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  • Emily Fraser Beede Professor of Child Psychiatry; Director, Social and Affective Neuroscience of Autism Program, Child Study Center; Director, Yale Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic

    Professor Chawarska has received her clinical and research training at Yale. She is a leading expert in research on identifying early diagnostic markers and novel treatment targets in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  She leads the NIH Autism Center of Excellence at the Yale Child Study Center.  In her clinical practice, Dr. Chawarska specializes in early diagnosis of ASD as well as developmental follow-up of infants at risk for ASD due to familial factors (e.g., having an older sibling with ASD), genetic factors (e.g., having a syndrome related to ASD such as Fragile X), or due to prenatal or perinatal complications such as premature birth.
  • Senior Research Scientist in the Child Study Center; Co-director, Yale Social and Affective Neuroscience of Autism Program, Child Study Center

    Suzanne Macari, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. She earned her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Virginia and completed post-doctoral fellowships in autism research at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and at the Yale Child Study Center Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic. Currently Co-director of the Yale Social and Affective Neuroscience of Autism Lab, Dr. Macari has been a PI and investigator on several federally- and privately-funded projects. Dr. Macari’s research focuses on the prodrome and early phenotype of ASD in the first year of life in infants at high risk for the disorder, innovations in early screening, as well as emotional reactivity and temperament in very young children with ASD. In addition, Dr. Macari is collaborating with colleagues in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine to conduct secondary screening in infants born prematurely and with other risk factors for ASD.
  • Assistant Professor in the Child Study Center; Co-director, Yale Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic

    Kelly K. Powell, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University majoring in both Psychology as well as Human Development & Educational Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from American University and completed her pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Powell specializes in the assessment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with a particular focus on children 5 and younger. She is the co-director of the Toddler Developmental Disabilities Program within the CSC. She is also a psychologist in the NICU GRAD program and conducts developmental assessments. Dr. Powell has international experience training clinicians and parents in diagnosis and treatment of ASD. She is actively involved in research projects focused on further understanding phenotypic expression, developmental trajectories, and outcome in ASD including co-occurring conditions. She is also invested in further developing relationships with stakeholders including parents, medical professionals, schools, and community treatment providers.
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work

    Karyn Bailey graduated from the University of Kansas with a Master’s in Social Work and subsequently completed two years of advanced clinical training as a Social Work Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center prior to accepting a position as a faculty member. Currently, she serves as the Associate Director of Social Work Training for the department and also as the lead Social Worker in our Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic. Her interests include adult learning and family adjustment with regard to early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Areas of expertise include special education rights and advocacy.
  • Social Worker Child Study Center; Clinical Social Worker

    Amy Giguere Carney is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Developmental Disabilities Clinic for Infants and Toddlers. She acquired a B.S. in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Connecticut, earned her Master's Degree in Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University, with a specialization in clinical work with children and families, and completed a post graduate fellowship within the Yale Child Study Center's autism clinic. Currently, Amy provides clinical support to families during and after their visits, and serves as a liason between families and the community. In addition, she writes and edits clinical documents, administers developmental testing to very young children, and conducts parent interviews for both clinical and research purposes. In addition to her extensive experience working with families affected by autism spectrum disorders, Amy is interested and experienced in working with individuals with anxiety disorders.
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work; Speech and Language Pathologist

    Megan Lyons, LCSW, M.S. CCC-SLP is a part time Clinical Instructor in the Harris-Provence Child Development Unit.  Her clinical expertise includes working with young children and families who are dealing with the effects of trauma and disrupted attachment as well as extensive clinical practice supporting caregivers in their capacity to understand their child’s early development.  She has also supervised and mentored many future clinicians in the field of social work.  Ms. Lyons is also a Speech-Language Pathologist in the Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic. She provides speech-language evaluations for several studies involving children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Likewise, she conducts comprehensive clinical evaluations for infants and young children suspected of having autism.  She has published on topics including prosodic development in childhood, supporting mainstream educational success for children with autism and on assessing communication.
  • Assistant Professor of Child Psychology in the Child Study Center

