News & Press: Announcement

INSAR Announcements May 2020

Monday, May 11, 2020  
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INSAR Board Election 2020 Results:

Connie Kasari, PhD has been elected for the INSAR President-Elect.

Connie Kasari, Ph.D. is Professor of Human Development & Psychology in the Graduate School of Education and Professor of Psychiatry in the Semel Institute of Neuroscience & Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Kasari is a founding member of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA. She will begin her one-year term as INSAR President-Elect this month followed by a two-year term as INSAR President in May 2021.


INSAR Recognition Awards 2020:
*These awards will be officially recognized in Boston at INSAR 2021.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Helen Tager-Flusberg, PhD

Helen Tager-Flusberg received her Bachelors in Science in Psychology from University College London, and her doctorate in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University. Since 2001 she has been at Boston University, where she is now Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Director of the Center for Autism Research Excellence. She has devoted her lengthy career to conducting research on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders including children with developmental language disorders and genetic syndromes, exploring variability in phenotypic expression and investigating developmental and intervention-based changes in language and social cognition using behavioral and brain imaging methodologies.

Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations and she has had the good fortune to lead several multi-site multidisciplinary autism research programs including CPEA, STAART and ACE Centers. She has edited seven books and written over 200 journal articles and book chapters.  She is the Past President of INSAR (2011-2013), serves on the editorial board of several professional journals and is Section Editor (Cognition and Behavior) for the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She regularly presents her work at scientific and professional conferences and to parent advocacy groups and other stakeholders in the US and in countries around the world.

Advocate Award - John Robison

John Robison is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is also a visiting professor of practice at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA and is the neurodiversity advisor to Landmark College in Putney, VT. John is an autistic self-advocate and an appointed member of national and international scientific and science policy-making bodies, including the federal government’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on Autism, the World Health Organization, and is a part of the Board of Directors for INSAR as the Chair of the Community Advisory Committee.

John is very active in his efforts to support and promote research leading to therapies or treatments that will improve the lives of people who live with autism in all its forms today.  He is widely known as an advocate for autistic people and people with neurological differences. John’s service to the community and INSAR has been truly outstanding over the years and is why he was selected for the 2020 INSAR Advocate Award.

Cultural Diversity Research Award - Dr. Waganesh Zeleke

Dr. Waganesh Zeleke was selected for this award due to her significant  work with culturally diverse individuals with ASD across the United States and Ethiopia. Dr. Zeleke’s work focuses on advancing culturally relevant issues in the epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of children with autism in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. She is also engaged in research on disparities in diagnostic, educational and health care services of minority children with autism and children with autism in poverty in the United States. Dr. Zeleke is an Associate Professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Young Investigators 

Meghan Miller, PhD (UC Davis): “Sibling Recurrence Risk and Cross-aggregation of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.” JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(2):147-152. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4076

Vanessa H. Bal, PhD (Rutgers University): “Predictors of longer-term development of expressive language in two independent longitudinal cohorts of language-delayed preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 19. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.13117 

Dissertation Awards 

Katherine E. Lawrence, PhD (University of Southern California): Dissecting Brain-Based Variability in Autism: Impact of Sex, Polygenic Risk, and Age.

Sophie Schwartz, PhD (Boston University): Characterization Of Central Auditory Processing In Minimally And Low Verbal Adolescents With Autism.


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