strathclyde) and Dr. Catherine Grainger.  

Sarah Dantes, PhD Student


Sarah completed her masters in Autism Research at the University of Stirling in 2022 and is now a full-time PhD student within STAR. Sarah is also involved in the STARTS network, where she completed a placement as part of her masters and continues to work voluntarily assisting with different aspects of STARTS’ research.

Research Interests: 

Sarah’s PhD focuses on the impact of stigma – especially internalized stigma – on autistic adults’ mental health and identity. Sarah is passionate about community-based participatory research and is being supervised by Dr. Cath Grainger and Dr. Carol Jasper.