Kim Cornish


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Personal profile


Professor Kim Cornish is a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor and the Founding Director of the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health.

Professor Cornish is Professor of Developmental Cognitive neuroscience, recognised internationally for her pioneering research in tracing early cognitive trajectories in young children with vulnerable brain development e.g. fragile X syndrome, autism and ADHD. Professor Cornish’s work has been the catalyst for the development of novel digital interactive programs that target poor cognition early in life to help strengthen and promote learning across the childhood years. She has led interdisciplinary teams across three continents – United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and is the recipient of over $17 million in competitive grants, research fellowships and philanthropic funding.

Professor Cornish champions the need to connect research with real world applications. “We want our communities to thrive at all levels so it is vitally important that scientific discoveries are presented with a focus on their impact,” Professor Cornish reminds us.

Professor Cornish is co-lead of the THRIVE initiative, working to ensure all Monash staff and students have access to state-of-the-art, evidence-based resources to promote and sustain their mental health and wellbeing, and make them feel part of a thriving and inclusive Monash community.

Having gained her PhD in 1991 from the University of London, Professor Cornish has held senior academic positions at the University of Nottingham in the UK; and McGill University in Montreal (Canada), where she awarded the prestigious Canada Research Chair in developmental neuroscience. After joining Monash in 2009, she was the recipient of the SACS Leadership Award (Executive Category within the State Government) for her innovations in creating transformational change in the workplace. In 2017, Professor Cornish was elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and in 2019, she was conferred a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor, the most prestigious title conferred on serving professors of the University. Award of the title is made only to professors of exceptional distinction who have made high-level and sustained contributions to their discipline, Monash University and the community. In 2021, Professor Cornish received the Vice Chancellors Excellence Award (team) for the development of the Monash Health & Wellbeing Strategy (2021-2025), a living, agile workplace strategy to develop and sustain resilience and mental health within the Monash community across its multiple campuses.

Community service

  • 2019 – current: Board Member (Deputy Chair), Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI)
  • 2018 – current: Fellow, Academy of Social Sciences Australia (FASSA)
  • 2017 – current: Board Member, Hudson Institute of Medical Research (HIMR)
  • 2014 – 2018: President, Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology, Australia (HODSPA)

Research interests

  • Tracing early cognitive development
  • Attention training in vulnerable young brains
  • Building digital resources for resilient child and adolescent brains

Monash teaching commitment

PSY1011 Psychology 1A
PSY2031 Developmental and biological psychology
PSY3180 Human neuropsychology: Developmental and neurodegenerative disorders

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of London

… → 1991

Bachelor of Science (Hons), Lancaster University

… → 1988

Research area keywords

  • development
  • atypical
  • typical
  • attention
  • trajectory
  • Williams
  • ADHD
  • children

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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