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  • James McPartland

    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); Associate Director, Developmental Electrophysiology Lab

    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 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 150 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

    Research Scientist in the Child Study Center

    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.

  • Carter Carlos

    Scientific Programmer Analyst

    Carter Carlos graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Biomedical Physics. He spent three summers as an engineering intern for EP Technologies, LLC in Akron, Ohio where he assisted a small team of scientists to 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. He is currently a Scientific Programmer Analyst with the McPartland Lab.

  • Christine Cukar-Capizzi

    Assistant Professor of Clinical Child Psychology

    Christine 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

    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.

  • Caroline Finn

    Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study Center

    Caroline 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.

  • Postdoctoral Associate in the Child Study Center

    Gloria 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 Center

    Marie 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.

  • Erin MacDonnell

    Research Intake Coordinator

    Erin 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.

  • 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. 

  • Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study Center

    Lauren 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.

  • 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.

  • Cassandra Stevens

    Postgraduate Associate in the Child Study Center

    Cassie 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.

  • 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 how emotions are processed differently in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). His work explores how people with ASD identify, express, and regulate one's own emotions, and how they perceive emotions in others. His work investigates the physiological bases of atypical emotion processing using electroencephalography (EEG) and facial expression analysis. A working theory is that emotion processing differences in ASD may be due to impaired "interoception," defined as "conscious and subconscious processing by which the nervous system senses, interprets, and integrates signals originating from one’s own body." 

  • Melissa Zhou

    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.