    Chelsea is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center. She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, Child and Adolescent Track, at the University of Hartford. Chelsea completed her Predoctoral Internship at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital, with a focus on children and adolescents, and her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center. She received her B.A. in History and Psychology from Fordham University, and her Ed.M in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University. Her clinical interests are in the assessment of ASD; her research interests are focused on earlier and more accurate diagnosis of ASD.
  • Associate Research Scientist in the Child Study Center

    Dr. Sara Sanchez-Alonso is an Associate Research Scientist at the Child Study Center. She specializes in language neurodevelopment and multi-modal imaging (fMRI-fNIRS). Dr. Sanchez-Alonso received a Master of Science in speech and language pathology funded by an Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters scholarship from the European Commission. Subsequently, she completed post-baccalaureate research training in Dr. Angela Friederici's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University, where she trained in psychology and neurobiology of language. During her postdoctoral training, Dr. Sanchez-Alonso worked with Dr. Richard Aslin at Haskins Laboratories and implemented the first fMRI/fNIRS integrated data collection effort at the Yale Brain Imaging Center. She joined the Yale Child Study Center as research faculty in 2023.
  • Assistant Professor

    Mariana Torres-Viso is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Child Study Center. She is a licensed psychologist and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Dr. Torres-Viso earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Development at Cornell University, and her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Moreover, Dr. Torres-Viso completed her doctoral internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Torres-Viso specializes in the assessment and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, with a particular emphasis on evidence-based behavioral and developmental frameworks of intervention. Furthermore, expanding access to clinical care, and doing so in a culturally sensitive manner, has been a guiding principle behind her professional endeavors. Therefore, Dr. Torres-Viso holds a strong commitment towards data-driven and evidence-based training and capacity building of caregivers and clinicians working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Associate Research Scientist

    Angelina Vernetti is an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. Her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology from Birkbeck, University of London investigated the social modulation of cue-reward associations. Using gaze-contingent paradigms, Angelina Vernetti examined how gaze direction, emotion, referential cues and motivational value influence the allocation of attention in young typically developing children and adults as well as children with autism. She is currently working in the Yale Early Social Cognition (YESCog) Program under the mentorship of Dr. Katarzyna Chawarska. Her research focuses on gaze processing, emotional reactivity and motivation, in early development and autism using behavioral, eye-tracking and physiological methodologies.
  • Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study Center

    Grace Bell is a research fellow in Developmental Psychopathology and Social Neuroscience for the SANA program in the Chawarska Lab. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in English. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant where she helped collect and analyze EEG and eye tracking data investigating the visual hierarchy system and attention. Her senior thesis examined the relationship between microsaccades and pupillary responses in a covert spatial attention paradigm.
  • Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study Center

    Catherine Bianco is a research fellow in Developmental Psychopathology and Social Neuroscience at the Child Study Center. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from NYU in 2020, then worked as a lab manager with Professor Dima Amso at Columbia for two years. Her research characterizes the relations between perceptual, cognitive, and motor development in infancy and early childhood, working with typically-developing infants and those with elevated likelihood of neurodevelopmental disorder.
  • Clinical Research Associate

    Brigid Gordon graduated from Fairfield University in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology and was the recipient of the Bellarmine Medal for the highest four-year academic average. She spent the first several years of her career as a Registered Behavior Technician with Milestones Behavioral Services providing Applied Behavior Analytic services to children on the Autism spectrum and other developmental differences. She joined Dr. Chawarska's Social and Affective Neuroscience of Autism lab in 2021 as a Clinical Psychopathology Research Assistant and in 2023 was promoted to Clinical Research Associate.
  • Program Administrator

    Gitta Selva joined the Yale Child Study Center in summer 2021 as Communications Manager at the Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. In March 2023, Gitta transitioned to Program Administrator at the Autism Center of Excellence. Her prior work experiences include Gesell Program in Early Childhood at Yale, New Beginnings Family Academy, and Queensland University of Technology in Australia. Gitta holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from New York University. In her free time, Gitta enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors with her husband, son, and daughter.