Meet the team

The Stirling Autism Research (STAR) team currently consists of a small group of autistic and non-autistic autism researchers based at the University of Stirling, Scotland. One of our aims is to encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration, between individuals across different disciplines and academic/non-academic settings, and we are always happy to hear from people interested in becoming involved in our research. If you would like to join the Stirling Autism Research group as a collaborator, researcher, volunteer or student, we would like to hear from you (email: autismresearch@stir.ac.uk). We also welcome contact from students interested in applying to study for a PhD within our research areas. We recommend sending a copy of your CV and a detailed research proposal when contacting academics about PhD study.

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Dr Catherine Grainger

Lecturer in Psychology

Catherine's research mainly focusses on cognition in autistic and non-autistic adults. She is particularly interested in understanding how aspects of cognition (e.g., self-awareness) relate to mental health outcomes. She is currently Principle Investigator on a Royal Society of Edinburgh Sabbatical Research Award exploring the relation between metacognition and anxiety in autism. Her research also looks more broadly at episodic memory, prospective memory, theory-of-mind, and alexithymia. Read more about Catherine's research and publications here.

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Dr Eilidh Cage

Lecturer in Psychology

Eilidh’s research looks broadly at the experiences of autistic adults and adolescents, and the challenges related to navigating a predominantly non-autistic world. She is particularly interested in autism acceptance (from both self and others), mental health and wellbeing, autistic identity and diagnosis, camouflaging (or masking) and supporting autistic students at university. She is also passionate about improving practices within autism research itself.

Read more about Eilidh's research and publications here.

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Dr Monique Botha

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Monique’s research focuses on the role of minority stress, stigma, and discrimination in the mental health outcomes of autistic people. As an autistic autism researcher, Monique is passionate about a socially just, ethical, and engaged form of science, which aims for emancipation and equality. Monique currently has a 3-year Leverhulme Fellowship where they will be examining dehumanisation and interpretation bias in autism researchers.

Find out more about Monique's research here.

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Marisa McKinlay

PhD student

Marisa is a part-time PhD student, looking at issues for autistic adolescents. As an experienced Speech and Language Therapist, she is passionate about supporting communication and how environments can be changed to allow increased social engagement. Her research aims to work with autistic young people and those around them, identifying enabling factors and barriers to participation in secondary school. She is supervised by Dr Eilidh Cage, Dr Catherine Grainger and Dr Mary Stewart (Heriot-Watt).

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George Watts

PhD student

George is a part-time PhD student, funded by the ESRC for the project "Understanding experiences of the autistic community for all autistic adults". Her research aims to identify barriers and facilitators to the autistic community for autistic adults, including those with co-occurring learning disabilities. As an autistic self-advocate, researcher and mum to two autistic children, George is passionate about participatory research. She is supervised by Dr Eilidh Cage, Dr Catherine Crompton (Edinburgh) and Dr Joe Long (Scottish Autism)

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Rhys Swainston

Research Assistant

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.

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Khiah Strachan

Network Administrator

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).

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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

 

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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.