Early Career Committee

The Early Career Committee (ECC) will report to the Educational Board Liaison regarding INSAR early career issues and activities.

Early Career is defined as: Faculty or non-academic professional autism researchers who are no longer students or early-stage postdocs but are still within 10 years of their terminal degree (Advanced postdocs, those beyond their first postdoc, are encouraged).

The ECC will work closely with the Student and Trainee Committee to meet the goals of the INSAR mission specifically, to foster opportunities for leadership and career development for the next generation of ASD researchers and growing membership/organizational identity.

Specific Responsibilities:

  1. Assess and determine needs of Early Career INSAR members as needed.
  2. Plan and implement IMFAR Early Career events.
  3. Report to INSAR Board on needs and INSAR related interests of early career members.
  4. Identify and potentially create resources for early career INSAR members.
  5. Work closely with the Student and Trainee Committee to ensure professional development gaps are addressed in addition to prevention of redundant efforts in providing resources for members.
Name Position
 Michele Villalobos Co-Chair
Jill Locke Co-Chair

About Early Career Committee

INSAR initiated an Early Career Committee (ECC) in 2017. The purpose of the ECC is to support early career INSAR members looking for resources, mentorship, and training to build their careers and facilitate networking among early career members.

February 2018 Announcement

Our Initiatives

INSAR 2018 Annual Meeting Event - Thursday, May 10th @ 12pm: Research Rapid Rounds session with funding agency program officers, journal editors, and senior investigators who often sit on study sections (pre-registration required for this session)

Global Ambassador Initiative to expand and support involvement of early career researchers from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations

Early Career Mentorship Program Pilot to build a tiered mentorship structure so that early career researchers can get mentorship from senior established researchers

Update Early Career Content on INSAR Member Website

For more information, please email: earlycareercommittee@autism-insar.org

Meet Your ECC Officers

Jill Locke, PhD (Co-Chair), is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on the: 1) presentation of social impairment in children with autism in schools; 2) identification and implementation of evidence-based practices for children and adults with autism; and 3) the individual and organizational factors that predict successful implementation of evidence based practices for children and adults with autism in community settings. Her research has highlighted the importance of collaborating with community settings such as public schools and the reality of working within the constraints of publicly funded systems, their timeline, priorities, and personnel.

Michele Villalobos, PhD (Co-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.

Kimberly Carpenter, PhD (Communications Officer), 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 (Global Outreach Officer), 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.


Early Career Committee Volunteer Interest Form

Please complete the form below if you are interested in helping out this this committee's activities.  Current INSAR membership is required to serve on a committee.

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