In the Child Neurodevelopment Research Lab we conduct research about cognitive and psychosocial functioning of children with particular genetic conditions. Our research includes (1) behavioral phenotyping research, describing of the social, emotional, and cognitive strengths and weaknesses of children with particular neurodevelopmental disorders, to lay groundwork for genotype-phenotype investigations. (2) treatment research, examining the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for use with children with specific rare genetic conditions. We incorporate approaches from the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, child clinical psychology, and child neuropsychology.
Our current projects focus on two populations:
- Children and adolescents with Williams syndrome
- Children and adolescents with neurofibromatosis type 1
Projects with planned and current data collection include:
- Effectiveness of a Telehealth Group for Improving Peer Relationships for Adolescents with Neurofibromatosis Type 1
- Treatment Development Study of Behavioral Play Therapy to address fear and anxiety in young children with Williams syndrome
- Neural Underpinnings of Attention in Children with NF1 (using ERP approaches)
- Adolescent Outcomes in Neurofibromatosis Type 1: Attention, Social, and Academic Functioning
- Evaluation of Measures of Attention for Young Children with NF1
Projects with current manuscript-writing include:
- Longitudinal study of cognitive, social, and emotional difficulties in children with neurofibromatosis-1 beginning in early childhood (cognitive and preacademic abilities, motor functioning, attention and executive difficulties)
- Aggression among children with Duplication 7q11.23 syndrome
- Psychopathology among children with Duiplication 7q11.23 syndrome or Williams syndrome
- Treatment Development Study of Behavioral Play Therapy to address fear and anxiety in young children with Williams syndrome: Preliminary findings
Training and Mentorship:
Graduate students in the Child Neurodevelopment Research Lab typically have research and clinical interests related to child neuropsychology, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and/or social and emotional development in atypical populations. There are also opportunities for training and experiences in cognitive-behavioral interventions for children with Williams syndrome or neurofibromatosis type 1.
Students in the lab emerge from their studies with child neuropsychology assessment training, autism spectrum disorder differential diagnostic skills (if interested), manuscript-writing experience, and grant-writing experience. The depth of experiences in each of these areas is tailored according to student interests and depending on the nature of the studies at any given time.
The majority of research within the lab takes place highly collaboratively. Students typically begin their graduate school time in the lab working with archival data and ongoing data collection, together with fellow graduate students, to learn about the research aims of the ongoing projects as well as typical data collection procedures and approaches and database organization. Over the course of their graduate studies, students gain greater independence in research questions, design, implementation, and data interpretation, and take the lead in organizing and overseeing project teams.
Mentorship relationships in the lab are rooted in mutual respect. I aim to foster developmentally-congruent autonomy while also providing effective support, supervision, and feedback. I am committed to ongoing conversations about ways to meet students’ career priorities, short and long term goals, interests related to diversity and inclusion activities within the field of clinical psychology, and mentorship needs.
I am particularly interested in prospective students who enjoy tackling research questions and intend to continue to blend research and clinical work in the future. Further, I especially encourage applications from students who will contribute to the diversification of the field of clinical psychology (including but not limited to first generation college students, students from rural settings, students from minoritized backgrounds, students who are multilingual).
I am planning to take a new student during the current admissions season, to begin graduate school in the 2021-22 academic year.