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Duncan Astle
Programme leader
01223 767597


Duncan is a Programme Leader at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, where he leads the 4D Research Group. He is also a Fellow and Director of Studies at Robinson College. Prior to this he completed his training at Durham and Nottingham, and held fellowships at Oxford, Royal Holloway and Cambridge.

He is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and his research uses multiple methods to explore how brain systems develop through childhood, and the mechanisms that give rise to divergent developmental trajectories or neurodevelopmental disorders. This programme of work has been supported by the Royal Society, the British Academy, the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, James S. McDonnell Foundation, Templeton World Charitable Foundation, and multiple charities.

Duncan currently serves on the Medical Research Council's Neurosciences and Mental Health Board, as Chair of the Cambrige NIHR BioResource's Scientific Advisory Board, and as Chair of the University's LGBT+ Staff network. He has won a number of Prizes for his research, most recently the Vice-Chancellor's 2020 Award for Impact and Engagement by an established researcher.

Current Funders:

CBSU publications
PEERS, P., PUNTON, S.F., MURPHY, F.C., WATSON, P., Bateman,A., DUNCAN, J.D., ASTLE, D. E., Hampshire, A., MANLY, T, (In Press) A randomised control trial of the effects of home-based online attention training and working memory training on cognition and everyday function in a community stroke sample, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation [Read More]

AKARCA, D., Vertes, P.E., Bullmore, E.T., CALM Team., ASTLE, D. E. (In Press) A generative network model of neurodevelopmental diversity in structural brain organisation, Nature Communications [Read More]

UH, S., DALMAIJER, E.S., SIUGZDAITE, R., Ford, T.J., ASTLE, D. E. (In Press) Two pathways to self-harm in adolescence, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry [Open Access]

DALMAIJER, E., BIGNARDI, G., ANWYL-IRVINE, A., SIUGZDAITE, R. SMITH, T., UH, S., Johnson, A., ASTLE, D. (2021) Direct and indirect links between children’s socio-economic status and education: pathways via mental health, attitude, and cognition, Current Psychology (2021) [Open Access]

RENNIE, J, JONES, J., ASTLE, D. (2021) EXPRESS: Training-dependent transfer within a set of nested tasks, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,1747021821993772 [Read More]

ASTLE, D. , Bathelt, J., Vignoles, A. (2021) Just a phase? Mapping the transition of behavioural problems from childhood to adolescence, Social Psaychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (2021) [Open Access]

ANWYL-IRVINE, A., DALMAIJER, E.S., Quinn, A., Johnson, A. and ASTLE, D. E. (2021) Subjective SES is associated with children’s neurophysiological response to auditory oddballs, Cerebral Cortex Communications, 2(1), tgaa092 [Open Access]

BIGNARDI, G., DALMAIJER, E.S., ANWYL-IRVINE, A., SMITH, T., SIUGZDAITE, R., UH, S., ASTLE, D. (2021) Longitudinal increases in childhood depression symptoms during the COVID-19 lockdown, Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 106(8), 791-797 [Open Access]

BAKER, K., BRKIC, D, Ng-Cordell, E., O’BRIEN, S., Scerif, G., ASTLE, D. (2020) Gene functional networks and autism spectrum characteristics in young people with intellectual disability: a dimensional phenotyping study, Molecular Autism, 11(1), 98 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , AKARCA, D., Johnson, A., Bathelt, J., The RED Team (2020) Far and Wide: Associations between childhood Socio-Economic Status and Brain Connectomics, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 48: 100888 [Open Access]

BIGNARDI, G., DALMAIJER, E.S., ANWYL-IRVINE, A., and ASTLE, D. E. (2020) Collecting Big Data with Small Screens: Group-Tests of Children’s Cognition with Touchscreen Tablets are Reliable and Valid, Behaviour Research Methods, 2 Dec 2020 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. E., Fletcher-Watson, S. (2020) Beyond the ‘core deficit hypothesis’ in developmental disorders, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(5), July 15, 2020 [Open Access]

