Professor Stewart Einfeld
Chair of Mental Health
M02 - Mallet Street Campus
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Professor Stewart Einfeld is the Chair of Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, and is a Senior Scientist at the Brain and Mind Research Institute. Professor Einfeld has research and teaching interests in the area of child and adolescent psychiatry, developmental disabilities, including intellectual disability and its genetic causes and autism. He is co-developer of the Developmental Behaviour Checklist. This instrument is widely used in clinical and research settings both within Australia and internationally, and has been translated into 21 languages. Professor Einfeld is co-Chief Investigator of the Australian Child to Adult Development (ACAD) Study, now in its 20th year, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and National Institutes of Health. This study examines a broad range of biological, psychological and social factors of potential protection and vulnerability in the development of behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents with intellectual handicap. These include genetic, family, educational, vocational and residential aspects. A major report on the project was published in JAMA. Through advocacy, presentations and writings, Professor Einfeld has played a major role in promoting a re-emergence of interest in intellectual disability in the psychiatric profession in NSW in particular. Professor Einfeld's awards include the World Health Organisation Travelling Fellow, Australian Society for Psychiatric Research Junior Travel Award, National Research Prize from the Australian Society for Study of Intellectual Deficiency. Professor Einfeld's competitive grants total AU$12,807,829.[Hide detail]
Professor Einfeld is a member of the following research teams:
Childhood developmental disorders research programs Childhood diseases of the brain affect over 3% of Australian children under 10 years of age. Without early intervention, these disorders can progress to more severely disabling conditions in adolescence and later life. Based on the latest discoveries and expertise of leading researchers at the BMRI, the Institute provides care to children suffering from Autism, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other disorders of the brain and mind.
Developmental Psychiatry The ability to understand emotion in others is essential for the healthy development of all people. It guides response and decision making to social cues (e.g. aggression) and enhances capacity to develop social bonds and to nurture. Abnormalities of emotion perception may contribute to psychiatric disorders associated with social problems such as autism, schizophrenia, fragile x syndrome, and psychopathy. There has been an enormous increase in community awareness of autism, and Professor Einfeld has played a substantial role in supporting scientifically based understanding of autism and other developmental disorders in childhood. Autism is the prototype disorder of social dysfunction. One of the key impairments is an inability to respond appropriately to social cues, and advances in social neuroscience have identified the neuropeptide oxytocin as playing a key role in social behavior. This ancient mammalian peptide enhances peer recognition, social approach, and bonding behavior across numerous species. This has led some to speculate its use for the treatment of psychiatric disorders characterised by social deficit. Professor Einfeld’s team investigate the effect of oxytocin administration on emotion recognition for young people with autism spectrum disorders. Oxytocin nasal spray may lead to a brief, safe, and effective intervention to remedy emotion recognition deficits. Improvements in core symptoms, particularly if addressed early in life, may result in better outcomes for children with autism.
Professor Stewart Einfeld teaches in mental health related subjects in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Medicine and Pharmacy. Supervision Current higher degree supervision in the areas of:
Transcultural responses to autism
Disruptive behaviour, communication and autism
Temper outbursts in Prader Willi syndrome
Fish oil supplement in autism
Zinc supplementation as a treatment
PhD and Masters' project opportunities