What we do

Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and intellectual disability (ID), are conditions that influence the development of the brain. For example, Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common known cause of inherited learning disability. Neurodevelopmental disorders are associated with specific difficulties in a wide range of domains, such as learning, social abilities, language, attention,management of emotion and behaviour.


More than 100 million people worldwide present such neurodevelopmental disorders. In the UK alone, together autism and intellectual disability concern around 3% of the population. For those living with autism or intellectual disability, it is crucial to reach a greater understanding of their experience, abilities, strengths, and difficulties. For them, better support and therapies cannot come soon enough.


At the Patrick Wild Centre, our ambition is to achieve scientific and clinical breakthroughs to better support autistic people and people with intellectual disabilities.

The scientific aims of the Patrick Wild Centre are:

  • To determine the molecular and cellular basis of autism, Fragile X Syndrome and intellectual disabilities.
  • To identify the neurological processes that influence neuronal communication in people with these neurodevelopmental conditions.
  • To translate our knowledge into therapeutic strategies.
  • To validate these strategies using preclinical models.
  • To undertake clinical trials in partnership the public and private sectors.
  • To better understand the cognitive profiles of people with autism, fragile X syndrome and intellectual disabilities
  • To bring forward the value of their lived experiences, considering both their needs and concerns

Bringing together Edinburgh researchers from many backgrounds

Alongside our research effort, an important part of the Patrick Wild Centre’s work is to raise public awareness and understanding of autism, fragile X syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

Integral to the Foundation of the Patrick Wild Centre, Professor Emeritus Eve Johnstone continues to play an active role in raising public awareness of the Patrick Wild Centre

Read more about the work we do on our Research page.

We host public lectures, laboratory tours and interactive exhibitions and events. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news and events.