SIUGZDAITE, R., Bathelt, J., HOLMES, J., ASTLE, D. A. (2020) Transdiagnostic brain mapping in developmental disorders, Current Biology, 30(7):1245-1257.e4 [Open Access]

PEERS, P., ASTLE, D. E., DUNCAN, J.D., MURPHY, F., Hampshire, A., Das, T., MANLY, T. (2020) Dissociable effects of Attention vs Working Memory on cognitive performance and everyday functioning following fronto-parital strokes, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 30(6), 1092-1114 [Open Access]

BRKIC, D., Hawkins, E., AKARCA, D., ZHANG, M., Woolrich, M., BAKER, K., ASTLE, D. (2019) Functional network dynamics in a neurodevelopmental disorder of known genetic origin, Human Brain Mapping, 41(2):530-544 [Open Access]

O’BRIEN, S., NG-CORDELL, E., The DDD Study, ASTLE, D. E. Scerif, G., BAKER, K (2019) STXBP1-associated neurodevelopmental disorder: a comparative study of behavioural characteristics., Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 11: 17 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , ZHANG, M., RENNIE, J.M, BATHELT, J., HAWKINS, R. (2019) Mapping differential responses to cognitive training using machine learning, Developmental Science, 23(4):e12868 [Open Access]

BATHELT, J., Scerif, G., Nobre, A.C., ASTLE, D. E. (2019) Whole-brain white matter organization, intelligence, and educational attainment, Trends in Neuroscience & Education, 15:38-47 [Open Access]

BATHELT, J., ZHANG, M., JOHNSON, A., ASTLE, D. (2019) The cingulum as a marker of individual differences in neurocognitive development, Scientific Reports, 9(1), 2281 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , HOLMES, J., CALM Team, BATHELT, J. (2018) Remapping the cognitive and neural profile of children who struggle at school, Developmental Science, 22(1):e12747 [Open Access]

BATHELT, J., GATHERCOLE, S.E., BUTTERFIELD, S., the CALM team, ASTLE, D. E. (2018) Children’s academic attainment is linked to the global organization of the white matter connectome, Developmental Science, 21(5): e12662 [Open Access]

BATHELT, J., HOLMES, J., the CALM team, ASTLE, D. E. (2018) Data-driven subtyping of executive-function-related behavioural problems in children, Journal of the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), 57(4):252-262.e4 [Open Access]

BATHELT, J., GATHERCOLE, S., JOHNSON, A., ASTLE, D. (2018) Differences in brain morphology and working memory capacity across childhood, Developmental Science [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. (2017) Brain science is child’s play, Research Features [Open Access]

BATHELT, J., Barnes, J., Raymond, L.F., Baker, K., ASTLE, D. (2017) Global and local connectivity differences converge with gene expression in a neurodevelopmental disorder of known genetic origin, Cerebral Cortex, 27(7):3806-3817 [Open Access]

BATHELT, J., ASTLE, D. , BARNES, J., Raymond, L.F., & Baker, K. (2016) Structural brain abnormalities in a single gene disorder associated with epilepsy, language impairment and intellectual disability, Neuroimage: Clinical, 12: 655-665 [Open Access]

GATHERCOLE, S., WOOLGAR, F., the CALM Team, KIEVIT, R.A., ASTLE, D. , Manly, T., HOLMES, J. (2016) How common are WM deficits in children with difficulties in reading and mathematics?, Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 5(4), 384-394 [Open Access]

HAWKINS, E., GATHERCOLE, S., ASTLE, D. , the CALM team, HOLMES, J. (2016) Language problems and ADHS symptoms: How specific are the links?, Brain Sciences, 6(4), 50 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , Barnes, J.,m Nobre, K., Woolrich, M., Baker, K. (2016) Training working memory in childhood enhances coupling between fronto-parietal control network and task-related regions, Journal of Neuroscience, 36(34):9001-9011 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , Kuo, B-C., Scerif, G., Nobre, K. (2016) Top-down activation of spatiotopic sensory codes in perceptual and working-memory search, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28(7)996-1009 [Read More]

