CHDH Seminar Series 2020: Opportunities and challenges of applying dimensional alternatives to the categorically based diagnostic systems to neurodevelopmental disorders — Mirko Uljarevic (Part 1)

Date: Monday 3 August

Time: 12 - 1 PM

Location: Via Zoom. Please use this link at the time of the event to join: https://unimelb.zoom.us/j/93435693474?pwd=Tm9uMWkyY25WY0VqNDNZVFRPeXR2dz09

Seminar Description

Symptom variation within categorically defined disorders limits the utility of the current diagnostic nosologies for etiologically based research and presents an obstacle on the path towards precision medicine. A range of dimensional frameworks which conceptualize variation in clinical phenomenology as a result of the disruptions in the functioning of discrete fundamental neural systems have been put forward recently. The introduction of these alternative dimensional models of psychopathology offer a particularly promising framework for a better understanding of the etiology behind diverse phenotypic presentations across neurodevelopmental disorders. Two seminars will present a range of previous, ongoing and planned work illustrating the utility and applicability of the dimensional approach for better understanding a range of different symptom domains across neurodevelopmental disorders. The First talk will focus on restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests and the second talk on the impaired ability to manage social interactions and navigate the complexities of the social world. Current challenges will be highlighted and future directions discussed.

Speaker Bio

Mirko Uljarević is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne. Prior to his current role at University of Melbourne, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University and La Trobe University. He has received medical degree in Serbia and completed PhD in psychology at Wales Autism Research Centre, Cardiff University.  A major focus of his research has, so far, been on the phenomenology and mechanisms underlying restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors (RRB) and more recently social processing across both typical and atypical development, in particular, autism spectrum Disorder (ASD). This work has used big data approach and focused on the psychometric evaluation of the current instruments as well as on modification of the existing measures. His work has also focused on the following themes (i) understanding of risk and resilience factors underpinning mental health problems in individuals with ASD, with particular foci on anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation; (ii) identifying sources of heterogeneity among individuals with ASD, in particular individual variability in sensory processing and temperament domains of affectivity, self-regulation, and sociability, in order to inform the design of individually tailored intervention programs; and (iii) mental health, well-being, and support for families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.