BSc (Hons) (Lancaster), PhD (London)

Professor Kim Cornish has made a significant and sustained contribution to the discipline of psychological science, both within Australia and internationally, over the last 20 years. Her particular area of expertise is in the development of the human nervous system, in health and disease, and the cognitive and behavioural anomalies that arise from a range of developmental conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, autism, Williams syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Down syndrome. Her work has helped to characterise specific cognitive and behavioural profiles in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly in the domains of attention and inhibitory control, and has elucidated the complex interplay between genes and human behavior. Professor Cornish’s work has been cited more than 3,000 times, and she has delivered numerous invited lectures in Australia, Canada, the US and Europe. She has also played a leading role in translating her discoveries into practical outcomes for affected children and their families. She led a ground-breaking study on the Development of Early Learning Tools for Attention (DELTA), which resulted in a spin-out company purchased by Avexa. With project partners Grey Innovation and Torus Games, their resulting technology, TALI Train, was shortlisted for the 2015 The Australian/Shell National Innovation Award. Professor Cornish has a stellar track record of mentoring junior scientists, having supervised 21 PhD students and 15 Masters students to completion. Since 2009, she has been Head of the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University, as well as inaugural Director of the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences. She is currently Chair of the Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA), and was a member of the ARC College of Experts (2013-2015; 2016, 2017 – Laureate Fellowships selection panel). In recognition of her achievements, in 2013 she was awarded the SACS Leadership Award.

Professor Cornish is the recipient of numerous research grants for her 20+ career delineating cognitive profiles and trajectories in neurodevelopmental disorders and in typically developing children. During her career, she has been chief investigator on over AUD.0M in competitive grant and fellowship funding.

Since arriving in Australia in 2011, from our premier national funding bodies she has received five ARC (3 Discovery projects, one LEIF and one Linkage) and two NHMRC (project, development) grants.

In addition to her Tier 1 Research Chair in Canada (CAD.4M), over her career, she been awarded two Canadian Institute of Health Research projects, two Canada Foundation for Innovation projects and funding from NIH, Wellcome Trust, Health Foundation UK and more.

Professor Cornish has published over 110 articles in leading scientific and clinical journals including Neurology, Cortex, Scientific Reports, Translational Psychiatry, Developmental Science, Molecular Psychiatry, and Neurobiology of Aging.

1993-1995 University Lecturer (Psychology), Faculty of Science, University of Leicester, UK

1995-2002 Lecturer (Behavioural Sciences), University of Nottingham, UK

1995-2002 University Reader (Psychiatry), University of Nottingham, UK

1995-2002 Senior Lecturer (Psychiatry), University of Nottingham, UK

2002-2009 Research Chair in Developmental Neuroscience & Education, McGill University, Canada

2009-present Professor and Head of School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Australia

2014-present Adjunct Professor, School Psychology, Dept of Psychology, University of South Carolina

2015-present Director, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences

2017-present Board Member, Board of Hudson Institute of Medical Research


• Canada Research Chair, Tier 1 (CIHR), McGill University


• Chair - Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Australia (HODSPA)


• SACS Leadership Award - Executive Category within the State Government and Statutory Authority


• Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity and Inclusion Award for outstanding work in striving for Gender Equity within the Faculty and within STEM disciplines


• Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity and Inclusion Award – Commendation for significant contribution to supporting the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

1. Steele, A., Karmiloff-Smith, A., Cornish K.M., & Scerif, G. (2012). The multiple sub-functions of attention: differential developmental gateways to literacy and numeracy. Child Development, 83(6), 2028-2041. This is the first study to trace developmental trajectories across attention sub-components and measure the impact of differences in attention on domain-specific precursors to early reading and numeracy in young children.

2. Cornish, K.M., Longhi, E., Cole,V., Karmiloff-Smith, A & Scerif, G. (2013). Mapping developmental trajectories of attention and working memory in fragile X syndrome: Developmental freeze or developmental change? Development and Psychopathology, 25(2) 365-376. Demonstrated the importance of capturing developmental change using a longitudinal, cross domain approach to further understand gene-behaviour associations in fragile X syndrome.

3. Cornish, K. M., Kraan, C. M., Bui, Q. M., Bellgrove, M. A., Metcalfe, S. M., Trollor, J., Hocking, D. R., Slater, H. R., Inaba, Y., Li, X., Archibald, A. D., Turbitt, E., Cohen, J., & Godler, D. E. (2015). Novel methylation markers of the dysexecutive-psychiatric phenotype in FMR1 premutation females. Neurology, 84(16), 1631-1638. This recent study highlights the novel pathways between genotype and attentional phenotype in females who carry the Fragile-X gene.

4. Kirk, H.E., Gray K., Riby, D.M., Taffe, J. & Cornish, K.M. (2016) Visual attention and academic performance in children with developmental disabilities and behavioural attention deficits. Developmental Science, 1-12. Delineated attention deficits of children with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome and non-specific intellectual disability. Children with Down syndrome compared to other developmental groups, exhibited a higher level of impairment in visual attention, which was in turn associated with poorer academic skills.

5. Kirk, H.E., Gray, K., Ellis, K., Taffe, J. & Cornish, K.M. (2016) Computerised attention training for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities: A randomized controlled trial. Journal or Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(12): 1380-1389.