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UC Davis MIND Institute

UC Davis MIND Institute

Research Team

Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Leonard Abbeduto Team


 

Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D.

Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Abbeduto’s research at the UC Davis MIND Institute focuses on the development of language across the lifespan in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. His current projects focus on the factors accounting for variation in the course of language in children, adolescents, and young adults with fragile X syndrome, autism, or Down syndrome. These projects seek to identify the behavioral, biological, and environmental influences that shape language in these conditions. Other projects focus on the development of methods to optimize language development through parent-mediated interventions and the role of telehealth technology in the delivery of these interventions. Dr. Abbeduto’s research has been funded virtually continuously by the National Institutes of Health since 1984. He is the editor of the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which is the flagship journal of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Abbeduto is also Director of the NIH-funded Interdisciplinary Training Conference on Developmental Disabilities, which is designed to foster an interdisciplinary approach to research on neurodevelopmental disorders in the next generation of scientists.


Heather Barnhart

Heather Barnhart 

Transcriber

Heather Barnhart is a transcriber for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. For the past 9 years, Heather worked for a company that provides in-home ABA services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology from California State University, Sacramento in 2013 and is currently working towards her Masters of Science degree.


David Benjamin, Ph.D.

David Benjamin 

Postdoctoral Scholar

David Benjamin is a postdoctoral scholar interested in novel ways of measuring the development of social and joint attention as they relate to learning in children with autism, fragile X syndrome, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Human Development, and Ph.D. in Human Development from UC Davis.


Lauren Bullard, B.A.

Lauren Bullard, BA 

Junior Specialist

Lauren Bullard is a Junior Specialist for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of New Mexico. In addition to assisting with recruitment and scheduling for our lab, Lauren also works as a behavior consultant for children with autism spectrum disorder. Lauren hopes to attend graduate school in Psychology or Human Development.


Nancy Castignetti, M.Ed., M.S.

Nancy Castignetti, M.Ed., M.S., CF-SLP 

Research Associate

Nancy Castignetti received her Master of Science degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Master of Education from Marquette University. She received her Bachelor of Art's degree from Loyola University Chicago. 


Marie Moore Channell, Ph.D.

Marie Moore Channell, Ph.D. 

Postdoctoral Scholar

Marie Channell is a postdoctoral scholar whose research targets the development of language, cognitive, and socioemotional skills in individuals with Down syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She earned her Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from The University of Alabama.


Mandy Chela, B.A.

Mandy Chel 

Examiner

Mandy Chela is an examiner for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She administers standardized tests and conducts expressive language sampling with participants in the lab's research studies. Mandy received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed the Post Baccalaureate Premedical Health Professions Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Mandy's previous research efforts have involved working on studies focused on young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. She plans to apply to medical school this coming year.


Alicia Cox, B.A., B.S.

Alicia Cox

Program Coordinator

Alicia Cox is the Program Coordinator for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Alicia received a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Davis. She is currently working on her Master of Art degree in Counseling Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy at Santa Clara University.


Robyn Tempero Feigles, B.A.

Robyn Tempero Feigles 

Staff Research Associate 

Robyn Tempero Feigles received her Bachelor's degree in Human Development from UC Davis in 2006. She is currently pursuing a second Bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders from Utah State University. Robyn has previously worked on the Early Steps Study delivering early intervention therapy to toddlers with autism and will now be working in the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders administering study assessments.

Joan Gunther, PsyD

Joan Gunther, PsyD 

Clinical Psychologist

Joan Gunther is a licensed clinical psychologist.  Prior to her position at the MIND Institute, Dr. Gunther worked at River Oak Center for Children with children, adolescents, and adults experiencing a variety of psychological disorders and severe living problems.  Her work with individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, their families, and school staff spans over 20 years.  Dr. Gunther majored in Family Systems at the University of Minnesota before moving to San Jose, California where she received her B.A. in Psychology at San Jose State University with an emphasis in Speech and Language Disorders.  She received her M.A. and doctorate degree from California School of Professional Psychology.


Angela John Thurman, Ph.D.

Angela John, Ph.D. 

