Autism Brain & Behavior

Marie Schaer, MD PhD

Assistant Professor

Campus Biotech

9, chemin de Mines

1202 Geneva


Our group is interested in understanding the development of young children with autism, with a particular interest in measuring brain changes associated with early intervention in autism, and in developing tools for early detection of this disorder.

To this end, we are following a cohort of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as well as typically developing children of the same age. We use these data to obtain a fine-grained analysis of the clinical phenotype of children when they are diagnosed with autism, and to follow the trajectory of their symptoms over the years following diagnosis. We are involved in the development and validation of neuroscience-based biomarkers to measure the severity of autism and the evolution of these children, using eye-tracking and brain imaging (EEG and MRI).

We seek to identify subtypes within the very heterogeneous spectrum of autism, in particular subtypes that would predict the evolution or the response to specific types of treatments. Finally, we are measuring changes associated with therapeutic intervention, clinically, but also with specific markers such as eye-tracking or brain imaging. Ultimately, this research aims to provide concrete elements to improve care and intervention for children diagnosed with autism.


Feb 24, 2022 We have a PhD position opening in machine learning to further advance the digital phenotyping of autism spectrum disorder. Check it out or download the .pdf
Jun 14, 2021 Thanks to the tremendous implication of many people, our third MOOC (and last for now!) on autism is now out. A French-speaking course on intervention, designed for parents and professionals.
Mar 22, 2021 Very glad to share that our second second MOOC is now online on Coursera, providing an overview of latest research on the biology and neuroscience of autism (in French).
Nov 20, 2019 Our MOOC about the diagnosis of autism was just released. The first one of a tryptic dedicated to summarize latest advances in autism for French-speaking parents and profesionals.

selected publications

  1. Attention to Face as a Predictor of Developmental Change and Treatment Outcome in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Latrèche, K., Kojovic, N., Franchini, M., and Schaer, M.
    Biomedicines 2021
  2. Using 2D Video-based Pose Estimation for Automated Prediction of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Preschoolers
    Kojovic, N.*, Natraj, S.*, Mohanty, S. P., Maillart, T., and Schaer, M.
    Scientific Reports 2021
  3. Early alterations of large-scale brain networks temporal dynamics in young children with autism
    Bochet, A.*, Sperdin, H. F.*, Rihs, T. A., Kojovic, N., Franchini, M., Jan, R. K., Michel, C. M., and Schaer, M.
    Communications Biology 2021
  4. Measuring the Emergence of Specific Abilities in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Example of Early Hyperlexic Traits
    Solazzo, S., Kojovic, N., Robain, F., and Schaer, M.
    Brain Sciences 2021