Meet The Team

Antonio Hardan (he/him), MD

Positions: 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), 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), PhD 

Position: Instructor

Joined Lab: 2015

Dr. Hegarty's overarching goal in his research is to improve our understanding of typical and atypical neurodevelopment so that we can design biologically based interventions that will improve precision medicine for mental health. Biologically based diagnosis and treatment are extremely limited for psychological and psychiatric disorders but also critically needed to increase early identification and improve treatment outcomes, especially for neurodevelopmental disorders in which early intervention is the most efficacious. Dr. Hegarty's early career research has primarily utilized non-invasive neuroimaging approaches (e.g., MRI & EEG) to study cognitive and behavioral neuroscience and develop biomarkers autism spectrum disorder.

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) , 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.  

 

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), MS

Position: Clincial Research Coordiantor

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.

Alessandro Morganti, MS, MD

Position: Visiting Research Scholar

Joined Lab: 2021

Dr. Morganti received his MD from the Università di Milano-Bicocca and his MS from Politecnico di Milano. He is an Italian researcher who is currently a visiting scholar in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department at Stanford Medicine. He is currently researching hospital design and planning, investigating the relationship between the built environment and both physical and mental health--with a specific focus on autism spectrum disorder. Within his research, he explores the impact that sensorial sources coming from physical spaces have on patients with autism. The aim of his research is to provide experience-based design strategies for healthcare spaces that can promote the wellbeing of ASD users, preventing sensory overload and fostering their compliance during medical investigations, procedures, and therapies.

Marc Abi Karam (he/him), MS, MD

Position: Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Joined Lab: 2021

Dr. Abi Karam graduated from university in Lebanon, recieving both his MS and MD. Dr. Abi Karam designs, organizes, and conducts specialized and advanced experiments using established scientific protocols and procedure. He is excited to be working as a postdoc at the Stanford Autism Research Center, particularly as he plans to pursue further education in the autism field. 

Jane Shkel (she/her/hers), MS, BCBA 

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2019

Jane Shkel received her BA in Psychology from UCLA and MS in Counseling with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from CSULA. Before joining the lab, Jane worked as a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) clinical supervisor at an ABA clinic. During her time in the lab, she has coordinated several studies focusing on social skills, center-based Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), and PRT delivered via telehealth. Jane is interested in research focused on behavioral treatments for ASD, particularly PRT and its effect on language acquisition. She is also interested in the role of parent-related factors (e.g., parent stress, personality, emotion regulation) in parent training and clinical outcomes.

Katherine Paszek (she/her), MA

Position: 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.

Christel Dagher (she/hers), BS, MS

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2021

Christel Dagher graduated from LAU with a BS in Biology and a MS in Molecular Biology. She currently works as a clinical research coordinator. She is very excited to contribute to the lab through advancing research in improving the health outcomes of people with disabilities. Christel coordinates the Pregnenolone Medication Trial (a steroid hormone treatment on irritability) along with other medical trials.

Briana Hernandez (she/her), 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), BA

Position: Clincial Research Coordiantor

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.

Alexandria Aarrestad (she/her), BS

Position: Clincial Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2021

Allie Aarrestad graduated with honors from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with her BS in Psychology (with a clinical and research focus) and Child Development. She currently coordinates the SPARK for Autism genetic study--the world's largest study on autism. Allie also serves as a Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) behavior technician assistant in the Preschool Autism Lab (PAL), supports the Early Support Program for Autism (ESPA), coordinates the Stanford Child Mental Health Projects for Ukraine, and runs the social media pages and website for the lab. Allie's interested in naturalistic/child-led interventions and social skills groups that focus on strength based approaches. 

 

Alicia Geng (she/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. 

Lara Ani Minassians (she/hers), BA 

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2021

Lara Minassians graduated with honors from Occidental College (Oxy) with a degree in Psychology and minor in Critical Theory & Social Justice. Throughout her time at Oxy, she was a lead research assistant in Dr. Patricia Cabral's Behavioral Medicine Lab. The lab investigated the varied health outcomes and experiences among underrepresented and marginalized groups. Lara was also a research volunteer in the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Gold. In this position, she was involved with helping coordinate tasks in different research projects on the topics of secondary traumatic stress, neurofeedback, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Lara was also a research intern at Embodied, working towards helping improve the social, emotional, and cognitive skills of children with autism. She is very excited to be a part of the Vasopressin Treatment Trial and to be working towards improving the health outcomes of children with autism through the innovative and important research in the lab.

Madeline Clark (she/her), 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.

Caleb Spiro (he/they), BA

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator Assistant

Joined Lab: 2021

Caleb Spiro (he/they) received his BA from Pitzer College in 2020 and majored in psychology with a focus on cognition. He is currently finishing his MA in applied psychology at Rutgers University and will graduate in May 2022. His long term goal is to become a child clinical psychologist who can utilize neuroscience to understand how mood disorders develop and emotional dysregulation occurs and changes across development. More specifically, he is interested in how chronic stress influences general cognitive and affective properties of the mind and prognosis of mental health status. Caleb is the lead coordinator for the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) trial and helps operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) usage for the lab. He also helps with various other projects in the lab which include video editing, survey development, and protocol development.

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: Assitant 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. 

Samantha Buhr (she/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.

Lakshmi Vrittamani (she/her), MS

Position: Clinical Research Coordinator

Joined Lab: 2019

Lakshmi Vrittamani first dipped her toes into ASD research while she was completing her BS in Human Biology from the University of California, Irvine. After graduating in 2017, she completed her MS in Global Medicine from the University of Southern California, where she focused on disparities in healthcare and maternal and child health. Lakshmi has been with ADDRP since 2019 and now works part-time while in medical school. She is especially interested in discovering ways to improve access and address barriers to research and clinical care among historically underserved populations. 

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.

Devon White, MS BCBA

Position: Director of ABA Early Intervention Program