Kathryn Unruh

Kathryn Unruh, Ph.D.

Kathryn Unruh

Kathryn Unruh, PhD, is an Assistant Research Professor at the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (K-CART). Together with Dr. Matthew Mosconi, she co-leads the Biobehavioral Research in Autism, Intellectual and Neurodevelopment disabilities (BRAIN) laboratory. Dr. Unruh’s research focuses on understanding the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of restricted and repetitive behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Unruh completed her PhD in systems neuroscience at Vanderbilt University. Following this training, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in clinical neuroscience with Dr. Mosconi. Her postdoctoral work focused on characterization of sensory and motor brain systems in individuals with ASD using systems neuroscience methods, including functional neuroimaging (fMRI). Her current studies now apply these methods to measure higher-order cognitive behaviors, including inhibitory control and reward, to determine how these processes may contribute to repetitive behaviors in ASD. Specifically, these studies seek to develop novel models of RRBs by characterizing the interactions between multiple underlying mechanisms, including disruptions in cognitive control and reward processes that are supported by brain networks involving connections between striatum and cortex. 

Dr. Unruh’s research has been supported by Autism Speaks and NIH (NCATS).



Investigator, The Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training,
Assistant Research Professor,

Ph.D., Neuroscience: Cognitive/Systems, Vanderbilt University, 2017
B.S. Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Kansas, 2012

Contact Information


1000 Sunnyside Ave.
Dole Human Development Building
Lawrence, Kansas 66045