Edmund Sonuga-Barke - Biography#

Sonuga-Barke is best known for his scientific work on ADHD. His interest in this topic began in 1987 when, having obtained his PhD (University of Exeter, 1987), he took up a position at London’s Institute of Psychiatry. It was during this time that he developed the subsequently highly influential Delay Aversion Hypothesis of ADHD – offering an alternative paradigm to study the disorder built on the economic approaches developed in his PhD. After two years he moved to the University of Southampton where he remained for 28 years - becoming Professor and Departmental Chair at 35 in 1997. In 2017 he left to take up the Chair of Developmental Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at KCL. Over three decades the scope of his intellectual and scientific contribution has expanded, and its impact grown through the multi-disciplinary integration of genetic and environmental studies of the causes of ADHD, the neuroscientific basis of its pathophysiology and developmental course, and the impact it has on the life chances of those affected by the condition. New theoretical models, such as the dual and triple pathway models and the default mode interference hypothesis, have been developed and tested and novel intervention approaches have been designed and evaluated, including some delivered digitally. In 2005 Sonuga-Barke took over the leadership of the longitudinal English and Romanian Adoptees study at the request of Professor Sir Michael Rutter; an opportunity to make a unique contribution to the science of brain plasticity and its relation to neurodevelopmental risk and resilience. This led him to chair the Lancet Group Commission on the effects of institutional care (2020). He currently has a major focus on understanding the neuro-developmental origins of mental health problems in ADHD and autism. Since 2011 he has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry – the most influential broadly-based journal in its field.

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