Secretary Nominees

INSAR Board Elections 2019

Inge-Marie Eigsti, PhD

   Bio sketch:
Dr. Inge-Marie Eigsti is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. She is involved in an NIH-funded study of long-term outcomes in ASD, and also leads an NIH-funded training grant on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Communication. She has been increasingly engaged in research on communication skills in minimally verbal individuals with ASD. In addition to her research, Dr. Eigsti is deeply committed to training future scientists and clinicians, working with undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students; for example, in addition to mentoring dozens of students to date in research, she teaches a seminar on ASD, in which undergraduates students serve as peer mentors in a transitional classroom of high school students with developmental disabilities. She is invested in broadening the participation of underserved and underrepresented groups in academia, and as such, is on the UConn Executive Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. She has a served the field by acting as Associate Editor for the Journal of Language Learning and Development, and as an Editorial Board member for several journals, and as a panel member at NIH. She has been increasingly engaged by the movement toward neurodiversity; in October 2018, she hosted a conference on this topic at UConn, featuring Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes, and including facilitated discussions and presentation about stakeholder engagement in research.

Personal statement:
INSAR has long been the most meaningful and informative conference that I attend. I am enthusiastic about the prospect of further serving our dynamic scientific community by serving as secretary. As a clinically-trained researcher, I aim for a balance between the applied and the most basic and exploratory scientific directions in our organization. I have extensive administrative experience within my university, and as director of a productive and highly collaborative lab, and I am confident that I can effectively engage these skills as secretary for INSAR, helping to drive collaboration and innovation in our community.

Petrus de Vries MBChB, FRCpsych, PhD


Petrus de Vries is the Sue Struengmann Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Founding Director of the Centre for Autism Research in Africa at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He trained in Medicine at Stellenbosch University in South Africa before moving to the UK where he completed his clinical training in Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and a PhD in Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. He returned to South Africa in 2012.

He has a clinical research interest in assessment and intervention for infants, young children and adolescents with complex neurodevelopmental and mental health needs. Since his return to South Africa he has focused on global child & adolescent mental health and on implementation science research in low- and middle-income settings. Apart from his interest in autism, he has a longstanding clinical research programme in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and its associated neuropsychiatric disorders (TAND).

Prof de Vries was chairman of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes (SSBP), an international, interdisciplinary research organization, from 2008-2017, and was on the WHO ICF-CY steering group for autism spectrum disorders and ADHD, under the chairmanship of Prof Sven Bolte. He is the Treasurer of the International Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) where he also coordinates the Helmut Remschmidt Research Seminars (HRRS), an international research capacity building programme. He is associate editor of the Journal of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, co-editor of the IACAPAP Monograph, and is on the editorial boards of Autism Research and the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.

The Centre for Autism Research in Africa was awarded the inaugural INSAR Cultural Diversity Research Award in 2018. At the same meeting Prof de Vries was elected as Charter INSAR Fellow.

Personal Statement:
Even though 90-95% of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) live in low- and middle-income countries, most ASD research comes from high-income countries. INSAR and the cultural diversity committee have started some excellent initiatives to increase global awareness and global research on ASD. However, the ā€˜Iā€™ in INSAR remains very small. I would be particularly keen to join the INSAR Board and interdisciplinary research colleagues to strengthen our initiatives that will increase awareness, knowledge, clinical services and research expertise about ASD and related disorders around the globe.  



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