Meet The Team

Antonio Hardan (he/him/his), MD

Position: Professor, Director of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic (2006 - Present)

Joined Lab: 2006

Dr. Hardan is the Principal Investigator of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program. His areas of research include (but are not limited to): The neurobiology of autism, neuroimaging in individuals with autism, psychopharmacological treatment of children and adults with autism and/or developmental disorders, the neurobiology and innovative interventions of several neurogenic disorders including DiGeorge Syndrome (Velocardiofacial syndrome; 22q11.2 mutations), PTEN mutations, and Phelan McDermid Syndrome (22q13 mutations).

Jennifer Phillips (she/her/hers), PhD 

Position: Clinical Child Psychologist

Joined Lab: 2007

Dr. Phillips is a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, and a licensed child psychologist with specialized expertise in autism and associated conditions. She joined the Stanford Department of Psychiatry in 2002 and is currently co-Director of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic in Child Psychiatry, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Stanford Autism Center. Since 2007, she has been the lead psychologist for the Stanford Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research Program. She has extensive expertise in diagnostic phenotyping for clinical research in autism, as well as in clinical practice.

Grace Gengoux (she/her/hers), PhD, BCBA-D 

Position: Clinical Professor, Director of the Autism Intervention Clinic

Joined Lab: 2010

Dr. Gengoux is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in training parents to promote the healthy development of social skills in their children and manage challenging behavior using positive behavioral approaches. Dr. Gengoux has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on treatments for autism. She has specialized training in Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), having completed her doctoral studies under the mentorship of Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel. Dr. Gengoux oversees the PRT parent training program at Stanford, supervises postdoctoral fellows providing PRT clinical treatment, and has completed multiple clinical trials evaluating the effects of PRT on the social-communication competence of young children with autism. Dr. Gengoux serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. Dr. Gengoux received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, before joining the Stanford University School of Medicine clinical faculty in 2010.

John P. Hegarty II (he/him/his), PhD 

Position: Assistant Professor, Director of Neuroimaging

Joined Lab: 2015

Dr. Hegarty's innovative research program studies different clinical aspects of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, with a special focus on examining the neural circuitry associated with important brain-behavior relationships that may underlie different psychological and psychiatric domains in autistic children, adolescents, and adults. The ultimate goal of this research is to improve our understanding of the development of different cognitive and behavioral skills in order to develop mechanistically driven interventions that will improve precision medicine for mental health. Biologically based diagnosis and treatment are extremely limited for most psychological and psychiatric conditions but also critically needed to increase early identification and improve treatment outcomes, especially for neurodevelopmental disorders in which early intervention is the most beneficial. Dr. Hegarty's early career research has primarily focused on clinical neuroscience using neuroimaging (MRI & EEG) to examine the effects of different drugs and behavioral interventions on the brain, especially for developing biomarkers for improving treatment planning and monitoring biological changes in response to single dose and clinical trials. 

Mirko Uljarević (he/him/his), MD, PhD

Position: Clinical Assistant Professor

Joined Lab: 2022

Dr. Uljarević is a Clinical Assistant Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford. He is a medically trained researcher focused academic with a background in developmental psychopathology, psychometrics and big data science. His research takes a life-span perspective and is driven by the urgent need to improve outcomes for people with autism and other neuropsychiatric (NPD) and neurodevelopmental (NDD) conditions. His primary research interest has focused on combining cutting-edge psychometric procedures and a big data approach to better understand structure of clinical phenotypes across autism and other NPD and NDD and on using this knowledge to improve existing and develop new clinical assessments that are more effective for screening and diagnosis, tracking the natural and treatment-related symptom progression and for use in genetic and neurobiological studies.

Robin Libove (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Clinical Research Manager

Joined Lab: 2007

Robin Libove obtained her Bachelor of Science from University of California, Davis where she studied Biological Psychology and minored in Neuroscience. She has been working in the lab since 2007, coordinating a variety of clinical studies aimed at helping children and young adults with ASD and understanding the neurobiology of ASD. Over the years she has coordinated randomized clinical trials of N-Acetyl Cysteine, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and Pivotal Response Group Treatment for children with ASD. Currently she is the lab manager and primary coordinator for a longitudinal PTEN observational study. Robin is particularly interested in understanding repetitive behaviors, restricted interests, and anxiety in ASD.

