Katarzyna (Kasia) Chawarska, Director
Katarzyna (Kasia) Chawarska, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. She received her graduate degree from the Department of Psychology at Yale University and completed her postgraduate training at the Yale Child Study Center. Her research work and publications focus on (1) understanding mechanisms that underlie social attention abnormalities observed in infants and toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders; and (2) better defining the early phenotypic expression of ASD. Work in her lab is focused on studying face and gaze processing in children under the age of 2 years using eye-tracking technology. Determining which components of gaze and face processing are impaired and which are preserved in infants with ASD will help advance our appreciation of mechanisms underlying abnormalities in the early stages of the disorder. This evolving understanding of the condition will be consequential for designing early screening and intervention methods and improving understanding of factors responsible for high heterogeneity of early syndrome expression. Dr. Chawarska's research has been funded by both private (Autism Speaks, NAAR, Korczak Foundation) and federal (NICHD, NIMH) agencies. She is a co-editor of the book titled, "Autism in Infants and Toddlers: Diagnosis, Assessment and Treatment" published in 2008. She lectures nationally and internationally on issues related to early diagnosis of ASD. She is the Director of the Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic at the Yale Autism Program.
Frederick Shic, Associate Director
Frederick Shic is an Assistant Professor specializing in computational approaches to eye-tracking analysis in autism. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Yale University, and a B.S. in Engineering and Applied Sciences from the California Institute of Technology. Previously, he was a researcher at the Biomagnetics group at the Huntington Medical Research Institutes where he conducted research in 1H and 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy; prior to that was a video game programmer for the Sony Interactive Studios of America.
Suzanne Macari, Associate Director
Suzanne Macari, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. She earned her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Virginia and completed post-doctoral fellowships in autism research at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute with Dr. Sally Rogers and Dr. Sally Ozonoff, and at the Yale Child Study Center Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic under the supervision of Dr. Chawarska. Currently, she is part of the assessment team for studies involving infants and toddlers. Her research focuses on visual attention and perception in infants and toddlers with autism, early behavioral markers of autism, and developmental changes in the phenotypic expression of autism over the first three years of life.
Amy Carney, L.C.S.W. is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Developmental Disabilities Clinic for Infants and Toddlers. She acquired a B.S. in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Connecticut, earned her Master's Degree in Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University, with a specialization in clinical work with children and families, and completed a post graduate fellowship within the Yale Child Study Center's autism clinic. Currently, Amy provides clinical support to families with an emphasis on advocacy and serves as a liason between families and the community. In addition, she writes and edits clinical documents, provides developmental testing to very young children, and conducts parent interviews for both clinical and research purposes. Previous experience includes work with children with autism spectrum disorders, as well as children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders and behavioral and emotional challenges.
Katherine D. Tsatsanis, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Tsatsanis earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Windsor in Canada and completed her clinical and research post-doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center. Currently, she is part of the clinical and research assessment teams for evaluations of infants and toddlers. Her primary research interests include phenotypic expression, developmental trajectories and outcome in ASD with publications in the areas of assessment, neuropsychological profiles, and outcomes in ASD, in addition to several articles in the area of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities. Her clinical interests also include diagnostic and neuropsychological assessment of children with ASD as well as psychological and neuropsychological assessments for children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Tsatsanis has been with the Child Study Center since 1995.
Karyn Bailey, Social Worker
Karyn Bailey graduated from the University of Kansas with a Master’s in Social Work and subsequently completed two years of advanced clinical training as a Social Work Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center prior to accepting a position as a faculty member. Currently, she serves as the Director of Social Work Training for the department and also as the lead Social Worker in our Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic. Her interests include adult learning and family adjustment with regard to early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Areas of expertise include special education rights and advocacy.
Kelly K. Powell, Ph.D. is an Associate Research Scientist at the Child Study Center. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from American University in Washington, DC and completed her pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Powell specializes in the assessment and treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), from birth to young adulthood, and their families. Her current research focus is in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based parenting interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In addition, she is actively involved in research projects focused on further understanding phenotypic expression, developmental trajectories, and outcome in ASD including co-morbid disorders. Clinical pursuits at the Child Study Center include multidisciplinary evaluations of children with ASD and related disorders as well as the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments into the community.
Post-Doctoral Associates and Fellows
Daniel Campbell, Post-Doctoral Fellow
So Hyun "Sophy" Kim, Post-Doctoral Associate
So Hyun "Sophy" Kim, Ph.D., is a Post-doctoral Associate at the Yale Child Study Center. She earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan under the mentorship of Dr. Catherine Lord. She also completed her clinical internship at the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC) and the University Center for the Child and the Family (UCCF) specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ASD and other developmental disorders. Her past research focused on developing and refining diagnostic and language measures for young children with ASD and other communication disorders. Her current research focuses on identifying early autism phenotypes and monitoring developmental changes in infants and toddlers with ASD.
