Keynote Speakers 2022

Professor Alison Lane

Keynote: Professor Alison Lane is an occupational therapist with over 25 years of experience in paediatric clinical practice and health service management. She has undertaken research and teaching in both Australia and the United States, with a strong focus on autism and sensory processing. Alison has led seminal papers describing the first sensory subtype models in autism and was the recipient of the prestigious

A. Jean Ayres award from the American Occupational Therapy Association for her contributions to the development of theory in autism and sensory processing. Alison joined the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University in February, 2021 as Deputy Director. Prior to this, Alison was Head of Discipline and Clinic Director of the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Dr Gail Alvares

ECR Keynote: Dr Gail Alvares is a Senior Research Fellow in the CliniKids Autism Research Team at the Telethon Kids Institute, and adjunct research fellow at the University of Western Australia, leading a program of research into autism and mental health. She completed her PhD in 2015 at the University of Sydney before moving to Perth to lead coordinate the Autism CRC’s Australian Autism Biobank, currently the largest detailed biological and clinical repository of information about autism in Australia. She has extensively published in the field (62 journal articles, 4 book chapters) and been awarded competitive grant funding (>$1.2 million as lead investigator, >$2.6 million as associate/co-investigator). In 2016, she was awarded a “Top 5 Under 40” scientist award by ABC’s Radio National and is passionate about communication of research outcomes to the community.

Dr Melanie Heyworth

Autistic Researcher Keynote: Dr Melanie Heyworth is an Autistic Autism researcher, mother to three exceptional Autistic children, and PhD student within the Macquarie School of Education. She is the CEO and founder of the Australian Autistic-run charity, Reframing Autism, which aims to disrupt the status quo for the Autistic community by providing Autistic-led research, therapies, and education. Mel is passionate about genuinely co-produced research, and regularly contributes to, and provides Autistic insights on, Autism research. She co-chairs the Australasian Autism Research Council (AARC). Mel’s current research focus is the mentalisation capacity of parents of Autistic children.