About the Center for Autism Research

New CAR Research Sheds Light on

 

Universal Screening for Autism in Toddlers

Senior Leadership

Robert Schultz, PhD
Scientific Director
Robert Schultz, PhD

Bob Schultz, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Autism Research (CAR), a multi-faceted research program at CHOP working to understand the causes of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to develop better treatments.

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David Mandell, ScD
Associate Director
David Mandell, ScD

David Mandell is CAR's Associated Director and also directs Penn's Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. His work combines epidemiology and health services research to learn the best ways to organize, finance and deliver services to children with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.

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Susan Levy, MD, MPH
Medical Director
Susan Levy, MD, MPH

Susan E. Levy, MD, MPH is CAR's medical director and an attending developmental pediatrician at CHOP. She is also a Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Levy's research focuses on the etiology of autism, improving early detection and intervention and supporting shared decision-making. 

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Judith Miller, PhD
Clinical Training Director
Judith Miller, PhD

Judi Miller, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and the Clinical Training Director for CAR. She is also Autism Director for CHOP’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) program, ensuring the next generation of master clinicians are prepared to deliver informed and compassionate care.

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Tiffany Ryan-D'urso, MS, MS
Administrative Director
Tiffany Ryan-D'urso, MS, MS

Tiffany is CAR's Administrative Director, responsible for the financial, administrative, strategic planning, human resource, and organizational processes and infrastructure that support CAR’s research mission.

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Scientists and Clinicians

Keith Bartley, MS
Principal Investigator
Keith Bartley, MS

Keith Bartley co-leads CAR's Technology and Innovation program, where he uses advanced perceptual computing technologies to understand autism and behavior, particularly with social communication.

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Amanda Bennett, MD, MPH
Developmental Pediatrician
Amanda Bennett, MD, MPH

Amanda Bennett, MD, MPH, is a Developmental Pediatrician at CHOP and is site director for the Autism Treatment Network at CHOP, funded by Autism Speaks. Dr. Bennett's research focuses on novel treatments for ASD through medication trials.

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Lisa Blaskey, PhD
Pediatric Neuropsychologist
Lisa Blaskey, PhD

Lisa Blaskey, PhD is a co-investigator and clinician at CAR including studies exploring electrophysiological underpinnings of language impairment in autism spectrum disorders and risk factors and precursors to ASD.

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Whitney Guthrie, PhD
Scientist and Clinical Psychologist
Whitney Guthrie, PhD

Whitney Guthrie, PhD is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and co-director of the Data and Statistical Core at the Center for Autism Research. Dr. Guthrie’s research focuses on the early developmental trajectories that characterize ASD with the ultimate goal of improving early diagnosis and intervention.

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John Herrington, PhD
Faculty Researcher
John Herrington, PhD

John Herrington, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Child Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Perelman School of Medicine. His work concentrates on social and emotional information processes among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with a particular emphasis on the co-occurrence of anxiety disorders in ASD.

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Emily Kuschner, PhD
Faculty Researcher
Emily Kuschner, PhD

Emily S. Kuschner, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and scientist at CAR and in CHOP's Lurie Family Foundations MEG Center. Her programs of research involve treating food selectivity in individuals with ASD and developing clinical support protocols to help children of all ages, cognitive and language levels participate in MEG and MRI research.

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Juhi Pandey, PhD
Faculty Researcher
Juhi Pandey, PhD

Dr. Pandey is a pediatric neuropsychologist and scientist at the Center for Autism Research  as well as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

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Julia Parish-Morris, PhD
Faculty Researcher
Julia Parish-Morris, PhD

Julia Parish-Morris is a Research Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and a Principle Investigator at the Center for Autism Research. Her research interests include language development in autism spectrum disorder.

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Birkan Tunç, PhD
Faculty Researcher
Birkan Tunç, PhD

Birkan Tunç, Ph.D., is a computational scientist CAR and a Research Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania. His primary area of research is the application of machine learning and statistical data analysis in various domains such as psychopathology, neuroimaging, connectomics, and complex network analysis. 

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Kate Wallis, MD, MPH
Developmental Pediatrician
Kate Wallis, MD, MPH

Kate Wallis, MD, MPH, is an attending physician in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)’s Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, an Instructor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, and an active member of the CAR research team.

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Benjamin Yerys, PhD
Faculty Researcher
Benjamin Yerys, PhD

Benjamin E. Yerys, Ph.D., is a child psychologist  in the Center for Autism Research (CAR) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Yerys leads CAR’s research on the brain basis and treatment of attention and executive function. 

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Outreach and Administration

Lindsey DeMarco, BA
Recruitment Coordinator
Lindsey DeMarco, BA

Lindsey DeMarco is the Recruitment Coordinator at CAR. She works connect families with research opportunities that are personailzed to their interests and needs, and works to educated the broader community about the opportunity to advance science by participating in clinical research.

