Skip to main content
University of Gothenburg
Graduate hat with books in library
Photo: Chinnapong/

PhD research

Meet GNCs PhD students and learn about their research projects!

Our PhD students

Spearheaded by Professor Christopher Gillberg, the GNC's predecessor, the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, has been successful in terms of supervising PhD students and subsequently leading them to gain their PhD degree.

When the GNC was founded, the centre pledged to double the number of PhD students supervised and PhD degrees gained over a five-year period, compared to the five years that preceded the creation of the centre.

As of September 2020, the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre has seen 15 doctoral students successfully graduate, with some continuing their post-doctoral studies at the GNC.

The first ever Japanese Phd student at the University of Gothenburg graduated from the GNC.



Maria Davidsson

Photo: BePe Foto AB

My PhD project has the title ”Parental stress and traumatic life events in families with children who are assessed for neurodevelopmental disorders”. The objective of the study is to examine parental stress and traumatic life events in families with children with NDD and to study whether there is a relationship between parents' own experiences of traumatic life events and the approach they have in their parenting. Experiencing stress as a parent may heavily impact parenthood and may determine the interaction between parent and child. Early support will make a difference, but there is a need for extended knowledge about risk and protective factors as well as the connection between various types of difficulties to be able to design support to the families.

Lisa Dinkler

I have a strong interest in eating disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as their comorbidity. My PhD focused on the restrictive eating disorders anorexia nervosa and Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). I studied the intricate link between anorexia nervosa and autism spectrum disorder, first, by prospectively examining autistic traits in children who later developed AN in a large Swedish twin cohort, and second, by studying experimentally whether specific social-emotional difficulties are common to anorexia nervosa and autism, using eye tracking methodology. More


Lena Wallin

Photo: Fotograf Cecilia

Lena Wallin is a specialist doctor in child and adolescent psychiatry. She works at the CAP Special Unit at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, where she takes part in interdisciplinary assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar or psychotic syndromes, obsessive-compulsive and related syndromes, tics/Tourette’s syndrome and selective mutism. As of September 2016, Lena is a part-time PhD student at the GNC, at the department for neuroscience and physiology. Her PhD project is titled “Mental health in 22Q11-deletion syndrome from childhood to adult: a prospective longitudinal study of 90 individuals”

Magnus Påhlman

My research is closely connected with my daily clinical work, where I meet children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). Children with cerebral palsy function at different levels and I notice that they often have other disabilities that may cause more limitation in activity and participation in daily life than the motor disorder.
Based on the population-based study of the panorama of cerebral palsy in western Sweden I look at other disabilities in school-aged children with cerebral palsy. I focus on neuropsychiatric disabilities, primarily autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Photo: Josefin Bergenholtz