Andrew Whitehouse

Professor, BSc Curtin, PhD W.Aust., Director, CliniKids, Telethon Kids Institute, Chief Research Officer, Autism CRC, President, Australian Society for Autism Research

  • The University of Western Australia (M560), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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Personal profile

Biography

Andrew Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research at the Telethon Kids Institute and Professor of Autism Research at The University of Western Australia. He is also Director of CliniKids, Research Strategy Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. Andrew is the current president of the Australasian Society for Autism Research.

At the Telethon Kids Institute he leads a large team that develops and tests new inteventions to support the development of children on the autism spectrum. Andrew has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and attracted over $60 million in competitive research grants. He currently presents an internationally syndicated video series called ’60 Second Science”, which has been viewed by over 2 million people. He is an advisor to State and Commonwealth Governments on policies relating to children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, and he chaired the committee that generated Australia’s first national guideline for autism diagnosis.

Andrew has published one edited book with his twin-brother (Ben), and a popular science book that examined the science behind some of the myths of pregnancy and child development (Will Mozart Make My Baby Smart?). He has also been awarded a Eureka Prize. Prior to coming to the Telethon Kids Institute, Andrew was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

Roles and responsibilities

Angela Wright Bennett Chair of Autism Research, Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia.

Director, CliniKids, Telethon Kids Institute.

Research Strategy Director, Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC).

President, Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR).

Research

For further information about Andrew's research, the research and clinical team he leads, and the CliniKids clinic, please visit the CliniKids website.

CliniKids

At the Telethon Kids Institute, Andrew is the inaugural Director of a new clinical-research centre called CliniKids. CliniKids is a nationally unique clinical model that integrates research projects within clinical practice for children with developmental disorders and provides an international training hub for evidence-based clinical programs. More information about CLiniKids can be found here.

Policy-focused research

Andrew's has led several research-driven policy initaitives. In 2016, he was appointed the Chair of a group of national research and clinical leaders (Kiah Evans, Valsamma Eapen, John Wray) that created the first National Guideline for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. Previously, diagnostic practices for ASD were inconsistent across Australia, leading to confusion in clinical care, inequity in access to services, and difficulties in developing national policy. Andrew led a comprehensive research program to generate recommendations for the optimal clinical process for the diagnosis of ASD. The resulting Guideline included >1,000 pages of research evidence and was endorsed by the NHMRC Council. The Federal Government (Department of Social Services) have invested in nationwide implementation of the Guideline. The Guideline can be downloaded here.

In 2020, Andrew was appointed by the Australian Federal Government to Chair a group of national research leaders that synthesized the world-wide evidence for ASD interventions. There are dozens of different interventions for children with ASD, and a significant policy and clinical challenge has been understanding which interventions are most appropriate for any given child. This ‘wicked problem’ has led to confusion in clinical decision making, wastage in public funding, and significant loss of human potential for children with autism and their families. The research program generated a report providing the most comprehensive synthesis of evidence to date. The findings from the research are being used to inform policy and clinical decision making, including guidance on how to match children with the most appropriate intervention. The report can be downloaded here.

Australian Autism Biobank

Andrew led the development of the Australian Autism Biobank (Autism CRC), which collected biospecimens (blood, stool, urine, hair) and phenotypic data from children with ASD and their families at 4 sites across Australia: WA (UWA), Vic (LTU), NSW (UNSW), Qld (UQ). Over a 3-year period, the sites collected 5,104 biospecimens from 2,857 participants, making this a highly valuable and extensive ASD biorepository. Andrew continues to chair the Access Committee, which administers requests to access these data from individuals and organisations. More information about the Australian Autism Biobank can be found here

 

Community engagement

Andrew is heavily involved in community engagement in science. His activities include:

  • He has written a popular science book about the science of pregnancy and childhood, Will Mozart Make my Baby Smart.
  • He is a regular contributer to The Conversation news website aboiut the science of child development. His articles can be found here.
  • He is also the creator and presenter of a weekly video web-series on Facebook (‘60 Second Science’) that describes autismresearch in lay language, and has been biewed more than 2 million times since 2016. You can view these videos here, and 'follow' the CliniKids Facebook page to receive alerts of all new videos.
  • He is also a Board member of Ocean Heroes, a community organisation that takes children on the autism spectrum surfing.

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