 

Cristiana Vattuone (she/her/hers) , PhD

Position: Clinical Research Associate

Joined lab: 2020  

Dr. Cristiana Vattuone is lead psychometrist for the Stanford Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program providing her clinical expertise in the assessment of autism spectrum disorder and associated genetic conditions. Dr. Vattuone received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles with specialized training in neuropsychological assessment and the implementation of evidence-based interventions. Dr. Vattuone’s research efforts focus on the early identification, diagnosis, and treatment of infants and toddlers at-risk for autism spectrum disorder, developmental trajectories, and the role of the family in supporting positive outcomes. Her dedication to research, treatment, and training continues at ADDRP to improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families.  

 

Devon White, MS BCBA

Position: Director of ABA Early Intervention Program 

Joined Lab: 2019

Devon White is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has been practicing in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2010. Devon is a graduate of the Master of Science in Autism Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She describes herself as a passionate, research-oriented clinician and has been involved in research in many areas, including developing programs for training paraprofessionals, using stimulus equivalence procedures to teach preschool children, examining sibling relationships in ASD, and Naturalistic Developmental Behavior Interventions. Devon has worked in community, school, and home-based settings and has assisted with program development and dissemination of evidence based treatment on an international level. In her current role, Devon supports a team of Registered Behavior Technicians and oversees treatment of preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder in Stanford’s Preschool Autism Lab (PAL) Program. 

 

Christina Ardel (she/her/hers), MA, BCBA

Position: Clinical Care Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2009

Christina Ardel received her BS and MS at Stanford University during which she began working in the research lab. She is a behavior analyst with training in Pivotal Response Treatment and Early Start Denver Model. Her main role at this time is supporting families in accessing resources and navigating the service systems. She also helps support clinical aspects of behavioral research studies as well as video coding projects.

Maria Estefania Millan (she/her/hers), MS

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2013

Estefania Millan obtained her degree and title as a licensed psychologist in Argentina, where she lived until moving to the Bay Area. She worked as a clinical psychologist for 10 years in Argentina, helping families and children with ASD-- focusing on social skills training. Estefania has been working at Stanford since 2013, coordinating clinical trials geared towards testing the effectiveness of interventions for helping children and parents with ASD. Estefania works with parents and children to implement interventions such as Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) for language and social initiation, Developmental Reciprocity Treatment (DRT) for social reciprocity, and Acceptance Mindfulness Optimism and Resilience (AMOR) for parents.

Lacey Chetcuti (she/her/hers), PhD

Position: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Joined Lab: 2023

Dr. Chetcuti obtained a Bachelor of Psychology and Ph.D. from La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia) where she studied the arousal and regulatory characteristics of children on the autism spectrum. Her research efforts focus on understanding the divergence and convergence of developmental processes across different neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric conditions and the general population, with the ultimate goal of informing clinical practice. Dr. Chetcuti is currently supporting further development of the Stanford Social Dimensions Scale (SSDS). 

Emily Ferguson (she/her/hers), PhD

Position: Post-Doctoral Research and Clinical Fellow

Joined Lab: 2023

Dr. Ferguson received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara and completed her clinical internship at the University of California Los Angeles, before joining the ADDRP as a postdoctoral fellow.  Dr. Ferguson's research primarily focuses on advancing understanding of service needs and mechanisms of severe behaviors in autistic youth and adults to improve treatment outcomes and accessibility of services. Her work takes a comprehensive perspective, integrating methods from implementation science to improve the accessibility and quality of clinical care for underserved autistic populations, especially those with higher support needs. Dr. Ferguson is also interested in developing methods to address self-regulation and severe behaviors in autistic individuals with co-occurring intellectual disability, or profound autism. Dr. Ferguson is currently supporting research in the Preschool Autism Lab and exploring profiles of challenging behaviors in a diverse range of autistic and non-autistic youth to inform treatment approaches.

Katherine Paszek (she/her/hers), MA

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2021

Katherine Paszek recently graduated with her MA in Applied Psychology at the University of Washington. She is interested in naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions, social skills intervention development, and working closely with parents of children with autism. She hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in the future. She is interested in emotional regulation in autism and the relationship between emotional regulation and social skill development.

Briana Hernandez (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2019

Briana Hernadez graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz and received her BS in Cognitive Science. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Benjamin Storm’s Memory Lab, examining the consequences of the pretesting effect on memory for pretested and non-pretested information. After graduating, she worked with school-aged children with special needs, monitoring students’ demeanor, attitude, and interactions with others. Briana is currently working on the Vasopressin Treatment Trial for children with autism and is excited to contribute to the important research being done by the Stanford Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program.