Postdoctoral Scholar

Angela John is a postdoctoral scholar who investigates cognitive, language, social-emotional, and behavioral development in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. She received her Master’s and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Louisville, and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Denver.


Jenn Kern, B.A.

Jenn Kern 

Junior Specialist

Jenn Kern is a Transcriber and Coder for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Jenn received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and her Bachelor of Science degree equivalent in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from the California State University, Sacramento and is currently completing her Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology.


Katie Kilbourne, B.S.

Katie Kilbourne 

Junior Specialist

Katie Kilbourne is a Transcriber and Coder for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Katie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from the California State University, Sacramento and is currently completing her Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology.


Amanda Kwiatkowski, B.A.

Amanda Kwiatkowski, BA 

Junior Specialist

Amanda is a Transcriber for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and works on the research projects which involve expressive language sampling. Amanda is from the Sacramento area and attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She studied abroad for one year in Spain, and graduated with a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures in 2004. After earning her degree, she returned to Spain to teach English for another year. Currently, in the MS program in Speech-Language Pathology at California State University, Sacramento and plans to graduate in 2014.


Monica Ma, B.A., BCaBA

Monica Ma 

Junior Specialist

Monica Ma is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst working in the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.  She received her Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology and minor in Spanish Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley.  After working several years in an early intervention program for preschool children with autism spectrum disorder in the public school sector, Monica returned to school to further her studies.  She is currently pursuing a Master of Art degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at California State University, Sacramento.


Megan Martinez

Megan Martinez 

Junior Specialist

Megan Martinez is a Junior Specialist for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Megan received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from California State University, Sacramento. In addition to her Bachelors of Science degree, Megan minored in Deaf Studies and received a certificate in American Sign Language. Megan will be working on transcribing parent/child play samples from the Early Word Learning study and will work as an examiner on the Expressive Language Sampling project. Megan also volunteers with the local Head Trauma/Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group of Sacramento as well as the Down Syndrome Coalition Group of Roseville. Megan hopes to earn a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology.


Andrea McDuffie, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Andrea McDuffie

Project Manager

Andrea McDuffie is a licensed speech/language pathologist and the Research Director for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. After working in the public schools as a clinician and early childhood special educator for many years, Dr. McDuffie returned to graduate school and received a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2004. She then completed a postdoctoral traineeship in developmental disabilities research at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin – Madison, where Dr. Abbeduto was her postdoctoral mentor. Dr. McDuffie’s research interests include word learning and language development in fragile X syndrome and autism, parent-mediated language intervention approaches, and the characterization of autism symptoms in fragile X syndrome.


Kasie Parsons, B.S.

Kasie Parsons 

Junior Specialist

Kasie Parsons is a Junior Specialist for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.  Kasie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from California State University, Sacramento.  She is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from California State University, Sacramento.


Bailey Savage

Bailey Savage 

Transcriber

Bailey Savage is a transcriber for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Stanislaus in 2011. Bailey is currently a conditional graduate student in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at California State University, Sacramento.


Stephanie Summers, BA

Stephanie Summers, BA

Junior Specialist

Stephanie is a Junior Specialist for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She is working on a project examining how the characteristics of maternal language influence language development for children with fragile X syndrome. Stephanie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology from Mills College in 2011. After working at an agency that provides behavior and language therapies to children with autism spectrum disorder, Stephanie has returned to school and is currently a conditional graduate student in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at California State University, Sacramento.


Evann Vieira, B.S.

Evann Vieira

Junior Specialist

Evann Vieira is a Transcriber and Coder for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology at California State University, Sacramento, and is currently working towards completing her Master of Art degree in Special Education.


Caitlyn Wong

Caitlyn Wong 

Transcriber

Caitlyn Wong is a transcriber for the Laboratory on Language Development in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology & Audiology from California State University, Sacramento in 2013. Caitlyn is also a licensed Speech Language Pathologist Assistant (SLPA) and completed her training at California State University, Sacramento in 2013. She plans to pursue a Masters degree in the field of Speech Language Pathology in the future.


 

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