Researcher biography

Associate Professor Paul Dawson is the Mater Research Head of Education, a Principal Research Fellow and Program Leader of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Health research program at Mater Research, as well as being an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Queensland. Paul leads the Developmental Disorders Research Group at the Mater with a team of more than 10 biomedical and clinical researchers. Paul has authored over 80 scientific publications, with a strong research interest in the developmental origins of neuro-disability.

Paul's research group collaborates very closely with neonatologists, maternal fetal medicine specialists, obstetricians, bioinformaticians and biochemical pathologists at Mater to investigate clinical, biochemical and genetic markers that predict adverse neurodevelopmental outcome. In particular, his research is focussed on cerebral palsy, non-syndromic intellectual disability, autism and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants. Paul through his work has brought many collaborative groups together. Some of his notable collaborations are with the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH), UQ Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR), Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (QCIDD), the University of Sydney, Cerebral Palsy Alliance and international collaborations at McGill University.

Paul has received more than $1.5 million in competitive grant funding as lead investigator and notes a career highlight as being one of the key investigators, and Autism Biobank member, at the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) which was awarded $31 million from the Australian government.

Paul is heavily involved in national and international peer review and is a strong advocate for health and medical research with executive roles (Past-President, Chair Advisory Committee) for the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR). Paul is currently the Co-Chair of the Queensland Perinatal Consortium (QPaCt) and contributes annually as a review panel member for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

'My career in medical research happened for many reasons, including my interest and passion for understanding the genetics of disorders that impact on people's health and well-being. In my early days, I was fortunate to work with a group of like-minded biomedical and clinician scientists which kicked off many discoveries in neurodevelopmental outcomes, as well as the opportunity to develop and investigate pre-clinical models with the aim of implementing research outcomes to improve healthcare. Working at Mater provides a fantastic opportunity to investigate new approaches for reducing the risks of neurodevelopment in preterm infants. I look forward to the coming years when the benefits of our Mater-led research will be realised and proven around the globe. It's a privilege to be part of medical research and looking back I wouldn't change a thing.'