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Susannah Horner, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Susannah Horner, LCSW

Susannah Horner, LCSW is the Clinic Social Worker for the Center for Autism Research.  She provides supports for the clinicians and families that are involved with the center, manages the CAR Autism Roadmap™ resource website, and is available to provide information and resources to families.

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Ayana King Pointer
Administrative Liaison
Ayana King Pointer

Ayana has enjoyed working at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for many years. Ayana provides high-level administrative support to our Center's Scientific Director, Training Director and Administrative Director. 

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Alison Pomykacz
Clinical Research Project Manager and Psychometrician
Alison Pomykacz

Alison Pomykacz is a Certified School Psychologist, and a Clinical Research Project Manager and Psychometrician at the Center for Autism Research. 

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Jennifer Swope
Clinical Research Regulatory Specialist
Jennifer Swope

Jennifer Swope is the Clinical Research Regulatory Specialist at the Center for Autism Research. She works with investigators and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that research being conducted at CAR is done in accordance with local and federal regulations and policies in order to protect human subjects.

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Dana Weidig
Outreach Manager
Dana Weidig

As CAR’s communicator, Dana develops all of CAR’s written materials and Web content, from blog posts, videos and marketing materials to social media and the CAR e-Newsletter. She organizes CAR’s events and connects CAR faculty members with speaking opportunities and the media.

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Data Team

Leila Bateman
Clinical Research Project Manager
Leila Bateman

Leila Bateman the Clinical Research Project Manager for CAR’s Data and Statistical Core, which builds and optimizes scientific data integration and management, data discovery, reporting, and analysis across the Center. 

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Kundan Kunapareddy
Data Analyst
Kundan Kunapareddy

Kundan Kunapareddy is a Data Analyst at the Center for Autism Research (CAR). He assists with data integration and management, data discovery, reporting and building/maintaining study databases across the Center. 

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Mitchell Walker
Data Analyst
Mitchell Walker

Mitchell Walker is a Research Data Analyst at The Center for Autism Research.  He assists with data integration and management, data discovery, reporting and building/maintaining study databases across the Center.

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Post-Doctoral Fellows

Mina Kim, PhD, NCSP
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Mina Kim, PhD, NCSP

Mina Kim, PhD, NCSP, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lurie Family Foundations Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Imaging Center. She earned her doctoral degree in School Psychology at Temple University.

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Evangelos Sariyanidi, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Evangelos Sariyanidi, PhD

Evangelos Sariyanidi, PhD, is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Autism Research. Dr. Sariyanidi is specialized in developing and applying computer vision and machine learning techniques, and his research focuses on the automatic quantification of facial movements.

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Laura Soskey Cubit, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Laura Soskey Cubit, PhD

Laura Soskey Cubit, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Autism Research. Dr. Cubit's research focuses on investigating neurocognitive processes underlying the development of core ASD symptoms.

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Casey Zampella, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Casey Zampella, PhD

Casey Zampella, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Autism Research. Dr. Zampella’s research focuses on quantifying movement differences in children with ASD, and the role of those differences in social communication impairments.

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Graduate Students

Caitlin Clements
Psychology Doctoral Student
Caitlin Clements

Caitlin Clements, MA is a Psychology doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania in the clinical training program. Her faculty advisor is CAR's director, Bob Schultz, PhD, and she has completed some of her clinical training and most of her doctoral research at CAR

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Leah Wang, M.A.
Doctoral Student
Leah Wang, M.A.

Leah Wang, M.A., is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania studying with Dr. Robert Schultz.

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Lisa Yankowitz, MA
Graduate Student
Lisa Yankowitz, MA

Lisa Yankowitz, MA, is a PhD Candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and graduate student working at the Center for Autism Research under the mentorship of Dr. Bob Schultz. 

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Research Staff

Megan Airey
Research Assistant
Megan Airey

Megan (Meg) Airey, B.S, is a clinical research assistant for the Lurie Family Foundations MEG Imaging Center Team. 

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Morgan Beck
Research Assistant
Morgan Beck

Morgan is a clinical research assistant for The Lurie Family Foundations MEG Imaging Center. 

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Taylor Chiang
Research Assistant
Taylor Chiang

Taylor Chiang is a research assistant in the Lurie Family Foundations MEG Imaging Center under the Department of Radiology.

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Meredith Cola
Research Assistant
Meredith Cola

Meredith Cola is a research assistant at the Center for Autism Research and started as a volunteer working on the Research on Autism and Developmental Disorders (ROADD) Study.

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Lucero Cordero
Research Assistant
Lucero Cordero

Lucero Cordero is currently a research assistant at The Center for Autism Research (CAR) where she is testing the Bio stream video games for higher functioning children with autism.

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Aubrey Faggen
Research Assistant
Aubrey Faggen

Aubrey Faggen is a full time Research Assistant for the Center for Autism Research. 

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Leah Gaetz
Clinical Research Coordinator
Leah Gaetz

Leah Gaetz is a Clinical Research Coordinator for The Lurie Family Foundations MEG Imaging Center where she works within the department of Radiology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

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Kimmie Konka, M.S.
Research Assistant
Kimmie Konka, M.S.

