Keynote Speakers

SSBP 2022

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers at SSBP 2022 will include (in alphabetical order):

Professor Pat Howlin

London, UK

Patricia Howlin is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. Her principal research interests focus on trajectories of development in individuals with autism and factors related to outcome. Professor Howlin is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Fellow of the international Society for Autism Research. She is President of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes and past Chair of the UK Association of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. She is a founding editor of the journal “Autism” and author of over 200 research publications .

Professor Connie Kasari

California, USA

Connie Kasari, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, Distinguished Professor of Human Development & Psychology in the School of Education with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been on the faculty at UCLA where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses and has been the primary advisor to more than 70 PhD students.  She is a founding member of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA. Her research aims to development novel, evidence-tested interventions implemented in community settings.  Recent projects include targeted treatments for early social communication development in at risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers with autism, and peer relationships for school aged children with autism. She leads several large multi-site studies including a network on interventions for minimally verbal school aged children with ASD, and a network that aims to increase equity in access to interventions for children with ASD who are under-represented in research trials.  She is the current president of the International Society of Autism Research.

Kevin Mitchell

Dublin, Ireland

Kevin Mitchell is Associate Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. He studies the genetics of brain wiring and its relevance to variation in human faculties, neurodevelopmental disorders and perceptual conditions like synaesthesia. His current research focuses on the biology of agency and the nature of genetic and neural information. He is the author of “INNATE – How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are” (Princeton University Press, 2018), writes the Wiring the Brain blog and is on Twitter @WiringtheBrain. He is currently working on a new book, “AGENTS – How Life Evolved the Power to Choose”, for Princeton University Press.  

Dr Ellen Melby Langballe

Oslo, Norway

PhD in psychology, Ellen Melbye Langballe, works at the Norwegian National Centre for Ageing and Health. She is the head of the ageing field and senior scientist. 

David Skuse Photo
Professor David Skuse

London, UK

David Skuse is Professor of Behavioural and Brain Sciences at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, and Honorary Consultant in Developmental Neuropsychiatry at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He trained in academic psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, before moving to the Institute of Child Health in 1985. He devised the computerized 3di interview for autism spectrum disorders, which is used by over 20 countries worldwide, many in translation and developed revised criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders for the 11th Revision of the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases.


Currently, his primary research program, funded by a UK Medical Research Council grant (2015-2025) is designed to identify mental health risks in children with intellectual disability due to rare genetic disorders. He is also co-investigating a European cohort of children in the largest study yet of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which aims to discover whether gene therapy can ameliorate associated neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. He also leads an investigation into the development of novel tools for autism assessment that are more suitable for use in ethnically diverse communities than current procedures, with a view to reducing waiting lists.

Dr Ida Elken Sønderby

Oslo, Norway

Ida Elken Sønderby is a senior researcher in neurodevelopmental genetics and brain imaging at Oslo University Hospital, Department of Medical Genetics (, Norway. She is associated with the Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research (NORMENT) and the K.G. Jebsen Centre for neurodevelopmental disorders.

She obtained her PhD in Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Copenhagen and later worked with human sequencing and associations studies on schizophrenia in Norway. During a Marie Curie industrial stay at deCODE Genetics in Iceland in 2013, she developed a particular interest in copy number variant (CNVs), i.e. regions of the genome either deleted or duplicated. Together with Ole Andreassen, she started up the Enhancing Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA-CNV) working group in 2015, a group that she still co-chairs. ENIGMA-CNV carries out mega-analysis and links structural MRI data with copy number variants (CNVs) in the human genome. Using CNVs as ‘models’, her goal is to improve the understanding of (neurodevelop)mental disorders and neurogenetic mechanisms shaping human behavior, cognition, and development.

Professor Ann Swillen

Leuven, Belgium

Professor Ann Swillen is professor at the Departments of Human Genetics and Rehabilitation Sciences at KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) and Head of the Laboratory for Behaviour and Neurodevelopment (for more information please visit her lab’s website.)

Trained as a clinical educational psychologist, Prof. Swillen works at the genetic clinic with children, adolescents and adults who have neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability (ID)/developmental delay (DD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She has more than 30 years of experience/expertise in the clinical follow-up and research of individuals with Copy Number Variants (CNV’s), including those with 22q11.2 deletions/duplications and other CNv’s, resulting in >120 scientific papers on NDD in CNV’s. Ann participates and takes leading positions in several rare disease networks including the NDD European Reference Network (ITHACA), MINDDS (co-PI), 22q11 IBBC (PI), G2MH-consortium (PI). She is co-author of international guidelines on 22q11 DS, Phelan-Mc Dermid syndrome (PMS) and wrote several chapters in international handbooks.


Since 1994, she coordinates the multidisciplinary clinic for persons with 22q11.2 DS at the university hospital (UZ Leuven), and since 2018 she co-started the multidisciplinary clinic for patients with PMS. She recently developed a psychoeducational tool for families to improve understanding and communication around a CNV in the family. Ann received the Angelo DiGeorge Medal in 2016, and the Edelweiss Award in 2020.

Charlotte von der Lippe
Dr Charlotte von der Lippe

Oslo, Norway

Charlotte von der Lippe is a medical doctor (M.D.), with a specialty in clinical genetics. She also holds a Master of Science, and a PhD. Her current position is as a senior consultant in clinical genetics at the department of Medical Genetics at Telemark Hospital Trust. In addition to her clinical work, she supervises master- / PhD- students, and give lectures at meetings, conferences and for students at University level. Her major interests are congenital genetic disorders, syndromology, and dysmorphology. She is also interested in benefits and consequences of genetic testing for the families. Her PhD work focused primarily on women’s experiences of being carriers for X-linked disorders.

Winblad 2022
Dr Stefan Winblad

Gothenburg, Sweden

Stefan Winblad is a licensed psychologist, senior lecturer, researcher and associate professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He is affiliated with the Neuromuscular center at the Sahlgrenska University hospital and the research group on Cognitive neuroscience at the Department of psychology in Gothenburg.


Dr Winblad’s research is focused on clinical neuropsychology in psychiatric and neurological disorders and the interplay between genes, brain, and behavior during the life span. A specific interest concerns cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dysfunctions in muscular dystrophies, such as Myotonic dystrophy type 1 and Duchenne muscular dystrophy and how dysfunctions develop during life.  Dr Winblad is engaged in several ongoing cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on muscular dystrophies, and he collaborates with European research groups on the same topic.