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Dr Dheeraj Rai


I am a clinical academic psychiatrist and lead the neurodevelopmental disorders research group at the Centre for Academic Mental Health. My clinical work involves providing psychiatric advice and care to adults with intellectual disabilities, and autism assessments for adults with or without intellectual disabilities. 

The work of my research group focuses on three broad areas:

1) Understanding the prenatal and early life determinants of autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions. 

2) Understanding the adult outcomes of these conditions, particularly mental health comorbidity.

3) Interventions that may improve the mental health and quality of life in people with autism.

Much of the work is based within large longitudinal cohorts including the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), the Stockholm Youth Cohort and other population based studies. Because confounding is a major problem in observational studies, our work has increasingly focused on the application of methods that can strengthen causal inference to answer clinically important questions. These include propensity score methods, mendelian randomisation and instrumental variable methods, sibling designs and negative control designs.  

I am also interested in randomised controlled trials of interventions that may improve mental health outcomes and quality of life in autistic adults. Recruitment and retention in such studies is often challenging and I am interested in methodologies to improve the design of such studies and how this can be done in genuine partnership with the autistic community.

The work is essentially interdisciplinary and involves a wide range of collaborative partnerships with colleagues in Bristol and in many different parts of the UK and internationally.  





Bristol Medical School (PHS)

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