Nita Vaswani, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellow
Dr. Nita Vaswani graduated cum laude from New York Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Life Sciences. She then earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. She went on to complete her residency in pediatrics at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. While in residency, she led workshops for 45 pediatric residents on the topics of medication safety and prevention of prescribing errors with statistical analysis of pre and post-workshop performance. Upon graduation from residency, Dr. Vaswani received the “Resident of the Year” award from the attending physicians and received the “Senior Resident of the Year” award from the resident physicians. Dr. Vaswani began her fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics in July of 2012. Her research focus is temperament characteristics in siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder. Her goal is to broaden the understanding of the relationship of temperament in high-risk siblings to a later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay.
Emily Prince, Developmental and Computational Social Neuroscience Fellow
Emily Prince graduated summa cum laude from Sweet Briar College with a B.S. in psychology and a minor in biology. While at Sweet Briar, she conducted research in the Animal Learning Laboratory with Dr. Dan Gottlieb, and was second author on a paper examining the extinction of learned behaviors over time. She also received a summer fellowship from the BRAIN program in Atlanta where she conducted research on reward processing in the brain. Prior to her time at Yale, she worked extensively with kids on the autism spectrum, with ages ranging from early childhood to adolescence. As a pre-doctoral fellow at the Child Study Center, she assists in research examining the diagnosis of infants and toddlers on the autism spectrum, and how they attend to social stimuli.
Sharlene Lansiquot, Developmental and Computational Social Neuroscience Fellow
Sharlene graduated in 2013 from New York University with a B.A. (Honors) in Psychology and a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. While at NYU, she worked as a research assistant in several different labs and was a member of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates. She worked as a research extern at NYU’s Family Translational Research Group and worked in Dr. Ali’s lab, using the PhotoCLUB intervention- a manualized, therapeutic digital photography-based approach which can help empower children and adolescents in domestic-violence shelters and from disadvantaged urban areas. She was also a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Doucet at NYU, where she was trained in research that will broaden our knowledge-base of Haitian children and families in Haiti. She has experience working with children with a variety of developmental and psychiatric disorders.
Lilli Flink, Developmental and Computational Social Neuroscience Fellow
Lilli Flink graduated cum laude from Barnard College with a B.A. in Psychology and magna cum laude from the Albert A. List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) with a B.A. in Midrash and Scriptural Interpretation. During her time at Barnard and JTS, she was a student teacher at the Barnard Center for Toddler Development, where she conducted a year-long senior research experiment under the instruction of Dr. Tovah Klein and Dr. Jeanette Sawyer Cohen. She worked as an intern at the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, facilitating play therapy groups as part of an ongoing social skills study. She spent many summers at camp working with high-functioning adolescents on the autism spectrum. During her post-baccalaureate fellowship at the Child Study Center, she hopes to contribute to the understanding of autism by assisting in the research of infants and toddler’s diagnoses and social development.
Evelyn Pomichter, Administrative Assistant
Evelyn Pomichter is the Administrative Coordinator at the Developmental Disabilities Clinic for Infants and Toddlers. She provides a high level of administrative and clerical support with regard to all aspects of clinical and research functions. In addition, she is a central source of information to both families and members of the developmental disabilities clinical/research teams. She responds to patient concerns and requests ensuring smooth resolution. She is responsible for the management of clinical fees, including preparation of evaluation summary statements, provided to families upon request, for submission to their insurance provider for possible reimbursement. Ev has over 20 years experience working with families of children and adults with disabilities, having previously worked at the Yale Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs and the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center.
Samara Zuniga, Research Assistant
Samara Zuniga Lawless graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a B.S in Anthropology, mainly focused on medical and physical anthropology. She began working here at Yale in 2008 when she joined the Department of Psychiatry working under Dr. Kimberly Yonkers. She worked on a study that looked at depression during pregnancy and birth outcomes. There, Samara conducted structured interviews with mothers participating in the study. In 2010 Samara joined the National Children’s study and the Yale School of Public Health. This study looked at a wide range of environmental factors that could influence children’s health. During that time Samara worked directly with families, providing them with guidance and information.
Kaitlyn Rechenberg, Student Assistant
Kaitlyn Rechenberg, M.A., is a graduate student at Yale and works on numerous projects in the lab.
Erin Ryan, Student Assistant
Erin is a senior psychology major at Yale in Timothy Dwight College from Raleigh, NC. She assists with a variety of lab activities, from babysitting to data management.