Professor Valsamma Eapen
Program 1 Director, Early Years
MBBS (India), DPM (India), DFT (UK), PhD (UK), FRCPsych (UK), FRANZCP (Aust)
Professor Valsamma Eapen was appointed Director of Program 1: Early Years in September 2017.
In this role, Valsamma oversees research and operations for the program, which aims to improve accuracy and reduce the age of autism diagnosis, identify subtypes of autism and improve interventions.
This role was a natural progression for Valsamma, who has greatly contributed to the program as a researcher since 2013. She has played a critical role in research initiatives aimed at understanding genetic underpinnings of autism and building a national evidence base for outcomes of early intervention programs for children on the autism spectrum.
An internationally-recognised child psychiatrist and researcher, Valsamma’s expertise combines extensive experience in childhood mental health and developmental disorders from a clinical and basic science research perspective. She specializes in epidemiology, genetic underpinnings, neurocognitive processes and clinical presentation of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and the commonly encountered co-morbid conditions including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Tourette syndrome.
In addition to her role with Autism CRC, Valsamma is Chair of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales, Head of the Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry at the South West Sydney Local Health District, Stream Director for a Clinical Academic Group in the Sydney Partnership for Health Education Research and Enterprise (SPHERE), an NHMRC accredited Advanced Health Research and Translational Centre. Testament to her national and international standing include her leadership roles and membership in several professional organisations (e.g. International Neuropsychiatry Association; Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry) and initiatives (e.g. the International Homozygosity Mapping Collaborative for Autism, Psychiatric Genomics Consortium and the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation Genetics Collaborative) and editorial roles (e.g. Deputy Editor, Asian Journal of Psychiatry, Academic Editor, PLOS ONE).