Anna Gui

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Psychological Sciences

Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development,

Birkbeck, University of London


Twitter: @annagui86


Research interests

Trained as a child-therapist, I am a developmental researcher interested in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying individual differences in developmental trajectories. I am currently working as a senior post-doc at the GEL Lab with Profs. Angelica Ronald, Mark Johnson and Frank Dudbridge. Our Genetics of Early Milestones and Skills (GEMS) project aims to uncover the genetic bases of motor development in infancy and understand how early sensory-motor atypicalities are linked to autism.

During my previous post-doc at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, I coordinated the Behaviour and Online Neuroimaging to study the Development of Socialisation (BONDS) and Transformative Approach with Babies in the Scanner (TABS) studies (PIs: Profs. Emily Jones, Robert Leech, Fred Dick).

My PhD was dedicated to explore the neural, genetic and epigenetic signatures of behavioural differences in social attention. To this aim, I collected DNA and behavioural data from the children who participated in the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (gBASIS) and their family members, under the supervision of Profs. Mark Johnson, Emily Jones and Dr. Emma Meaburn.



2019 - PhD in Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London.

2015 - MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (Distinction), University of Trento, Italy (2015).

2013 - First level Italian MSc in Child Rehabilitation and Research Methodology (Distinction), University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy (2013).

2008 - BSc in Neurological and Psychomotor Approach Therapy (First), University of Padova, Italy.



Haartsen R., Mason L., Garces P., Gui A., Charman T., Tillmann J. et al., (2022) Qualitative differences in the spatiotemporal brain states supporting configural face processing emerge in adolescence in autism, Cortex,

Gui A., Throm E.V., da Costa P.F., Haartsen R., Leech R., Jones E.J.H. (2022), Proving and improving the reliability of infant research with Neuroadaptive Bayesian Optimization, Inf. Child. Dev., e2296.

Carnevali L., Gui A., Jones E.J.H., Farroni T. (2022), Face processing in early development: a systematic review of behavioural studies and considerations in times of COVID-19 pandemic, Front. Psychol. 13:778247.

Fish L.A., Nyström P., Gliga T., Gui A., Begum Ali J., Mason L. et al., (2021) Development of the pupillary light reflex from 9 to 24 months: associations with common autism spectrum disorder (ASD) genetic liability and 3-year ASD diagnosis, Journal Child Psychology & Psychiatry,

Gui A., Meaburn E., Tye C., Charman T., Johnson M.H., Jones E.J.H. (2021), Association of polygenic liability for autism with face-sensitive cortical responses from infancy, JAMA Pediatrics, 175(9):968-970,

Gui A. (2021), A neurodevelopmental perspective on sex-differentiated genetic effects on behavior, Biological Psychiatry, 89:12, e63-e65,

Gui A., Bussu G., Tye C., Elsabbagh M., Charman T., Johnson M.H. and Jones E.J.H. (2021), Attentive brain states to faces in infants with and without later autism, Translational Psychiatry, 11: 196.

Gui A., Mason, L., Gliga, T., Hendry, A., Begum Ali, J., Pasco G., Shephard E., Curtis C., Charman T., Johnson M.H., Meaburn E., Jones E.J.H. and the BASIS team (2020), Look duration at the face as a developmental endophenotype: elucidating pathways to Autism and ADHD, Development and Psychopathology, 1-20,

Gui A., Jones E.J.H., Wong C.C.Y., Meaburn E., Xia B., Pasco G., Lloyd-Fox S., Charman T., Bolton P., Johnson M.H. & the BASIS team (2020), Leveraging epigenetics to understand developmental trajectories of social attention: A proof-of-principle study of DNA methylation in infants with an older sibling with autism, Infant Behavior and Development, 60: 101409,

Braithwaite E., Gui A., Jones E. (2020), Social attention: What is it, how can we measure it, and what can it tell us about autism and ADHD?, in Sabine Hunnius, Marlene Meyer, Progress in Brain Research: Early Social-Cognitive Development, Elsevier,254: 271- 303,

Gui, A. (2019) Evaluating the role of social attention in the causal path to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.


Gui A.*, Throm E.V.*, Haartsen R., Da Costa P.F., Leech R., Mason L., Jones E.J.H (2021, June 18th), Neuroadaptive optimisation to study individual differences in neural correlates of social attention,

Da Costa P.F., Haartsen R., Throm E., Mason L., Gui A., Leech R., Jones E.J.H. (2021), Neuroadaptive electroencephalography: a proof-of-principle study in infants, arXiv, 2106.06029, arXiv:2106.06029



Connecting autism-linked genetic variation to infant social behavior – 10th Aug 2021 @ Spectrum,

Infants’ brain activity when seeing faces is written in their DNA – 8th Jun 2021 @ Birkbeck News

Attentive brain states to faces in infants with and without later autism – 12th Apr 2021 @ AIMS-2-TRIALS News

Investigating early neurodiversity – 21th Mar 2021 @ ASPIRING TO BE YOU

Exploring the genetics of how infants look at faces and how this may be linked to autism – 11th Jan 2021 @ AIMS-2-TRIALS News

Researchers shine a light on the biology of social skills in autism – 13th Oct 2020 @ AIMS-2-TRIALS News


Funding and awards

Wellcome/Birkbeck ISSF2: Psychological Sciences, Conferences and Symposia (October 2022 – March 2023)

Research Innovation Fund supported by Birkbeck (August 2022 – July 2023)

BBSRC LIDo Research Experience Placement (July – August 2022)

Wellcome/Birkbeck ISSF post-doc funding (April-July 2019)

Marie Sklodowksa-Curie Innovative Training Network PhD fellowship (academic years 2015 – 2019)

Merit Award for MSc, University of Trento (academic year 2015)

Erasmus + Mobilità per Studio - European mobility scholarship at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (February – July 2015)

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique for research internship at Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception, Paris Descartes, France (September 2014 – January 2015)

Opera Universitaria Stage for research internship at Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception, Paris Descartes, France (September 2014 – January 2015)