ASTLE, D. (2016) Developmental and individual differences in the precision of visuospatial memory, Cognitive Development, 39, July-September, 1-12 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. E., Barnes, J.J.M., Woolrich, M.W.., Baker, K., Colclough, G.L. (2016) Electrophysiological measures of resting state functional connectivity and their relationship with working memory capacity in childhood, Developmental Science, 19(1), 19-31 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , Luckhoo, H., Woolrich, M., Kuo, B-C., Nobre, A.C., Scerif, G. (2015) The Neural Dynamics of Fronto-Parietal Networks in Childhood Revealed using Magnetoencephalography, Cerebral Cortex, 25(10), 3868-3876 [Open Access]

Baker, K., Scerif, G., Astle, D. E., Fletcher, P.C., Raymond, F.L. (2015) Psychopathology and cognitive performance in individuals with membrane-associated guanylate kinase mutations: a functional network phenotyping study., Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 7(1), 8 [Open Access]

Baker, K., ASTLE, D. E., Scerif, G., Barnes, J., Smith, J., Moffat, G., Gillard, J, Baldeweg, T., and Raymond, F.L (2015) Epilepsy, cognitive deficits and neuroanatomy in males with ZDHHC9 mutations., Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, 2(5), 559-569 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , Barnes, J.J., Baker, K., Colclough, G.L., Woolrich, M.W. (2015) Cognitive training enhances intrinsic brain connectivity in childhood, Journal of Neuroscience, 35(16), 6277-6283 [Open Access]

Hawkins, E., ASTLE, D. , Rastle, K. (2015) Semantic Advantage for Learning New Phonological Form Representations, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(4), 775-786] [Read More]

ASTLE, D. , Shimi, A., Woolrich, M., Mantini, D. (2014) Memory Load Modulates Graded Changes in Distracter Filtering, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8:1025 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. E., Luckhoo, H., Woolrich, M.W.W., Kuo, B.C., Nobre, A.C., Scerif, G. (2014) The Neural Dynamics of Fronto-Parietal Networks in Childhood Revealed using Magnetoencephalography, Cerebral Cortex [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , Poliakov, E., Stokes, M., Woolrich,. M., Mantinl, D. (2014) Modulation of Alpha power at encoding + retrieval tracks the precision of VSTM, Journal of Neurophysiology, 112(11), 2939-2945 [Open Access]

Shimi, A., Nobre, A.C., ASTLE, D. , Scerif, G. (2014) Orienting attention within visual short-term memory: Development and mechanisms, Child Development, 85(2), 578-592 [Read More]

Shimi, A., Kue, B-C., ASTLE, D. E., Nobre, A.C., and Scerif, G (2014) Age Group and Individual Differences in Attentional Orienting Dissociate Neural Mechanisms of Encoding and Maintenance in Visual STM, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(4), 864-877 [Read More]

Kuo, Bo-Cheng, ASTLE, D. E. (2014) Neural mechanisms by which attention modulates the comparison of remembered and perceptual representation, PLoS One, 9(1), e86666 [Open Access]

ASTLE, D. , Harvey, H., Stokes, M., Mohseni, H., Nobre, K., Scerif, G. (2014) Distinct neural mechanisms of individual and developmental differences in VSTM capacity, Developmental Psychobiology, 56(4), 601-610 [Read More]

ASTLE, D. & Shimi, A. (2013) The strength of attentional biases reduces as VSTM becomes more full, Journal of Neurophysiology, 110(1), 12-18 [Read More]

Gosling, S.G., ASTLE, D. E. (2013) Directing spatial attention to locations within remembered and imagined mental representations, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7:154 [Open Access]

Murray, A.M., Nobre, A.C., ASTLE, D. E., Stokes, M.G. (2012) Lacking control over the trade-off between quality and quantity in visual short-term memory, PLoS One, 7(8), e41223 [Open Access]