Professor in the Child Study Center; Director, Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Yale Child Study Center; Co-Director of Team Science, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI)
- James C. McPartland, Ph.D., is Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center. He is a licensed child psychologist and Director of the Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic. He is Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Child Study Center and teaches an undergraduate seminar on autism spectrum disorder. Dr. McPartland’s program of research investigates the brain bases of neurodevelopmental conditions to develop biologically-based tools to improve detection and treatment. His research has been continuously supported since 2007 by both federal (NIMH, NICHD, NINDS, NIDCD; R21, R03, K23, R01, U19) and private research grants (NARSAD, the Autism Science Foundation, the Waterloo Foundation, Autism Speaks, the Patterson Trust, the Simons Foundation, the Nancy Taylor Foundation, the Alan B. Slifka Foundation, the Hilibrand Foundation). He is the Principal Investigator of the Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials, a US-based effort to identify biomarkers to support intervention research in autism. His contributions to the field have been recognized by multiple awards, including the NARSAD Atherton Young Investigator Award, the International Society for Autism Research Young Investigator Award, the Patterson Trust Clinical Research Award, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Klerman Prize, and the APA Sara S. Sparrow Early Career Research Award. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science and has published 5 books and over 170 scholarly works on autism and related topics. He has served on the executive boards of the International Society for Autism Research and the APA Division of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Autism Spectrum Disorder and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, the Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and the Encyclopedia of Autism and Related Disorders.
Research Scientist in the Child Study CenterAdam Naples, PhD, is Associate Research Scientist in the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine. As a researcher at Yale he has co-authored papers on autism, reading disability and genetics and developed novel experimental methods for studying brain activity during live and simulated social interactions. Dr. Naples received his A.B from Cornell University, his Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University, and post-doctoral training at the Yale Child Study Center. He has also been active in the mentoring and training of graduate and undergraduate students and post-doctoral fellows. His primary research interests are understanding the neural and cognitive mechanisms that lead to variability in developmental disorders.
Associate Professor of Clinical Child PsychologyDr. Julie Wolf is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, CT. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut in 2005, where she studied facial recognition in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) under the mentorship of Dr. Deborah Fein. She completed her clinical internship, including a rotation in autism spectrum disorders, at the University of Chicago, and her post-doctoral fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Schultz. Presently, she works in the autism clinic at the Yale Child Study Center, conducting clinical evaluations, social skills groups, and sibling support groups. She also provides clinical characterization for a number of federally-funded studies of ASD, and conducts research evaluating the effectiveness of sibling support and social skills interventions.
Research Associate 2, HSS; Lab ManagerNicole is the Lab Manager for the McPartland Lab. She has been working at the Yale Child Study Center for many years as both a researcher and administrator. She obtained her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut, as well as dual certifications in both Cytogenetics and Molecular Diagnostics. She completed her internships at Shodair Children’s Hospital in Helena, MT before coming to Yale and working with Dr. Matthew State, MD, PhD. There she was an essential part of his research in identifying and characterizing genes and genetic mechanisms involved in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Nicole currently remains a part of the genetic research studies being conducting in the laboratories of Dr. Thomas Fernandez, MD and Dr. Abha Gupta, MD as well.
Psychiatry Resident; NRTP, Yale Department of Psychiatry
Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study CenterMaggie graduated from Amherst College in 2021 with a B.A. in Psychology. At Amherst, she wrote a senior thesis on the relationship between social support and mental health in the transition to college and worked with a range of populations, including preschoolers, adolescents, and emerging adults, in clinical and developmental psychology labs. She also supported individuals with developmental disabilities through the Difference for the Developmentally Disabled program at Amherst. Currently, Maggie is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience in the McPartland Lab. She is passionate about helping children with neurodevelopmental disorders to overcome the social and behavioral challenges they face. In the future, Maggie hopes to work as a clinical child psychologist.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Child PsychologyChristine Cukar-Capizzi, Psy.D, BCBA, is an Assistant Professor at the Yale Child Study Center. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Dr. Cukar-Capizzi received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Hartford with a concentration on children and adolescents. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the May Institute’s Center for Evaluation and Treatment in Massachusetts, with a focus on assessment for individuals with (ASD). Dr. Cukar-Capizzi completed her post-doctoral internship at the Yale Child Study Center, where she continued her specialized training in the assessment of ASD. Dr. Cukar-Capizzi is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), who has a long history of providing consultation and behavioral supports for individuals with ASD and their families in a variety of settings. Her research interests have included evaluating the quality of behavior intervention plans written for children with ASD. Presently, Dr. Cukar-Capizzi conducts diagnostic evaluations in the Developmental Disabilities Clinic, provides therapy for children and adolescents in the Outpatient Clinic, and provides clinical characterization for a number of federally-funded studies of ASD.
Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study CenterCaroline graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a M.S. in applied behavior analysis and a B.S. in psychology - neuroscience. Caroline has spent time working in basic and clinical research laboratories studying infant development, rare genetic disorders related to autism spectrum disorder, and the gut-brain axis. She has also worked in clinic and model classroom treatment settings with children with autism and intellectual disability who display severe problem behavior. Currently, Caroline is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience in the McPartland Lab. In the future, she hopes to integrate clinical care and research in a career in neurodevelopmental pediatrics.
Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study CenterCassandra Franke graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2021 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior, a supplemental major in Italian, and a minor in the Glynn Family Honors Program. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in a clinical psychology lab that focused on helping families exposed to trauma, particularly pregnant women and mothers who had experienced intimate partner violence. As part of her research, Cassandra completed an honors thesis on the relationship between financial and childcare changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic and self-rated depression among pregnant women and new mothers. Outside of the lab, she also worked with a community mental health center to develop staff training modules on the neuroscience of trauma-informed care and volunteered in a therapeutic preschool program for children experiencing social and emotional developmental delays. Cassandra is currently a first-year Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience in the McPartland Lab. In the future, she hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career in clinical neuroscience research.
Scientific Programmer AnalystDiogo Fortes graduated with highest distinction from the University of Virginia in 2019 with a B.A. in Neuroscience. During his time at UVa, Diogo worked as a research assistant in collaborative projects between the labs of Dr. Jessica Connelly and Dr. James Morris, examining epigenetic and neural markers of individual variability in human social perception. He also worked on an ergonomics project with Dr. Rupa Valdez, incorporating the experiences and preferences of parents and educators in designing a device for monitoring and preventing self-injurious behavior in children with ASD. Diogo is particularly interested in investigating developmental changes in individual brain connectivity, along with their cognitive and perceptual correlates, and wishes to pursue an MD-PhD dual degree. He is currently a Developmental Psychopathology and Social Neuroscience Fellow at the Yale Social and Affective Neuroscience of Autism Program.
Postdoctoral Associate in the Child Study CenterGloria Han, PhD, is a Hilibrand Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center. Gloria received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University having completed her clinical internship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Informed by her undergraduate degrees in philosophy-neuroscience-psychology and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, Gloria’s research reflects dual interests in quantitative methods and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Specifically, her quantitative interests include methods for capturing heterogeneity, causality, and complexity (e.g., moderation analysis, longitudinal data analysis, and machine learning), and her substantive research explores social, affective, and cognitive processes as mechanisms underlying co-occurring mood disorders in ASD. As a Hilibrand Fellow, Gloria aims to synthesize these research foci by applying computational psychiatry approaches to understand co-occurring psychopathology in ASD and inform personalized interventions for this vulnerable population.
Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study CenterReeda graduated from Harvard College in 2021 with an A.B. in Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience track). Having a younger sister with ASD, Reeda is passionate about supporting families and children with ASD. She has spent her undergraduate years conducting scientific research, where she helped employ behavioral and neuroscience methods to understand the development of emotion regulation and executive function in toddlers with ASD. In addition, Reeda has supported families of children with neurodevelopmental conditions in the clinical, educational, and foster care settings. Currently, Reeda is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience in the McPartland Lab. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in child and adolescent psychiatry, and to serve as a physician advocate for children with neurodevelopmental conditions from underserved communities.
Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study CenterMarie recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Psychology. In her undergraduate time, she worked as an education coach and advocate for fellow college students with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Marie worked in several research settings, most notably a developmental psychology lab where she pursued an honors thesis investigating family functioning, social competence, and mental health outcomes of children with autism. In addition to her research ventures, she volunteered for an organization that provided reintegration workshops and counseling services for citizens returning from incarceration. Marie hopes to pursue her interests in neuroscience, child development, and family and community structures as a pediatric clinician and researcher.
Senior Administrative Assistant Child Study Center
Research Intake CoordinatorErin MacDonnell is the Intake Coordinator for the School-Age Research Projects within the Autism Program. She is the liaison between families and clinicians and her responsibilities include screening families to determine their eligibility and then coordinating their visit to the center. Erin attends autism events throughout the state which allow her to interact with families and providers, building solid relationships within the community. She received her B.A. in English and Communications from Eastern Connecticut State University. Before joining the Child Study Center in 2009, Erin worked in the Psychology Department conducting research on pregnant women and the effects of stress, medication, and depression on pregnancy outcomes.
Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study CenterLauren graduated from the University of Arizona in 2019 with a B.S. in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Psychology, and a minor in Health and Human Values. Throughout her undergrad, she was involved in both molecular and human research on developmental and intellectual disability disorders. Lauren was a member of the Memory Development and Disorders lab at the UofA for four years, where she studied sleep and cognitive development in children and adolescents with Down syndrome. Currently, Lauren is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience in the McParland lab. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in developmental pediatrics.
Program Administrator; Study CoordinatorBelmana graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology with a specialization in Mental Health in 2014. She then went to earn her Master of Social Work degree in 2016. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and currently works as the Study Coordinator in Dr. James McPartland's lab on the Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials study. She completes intake evaluations, which address medical, social-emotional, behavioral, cognitive and diagnostic aspects. She provides care coordination to all the children and families that seen in our program while ensuring that they have a positive experience. She provides families with referrals to services and resources based on the child’s needs as presented in the intake evaluations while creating ways to engage, educate, and empower families using a strength-based approach that is both culturally competent and organized to meet the family members’ needs, goals, and vision.
Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study CenterCassie graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in neuroscience, a concentration in human behavior and cognition, and a minor in communication sciences and disorders. She spent her undergraduate years examining visual, linguistic, and cognitive ASD-related endophenotypes through a family study approach. She is interested in investigating the neural underpinnings of the vast heterogeneity encapsulated by the autism spectrum. Cassie has a particular aspiration for reaching individuals with severe ASD through neuroscientific and psychological research, adapting existing research frameworks to accommodate individuals who are minimally or nonverbal and who have pronounced behavioral difficulties. Currently, Cassie is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience. In the future, she hopes to earn her Ph.D. and become a board-certified neuropsychologist, balancing clinical work and research.