Jared Gong (he/him/his), BA

Position: Clincial Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2019

Jared Gong has worked in the ADDRP lab as a therapist for the Developmental Reciprocity Treatment study in addition to coordinating the Pregnenolone Medication Trial, and managing the lab's REDCap research databases. He has been working in the field of autism research since his time as a UCSB undergraduate in 2015, and hopes to pursue advanced studies in the future.

Alicia Geng (she/her/hers), BA

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2021

Alicia Geng graduated from UC Berkeley with her BA in Psychology and minored in Global Poverty & Practice. She coordinates SPARK for Autism study and MOBILITY (Metformin for Overweight Children & Adolescents with Bipolar Syndrome on Antipsychotics). She is also a behavior technician that implements center-based pivotal response training (PRT) in the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL). Additionally, Alicia also helps with neuroimaging and coding for the PRT and DRT studies. She plans on exploring cultural differences in autism interventions in her graduate career in clinical psychology. 

Madeline Clark (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2021

Madeline Clark is a clinical research coordinator in the lab, supporting the Single Dose N-acetylcysteine Trial and the Center-Based Pivotal Response Treatment program. She graduated with her BS from the University of Oregon in June 2020 and was a research assistant at the Stress Neurobiology and Prevention Lab there, where she focused on the effects of stress in parent-child dyads. Since then, she has worked as a registered behavior technician and is excited to continue her passion of working with children to help advance our understanding in autism and to find better ways of supporting children and their families.

Joseph McGrath (he/him/his), BS

Position: Research Coordinator/ Behavior Technician

Joined Lab: 2022

Joe McGrath graduated with honors from Stanford University with his BS in Human Biology, concentrating on neuroscience and psychopathology. He coordinates pivotal response training (PRT) trials, while also acting as a registered behavior technician that implements the PRT therapy with the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL). Additionally, Joe assists with drug trials and neuroimaging studies. Interested in the interplay between psycho- and pharmacotherapies, Joe plans to apply to medical school, hoping his exploration of research methodologies will inform a future in clinical psychiatry.

Lana Kamel (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Clinical Research Assistant

Joined Lab: 2023

Lana Kamel recently graduated with her BS in Neuroscience from UC Riverside. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Michael Adam's Neuroscience Lab for three years, has volunteered for various organizations since 2015, working with children with autism and various neurodevelopmental disabilities, and has shadowed Developmental Pediatricians at Boston Children's Hospital since 2018. She is most excited to finalize her RBT certification, work closely with patients with Autism, and help advance and contribute to the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program in any way possible. Lana plans to apply to medical school in hopes of improving the lives of individuals growing up with neurodevelopmental disabilities as a Psychiatrist.

Maria Victoria Bundang (she/her/hers), BS, RBT

Position: Registered Behavior Technician

Joined Lab: 2019

Maria Bundang is currently pursuing her MS in Behavior Analysis at Pepperdine University. She has been a registered behavior technician for over three years. Her areas of interest include mental health, wellness, mindfulness, and child development. Maria is currently working in the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL) Program as a behavior therapist.

Niki Demayo, MS, RBT

Position: Registered Behavior Technician

Joined Lab: 2021

Niki Demayo has her MS in psychology and has been a behavior technician for two and a half years. She is currently focusing on getting her Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) certification. Niki is currently working in the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL) Program as a behavior therapist.

Tanya Rego, MS, RBT

Position: Registered Behavior Technician

Joined Lab: 2022

Tanya has been a Registered Behavior Technician for 6 years and has obtained her MS in Psychology. Tanya is currently working in the Preschool Autism Program as an Assistant Behavioral Technician; she is passionate about finding the most effective methods to support and advocate for children with ASD and their families. Her professional goal is to obtain her BCBA credential and then continue to earn her PsyD. 

Rebecca Wachter, MS, RBT

Position: Registered Behavior Technician

Joined Lab: 2022

Becca Wachter completed an M.S. degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Drexel University in 2021. She has nearly ten years of clinical experience using ABA to support adults and children with a variety of developmental and psychiatric disorders across residential, school, and hospital settings. Before joining the lab, Becca trained medical staff on ABA principles and provided direct behavioral support to inpatients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Becca is now a behavioral therapist in the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL) Program working toward BCBA certification.

Samantha Buhr (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Clinical Research Assistant

Joined Lab: 2021

Sam Buhr double majored in psychology and child studies at Santa Clara University, where she graduated from in March of 2020. Sam is currently working on a couple of different PRT projects, most of which include scoring videos and/or assessments.

