Kimberly Carpenter, PhD (Co-Chair), is an Assistant Research Professor in the Center for Autism and Brain Development at Duke University. She is a translational and clinical neuroscientist studying brain development in the first 5 years of life and how changes in the brain lead to autism and associated psychiatric comorbidities. The goal of her research is twofold: 1) to understand how alterations in neural systems contribute to the etiology and pathophysiology of psychiatric comorbidities in children with autism, and 2) to develop new technologies that use neurobiologically informed biomarkers for early identification and treatment of these disorders. Through this work, Dr. Carpenter aims to increase access to, and provide a solid neurobiological foundation for, evidence-based screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism and associated psychiatric comorbidities in young children.
Subhashini Jayanath, MD (Co-Chair), is a senior lecturer and consultant developmental pediatrician at University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She runs three developmental pediatric clinics per week and co-manages a general pediatric ward at UMMC. The majority of the patients she sees have autism spectrum disorders of varying levels of severity. As part of her academic duties, Dr. Jayanath conducts lectures and clinical tutorials and provides mentorship of medical undergraduate and pediatric postgraduate students. Her areas of interest are autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. She is interested in research into possible regional phenotypic differences in autism spectrum disorders, exploration of the genetic and epigenetic factors related to autism, as well as the prevalence of autism in Malaysia, as compared to the global prevalence.
Mark Shen, PhD (Training Officer), is a clinical neuroscientist studying the early brain and behavioral development of young children with autism. He obtained his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the UC Davis MIND Institute, completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina, and is now starting as an assistant professor at UNC. Prior to graduate school, he worked for six years doing clinical work with individuals with autism (from early intervention with young children, to independent living and employment with adults). Dr. Shen has conducted longitudinal MRI studies in high-risk infants and toddlers with autism. His current research aims to identify early risk markers for autism by integrating multiple approaches (behavior, infant brain imaging, molecular genetics, and animal models). His ultimate goal is to translate his research into findings that are both useful to clinicians and beneficial for individuals and families living with autism. Prior to joining the Early Career Committee, Dr. Shen co-founded and chaired the INSAR Student & Trainee Committee.
Frederick Shic, PhD (Technology Officer), is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at University of Washington and an Investigator at Seattle Children's Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development. A computer scientist by training, he leads Seattle Children's Innovative Technologies Laboratory (SCITL) which focuses on the exploration of new technologies and methodologies for enriching both our understanding of ASD and the lives of children with ASD. His current research interests include using eye-tracking to study visual social attention in ASD, functional near infrared spectroscopy to investigate brain mechanism, computational modeling to operationalize and synthesize working knowledge regarding typical and atypical development, and the development of specialized software (apps, video games, virtual reality, and informatics resources) and hardware applications (robots, wearables, and specialized monitoring tools) for educational and interventional purposes.
Giacomo Vivanti, PhD (Global Outreach Officer), is an Assistant Professor in the Early Detection and Intervention research program at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, Philadephia. His research background includes a visiting fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, and postdoctoral research positions at the University of California Davis MIND Institute, and the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Vivanti’s research is focused on understanding the nature of learning difficulties in autism and developing effective programs to address such difficulties within community-based settings. Dr. Vivanti has been recently appointed as Associate Editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and is the author of approximately 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on autism.
Michele Villalobos, PhD (Past Chair)
, is an Assistant Professor in the UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine TEACCH Autism Program. Dr. Villalobos is the Director of the regional TEACCH Clinic for Western North Carolina based in Asheville, NC. Her clinical specialty lies in the identification and diagnosis of ASD in children under 3 years old. Dr, Villalobos' primary research focuses include: identifying barriers and facilitators to accessing services in ASD, working with rural communities to enhance service provisions and train providers and developing sustainable models of care at the community level. Prior to co-founding the ECC, Dr. Villalobos has been a member of INSAR since 2004 and chaired the Student and Trainee Committee. Her ultimate goal while serving on the ECC is to develop a sustainable network of resources for those transitioning out of training programs into the first years of their career.