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  • James McPartland

    Associate Professor in the Child Study Center and of Psychology; Associate Director, Developmental Electrophysiology Lab; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Yale Child Study Center; Director, Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic

    James C. McPartland, Ph.D., is an Associate 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 disabilities to develop biologically-based tools to improve detection and treatment. His research has been continuously supported since 2007 by both federal (NIMH, NICHD, NINDS; 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 Division of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder and has published 5 books and over 120 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 currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, the Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, and the Encyclopedia of Autism and Related Disorders.  

  • Adam Naples

    Associate Research Scientist

    Adam 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.

  • Julie Wolf

    Associate Professor of Clinical Child Psychology

    Dr. 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.

  • Nicole R Wright

    Research Associate 2, HSS; Lab Manager

    Nicole 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.

  • Armen Bagdasarov

    Postgraduate Associate

    Armen Bagdasarov graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in Russian studies. As an undergraduate, Armen worked at the Center for Autism Research, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, under supervision of Drs. Ashley de Marchena and Robert Schultz, investigating co-speech hand gestures in children and adults with autism. Armen received the Morris Viteles Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for his honors thesis, which studied patients with panic disorder. Currently, Armen is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience. In the future, Armen intends to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.

  • Carter Carlos

    Postgraduate Associate

    Carter Carlos graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Biomedical Physics. Carter spent three summers as an engineering intern for EP Technologies, LLC in Akron, Ohio where he assisted a small team of scientists investigate applications of non-thermal atmospheric-pressure plasma for healthcare settings. Additionally, Carter worked with Dr. Shuiwang Ji and the Data Integration, Visualization, and Exploration (DIVE) Lab at Washington State University developing neural networks for classification of biomedical images. Currently, he is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience at the McPartland Lab. After his time at the Yale Child Study Center, Carter plans on pursuing a PhD in neuroscience.

  • Christine Cukar-Capizzi

    Instructor of Clinical Child Psychology

    Christine Cukar-Capizzi, Psy.D, BCBA, is a post-doctoral fellow at the Yale Child Study Center.  She 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 autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  During this time, she also completed neuropsychological evaluations and provided evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with a wide range of developmental and mental health disorders.  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.  

    Dr. Cukar-Capizzi is currently completing her post-doctoral fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, where she provides clinical characterization for a number of federally-funded studies of ASD and supervises post-baccalaureate fellows.  She also works at the Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic conducting diagnostic evaluations.   

  • Postgraduate Associate

    Elise graduated from Swarthmore College in 2019 with a B.A. in neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she was involved in clinical psychology, neurobiology, and social neuroscience research. For her honors thesis, Elise helped to identify neural and behavioral biases in empathy for stigmatized versus non-stigmatized individuals in pain. She received the Solomon Asch Award for the best independent research in psychology at Swarthmore for her thesis. Currently, Elise is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience. After graduation, Elise hopes to attend graduate school for neuroscience, and ultimately pursue a career that involves both research and clinical work.

  • Scott Jackson

    Scott is a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Fred Volkmar, M.D., and James McPartland, Ph.D. with a focus on ASD in adolescence and adulthood. He received Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2006. Between his undergraduate and postgraduate studies, Scott worked in San Diego, CA as a behavioral therapist with children and adolescence with ASD. He completed his Masters (M.Res. Psychology, 2010) and doctoral degrees (Ph.D. Psychology, 2016) at the University of St Andrews, where his research was focused on predictors of, and treatment options for depressive vulnerability in adults with ASD.

  • Shash Kala

    Postgraduate Associate

    Shashwat Kala graduated from Dartmouth College in 2018 with a B.A. in environmental studies and a minor in Hispanic studies. As an undergraduate, he worked in the Faja lab at Boston Children's Hospital, helping analyze the efficacy of gaming interventions on improved executive functioning skills in children with ASD. Additionally, at the Faja lab, Shashwat was particularly interest in Theory of Mind and used the Social Attribution Task to determine how children with ASD naturally impose social context upon visual cues. Currently, Shashwat is a Sara S. Sparrow Fellow in Clinical Neuroscience and hopes to attend medical school to further pursue his interest in developmental pediatrics.

  • Erin MacDonnell

    Research Intake Coordinator

    Erin MacDonnell is the Intake Coordinator for the School-Aged 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 Yale 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.

  • Takumi McAllister

    Programmer

    Takumi has a bachelor’s in Computer Science, and helps the team share and make sense of all the data we gather. He has programmed video games, and makes chain mail in his spare time.

  • Chelsea Morgan

    Postdoctoral Associate

    Chelsea is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Yale Child Study Center. She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, Child and Adolescent Track, at the University of Hartford in 2019. Chelsea completed her Predoctoral internship at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital, with a focus on children and adolescents. She received her B.A. in History and Psychology from Fordham University in 2009, and her Ed.M in Human Development and Psychology in 2010 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.

  • Termara Parker

    Termara graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Biology from Howard University. For her honors thesis, she explored the neurophysiological consequences of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) on the fetal macaque brain under the direct supervision of Dr. Mark Burke. During her undergraduate summers, Termara conducted research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and used various neuroimaging techniques to study the morphological and functional differences between the brains of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and neurotypical individuals. She was also involved in a project in Dr. Eva Ratai’s laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital testing whether the balance of inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters is altered in the brains of individuals with ASD. Currently, Termara is examining the correlates of face processing and neural plasticity in individuals with ASD. 

  • Belmana Ponjevic

    Developmental Disabilities Clinic Coordinator; Study Coordinator

    Belmana 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.

  • Dominic Trevisan

    Postdoctoral Associate

    Dominic Trevisan is a Hilibrand Postdoctoral Fellow in the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine. After receiving his B.A. in Psychology from Humboldt State University, he completed both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Simon Fraser University. Dominic's key research interests are in emotion processing in individuals with autism. His doctoral work explored how alexithymia (i.e., difficulties identifying and describing one's own emotions) impacts the ability of individuals with and without autism to communicate emotions verbally and nonverbally (e.g., via facial expressions), and to recognize others' emotions. His future work will aim to investigate how alexithymia relates to the broader spectrum of emotional health in individuals with autism, especially in regard to emotion regulation, depression, and anxiety. 

  • Melissa Zhou graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry and biology. As an undergraduate, Melissa did research at the Center for Neurodegenerative Research at the Perelman School of Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Virginia Lee characterizing a novel TDP-43 mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Currently her research interests include child development and the use of noninvasive brain stimulation techniques in autism spectrum disorder.