Accessibility statement

Dr Umar Toseeb



I am a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Diversity (CANDY) Group at the Department of Education, University of York. I am also the programme leader for the BSc Psychology in Education (BPS Accredited).

I gained my PhD in Psychology in 2012.  Alongside my PhD, I worked as a research assistant for the Born in Bradford Project, a large epidemiological study investigating health and wellbeing in ethnic minority families. Following this, I worked as a research associate with Professor Ian Goodyer at the University of Cambridge on the Neuroscience in Psychiatry Network (NSPN) investigating how the adolescent mind and brain develops into early adulthood. I went on to work with Professor Gina Conti-Ramsden at the University of Manchester as a research associate on the Manchester Language Study (MLS), which is a 20 year longitudinal study of young people with developmental language disorder.

I am passionate about learning and applying advanced quantitative methods to longitudinal epidemiological datasets. I have experience of analysing data using multi-level modelling, latent variable modelling, structural equation modelling, twin modelling, and polygenic scoring.

I am interested in hearing from potential PhD students who would like to develop the following projects:

I am particularly keen to hear from candidates who want to make use of existing large datasets to answer questions relating to young people with neurodevelopmental conditions.



I lead the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Diversity (CANDY) Group. We aim to understand:

  • differences between young people with and without developmental conditions,
  • diversity wtihin developmental condtions, including the identification of strengths and weaknesses,
  • genetic and environmental influences on neurodevelopmental diversity.

Our research group views developmental conditions as a difference, and sometimes a disability, but not a disease. We strongly reject the eugenics movement or discrimination of any kind. We believe neurodevelopmental differences can, and should, be nurtured to promote the best possible quality of life for all young people.

We study a wide range of topics within the broad field of neurodevelopmental diversity. A particular focus is on autism spectrum conditions and developmental language disorder. We also investigate positive and social behaviours such as play and prosociality (e.g. sharing, caring, comforting etc.). A cross cutting theme across all of our research topics is mental health and wellbeing.

We love quantitative data- in fact we love Big Data. A key strength of our group is longitudinal modelling of behavioural data from large epidemiological datasets. We also use behavioural genetics approaches to understand genetic and environmental influences on neurodevelopmental diversity.

We are fortunate enough to receive funding from a number of different sources to carry out our research, including the Economic and Social Research Council, Wellcome, the Centre for Future Health, and the University of York.

Collaboration and openness to alternative perspectives are key to scientific progress. We are keen to hear from academics, postdocs, and PhD students who want to visit us to write a paper or grant together, learn and teach new methods, or come give a talk at one of our research group meetings.

Research keywords: Developmental Language Disorder, Autism Spectrum Conditions, Development, Childhood, Adolescence, Neurodiversity, Longitudinal Modelling, Epidemiology, Mental Health, Wellbeing, Prosocial, Play, Latent Class Analysis, Growth Curve Modelling, Structural Equation Modelling, Latent Class Growth Modelling, Twin Modelling, Polygenic Risk, Genetics, Genome-Wide Association, Secondary Data Analysis, Millennium Cohort Study, Manchester Language Study, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, Twins Early Development Study, Born in Bradford.

Research group(s)

Research group members

  • Dr Gill Francis (Research Associate): Pretend play and cognitive development
  • Aimee Code (PhD Candidate): A family study of the relationship between sibling bullying and mental health in children with autism spectrum conditions
  • Emre Deniz (PhD Candidate): A cross-cultural study of sibling bullying and mental health in adolescents with autism spectrum conditions
  • Dr John Vincent (Research Associate): genetic and environmental influences on mental illness

Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323405