Rachel K. Schuck (she/her/hers), MA

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2014

Rachel Schuck is currently a doctoral student in the education department at UC Santa Barbara. Previously, she earned a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley and an MA in special education from San Jose State. Her research interests center on exploring the social validity of services for individuals on the spectrum, particularly from the autistic perspective. She is also interested in parent involvement in education and intervention programs for young autistic children. Though she is no longer a full-time member of ADDRP, she is still involved in the telehealth PRT studies as a clinician and coordinator.

Anna Oft (she/her/hers), BS  

Position: Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2023

Anna Oft recently graduated from Georgetown University with a BS in Mathematics and a BA in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she worked as the study coordinator for the Georgetown University Anxiety Disorders Research Program, studying the efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for patients with anxiety disorders and depression. Anna coordinates the SPARK for Autism study and is excited to work with families to contribute to the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program's important research. In the future, she hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology.  

Esha Dhawan (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2021

Esha Dhawan graduated with honors from Stanford University with her B.S. in Human Biology with a concentration in neuroscience. Esha joined the lab in 2021 as an undergraduate, where she completed her honors thesis examining sex differences between males and females in autism and assisted with ongoing projects in neuroimaging. She now coordinates the Vasopressin Treatment Trial for children with autism and the SPARK for Autism study. Esha is excited to contribute to innovative research improving the lives of individuals with autism and their families, and hopes to eventually apply these practices to a career in medicine.

Eliana Gropman (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Clinical Research Assistant

Joined Lab: 2023

Eliana Gropman received her BS in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. During her undergraduate career, she engaged in a variety of research initiatives and contributed to publications on X-linked chromosomal disorders. Her work included administering neuropsychological assessments and monitoring hormonal replacement therapy progress for patients undergoing testosterone replacement therapy. These experiences motivated her continued study of the brain, particularly developing her interest in developmental disabilities and neurological disorders. Eliana aspires to pursue a career in clinical research, with the ultimate objective of leveraging technological advancements to both visualize and effectively address neurological disorders.

Ella Jevtic (she/her/hers), BS

Position: Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator, Registered Behavior Technician

Joined Lab: 2023

Ella Jevtic works in the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL) Program as an RBT and coordinates studies looking into PTEN mutations and Phelan McDermid Syndrome. She recently graduated with honors from UC Santa Cruz, receiving a BS in Biology. She has volunteered with individuals with disabilities since 2016 through therapeutic recreation service programs. Ella continued her passion for working with children with ASD and IDDs by receiving her RBT certification in 2021. Her deep interest in this field further affirms her desire to become a medical doctor to continue helping this community and improve ASD treatment options. 

Samantha Dowling (she/her/hers), MS

Position: Board Certified Behavior Analyst 

Joined Lab: 2023

Samantha ("Sam") Dowling is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has been practicing in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) since 2012. Sam received her Master of Science in Psychology with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis at Purdue University. Prior to joining the Stanford Lab, she worked as a Clinical Director and Supervisor for home, school, and center-based ABA intervention programs, as well as Social Skills Group for school aged children and teens. She is a BCBA with experience direct intervention and parent training via in-person and telehealth formats in various applied behavior analytic strategies including Pivotal Response Treatment. In her current role, Sam provides clinical supervision and training to Registered Behavior Technicians and oversees Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) of patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Stanford's Preschool Autism Lab (PAL) Program.

Lily Butler (she/her/hers), BA

Position: Assistant Behavioral Technician

Joined Lab: 2023

Lily Butler recently graduated from the University of California, Davis with a BA in Psychology and minors in Neuroscience and Human Rights. As an undergraduate, Lily worked within the Collaborative START Lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute studying the effects of early intervention methods for children with ASD and their families. Lily is currently working in the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL) Program as an Assistant Behavioral Technician. In the future, she wishes to continue in the field of clinical ASD research and pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and earn her BCBA-D. 

Emily Spackman (she/they/them), PhD

Position: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Joined Lab: 2023

Dr. Spackman obtained a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia where she studied restricted and repetitive behaviours in autistic children and adolescents. Her research efforts focus on understanding how these behaviours vary across individuals and contexts, with the goals of improving assessment and working towards the development of more personalised clinical support. Dr. Spackman is currently supporting further development of the Dimensional Assessment of Repetitive Behaviours (DARB) instrument.