Kimmie Konka is a research coordinator in The Lurie Family Foundations MEG Imaging Center, working on brain development studies for school age children and teens. 

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Jillian Lebus, M.A.
Psychometrist
Jillian Lebus, M.A.

Jillian Lebus, M.A. is a Psychometrist at CHOP’s Center for Autism Research, working across a number of research studies within in the Lurie Family Foundations Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Center.

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Samiza Palmer
Research Assistant
Samiza Palmer

Samiza Palmer is one of the Research Assistants at the Center for Autism Research and works on the SPARK study.

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Victoria Petrulla, MA
Research Assistant
Victoria Petrulla, MA

Victoria Petrulla, MA, is a Clinical Research Assistant at the Center for Autism Research, where she works on projects exploring movement and social communication in individuals with and without ASD.

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Samantha Plate
Research Assistant
Samantha Plate

Samantha Plate is a Clinical Research Assistant at CAR. She started at CAR as a student intern working with Dr. Parish-Morris and after graduating from Bryn Mawr College with her bachelor’s in psychology.

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Vai Ranganathan
Research Assistant
Vai Ranganathan

Vai Ranganathan is a Research Assistant at Center for Autism Research (CAR). He works primarily on the SPARK research study, a multi-site study sponsored by the Simons Foundation. 

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Amanda Riiff
Research Assistant
Amanda Riiff

Amanda Riiff works at The Center of Autism Research (CAR) as a clinical research assistant and currently works with the motor team.

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Raquel Serruya, M.H.S
Research Assistant
Raquel Serruya, M.H.S

Raquel Serruya, M.H.S., is working at the Center for Autism Research (CAR) as a clinical research assistant and is currently working with the Infant Brain Imaging Study.

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Jessica Tschida
Research Assistant
Jessica Tschida

Jessica Tschida is a full time Clinical Research Assistant for the Center for Autism Research (CAR), supporting the oRBiting study.

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Manisha Udhnani
Research Assistant
Manisha Udhnani

Manisha Udhnani is a Clinical Research Assistant at CAR and is interested in the overlap between ASD and intellectual disability. 

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Ashley Zitter
Research Assistant
Ashley Zitter

Ashley Zitter is a full time Clinical Research Assistant for the Center for Autism Research (CAR).

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Collaborators

Nathan Blum, MD
Chief, Division of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Nathan Blum, MD

Nathan J. Blum, MD, is chief of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a clinical collaborator with The Center for Autism Research.

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Edward ("Ted") Brodkin, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Edward ("Ted") Brodkin, MD

Edward S. (“Ted”) Brodkin, M.D. is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and founder and director of the Adult Autism Spectrum Program at Penn Medicine. Dr. Brodkin’s research is focused on social functioning in ASD.

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Ashley deMarchena, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Ashley deMarchena, PhD

Dr. deMarchena is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the Universioty of the Sciences in Philadelphia. While completing her postdoctoral fellowship at CAR, Dr. deMarchena was a founding member of CAR's Technology & Innovation Lab. Professor de Marchena’s research focuses on the behavioral presentation of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

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Debra Dunn, Esq
Consulting Director for Strategic Partnerships and Development
Debra Dunn, Esq

Deb is a consultant to the Center for Autism Research (CAR). She was initially hired as CAR's Public Relations Director and Recruitment Coordinator when CAR first began in 2008.

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J. Christopher Edgar, PhD
Principal Investigator
J. Christopher Edgar, PhD

Dr. Edgar is an Associate Professor of Radiology and has over 20 years of experience using non-invasive imaging (electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and structural and functional MRI) to study brain function and structure in psychiatric and neurological patient populations.

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Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD
Director, CHOP Center for Applied Genomics
Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD

Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Applied Genomics and Professor of Pediatrics at The University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine.

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Brenna Maddox, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Brenna Maddox, PhD

Brenna Maddox, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow and licensed clinical psychologist at the Penn Center for Mental Health. She completed her predoctoral internship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as the Autism track intern

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Joseph McCleery, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Joseph McCleery, PhD

Dr. McCleery is Assistant Professor at St. Joseph's University (SJU) in the Department of Psychology, and Executive Director of SJU's Academic Programs in the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support, His research examines the neural mechanisms of social processing and perception in infants, children and adults with and without ASD.

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Timothy Roberts, PhD
Vice-Chair, Department of Radiology
Timothy Roberts, PhD

Dr. Roberts is the Oberkircher Family Chair in Pediatric Radiology and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Radiology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Radiology and Adjunct Professor of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania. He directs the Lurie Family Foundations MEG Imaging Center at CHOP.

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Alyssa R. Rosen, MD
Neurologist
Alyssa R. Rosen, MD

Alyssa R. Rosen, MD, is a pediatric neurologist in the Division of Neurology at CHOP, specializing in the care of children with autism and epilepsy-related disorders.

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