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Service/Team Director


Audrey Thurm, Ph.D., is Director of the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Phenotyping Service in the Office of the Clinical Director, part of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)’s Intramural Research Program (IRP). After receiving a B.S. in human development from Cornell University, she received training in child clinical psychology at DePaul University, trained as an intern at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and conducted a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She has been at NIMH since 2002, serving in the extramural program until 2006, at which time she moved to the IRP to engage in research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other related neurodevelopmental disorders.

Research Interests

Through the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Phenotyping Service, Dr. Thurm’s research interests focus on evaluating and improving upon diagnostic and cognitive assessment instrumentation through longitudinal studies of risk and characterization of neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition to studying the prodromal and post-diagnostic characterization of idiopathic ASD, studies also focus on phenotypic explorations of genetic disorders associated with Intellectual Disability and ASD. A goal of this research is to improve instrumentation to allow for more finely-tuned developmental assessments that distinguish various phenotype-genotype relationships and serve as useful treatment outcome measures.

Selected Publications

Loss of skills and onset patterns in neurodevelopmental disorders: Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms. Thurm A, Powell EM, Neul JL, Wagner A, Zwaigenbaum L. Autism Res. 2018 Feb;11(2):212-222. doi: 10.1002/aur.1903. Epub 2017 Dec 11. PMID: 29226600.

Classifying and characterizing the development of adaptive behavior in a naturalistic longitudinal study of young children with autism. Farmer C, Swineford L, Swedo SE, Thurm A. J Neurodev Disord. 2018 Jan 5;10(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s11689-017-9222-9. PMID: 29329511.

Framework for assessing individuals with rare genetic disorders associated with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD): the example of Phelan McDermid Syndrome. Soorya L, Leon J, Trelles MP, Thurm A. Clin Neuropsychol. 2017 Dec 21:1-30. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2017.1413211. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29265961.

Modelling gesture use and early language development in autism spectrum disorder.. Manwaring SS, Mead DL, Swineford L, Thurm A. Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2017 Sep;52(5):637-651. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12308. Epub 2017 Jan 24. PMID: 28120370.

Identification of Developmental and Behavioral Markers Associated With Genetic Abnormalities in Autism Spectrum Disorder.. Bishop SL, Farmer C, Bal V, Robinson EB, Willsey AJ, Werling DM, Havdahl KA, Sanders SJ, Thurm A. Am J Psychiatry. Am J Psychiatry. 2017 Jun 1;174(6):576-585. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16101115. Epub 2017 Mar 3. PMID: 28253736.

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