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Treatment Advisory Board Biographies

Gregory D. Abowd, Ph.D.
Gregory D. Abowd (pronounced AY-bowd) is the Distinguished Professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. His research interests lie in the intersection between Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction. Specifically, Dr. Abowd is interested in ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) and the research issues involved in building and evaluating ubicomp applications that impact our everyday lives. In the College of Computing, he is a member of the School of Interactive Computing and the GVU Center.

Dr. Abowd currently serves as the Executive Director of the Health Systems Institute, a joint Georgia Tech/Emory University research institute investigating the impact of technologies on healthcare delivery. This extends his work over the past decade in the area of information technologies and autism.

Dr. Abowd directs the Ubiquitous Computing Research Group in the College of Computing and GVU Center. This effort started with the Future Computing Environments research group in 1995 and has since matured into a collection of research groups, including Dr. Abowd's own group. A major research effort that Dr. Abowd was instrumental in starting is the Aware Home Research Initiative, which he founded in 2000 and directed until 2008.

Dr. Abowd received the degree of B.S. in Mathematics and Physics in 1986 from the University of Notre Dame. He then attended the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning the degrees of M.Sc. (1987) and D.Phil. (1991) in Computation from the Programming Research Group in the Computing Laboratory. From 1989-1992 he was a Research Associate/Postdoc with the Human-Computer Interaction Group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York in England. From 1992-1994, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Software Engineering Institute and the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael Aman, Ph.D.
Michael Aman, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Ohio State University, where he directs one of eight NIMH Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology. Dr. Aman was a co-developer of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) and of the Nisonger Child Behavior Rating Form (NCBRF). The ABC has been used extensively in pharmacological and other research in people with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. To date, there are over 275 studies with the ABC, and it has been translated into at least 26 foreign languages. The Conduct Problem subscale of the NCBRF was the primary outcome measure in several Janssen Pharmaceutica's global studies of risperidone in children with disruptive behavior disorders, and it too has been translated into numerous languages. The NCBRF has been widely used in a broad variety of studies.

Dr. Aman has over 220 scholarly publications, including two editions of the popular text, Practitioner's Guide to Psychoactive Drugs for Children and Adolescents. In 1991, the NIMH contracted Dr. Aman to conduct a comprehensive review of rating instruments being used in the mental retardation field; this resulted in a 240-page monograph called Assessing Psychopathology and Behavior Problems in Persons with Mental Retardation: A Review of Available Instruments. Aman also served as chair of the editorial board which helped produce The Expert Consensus Guideline Series: Treatment of Psychiatric and Behavioral Problems in Mental Retardation (May, 2000, American Journal on Mental Retardation).

Dr. Aman is on the editorial boards of seven scientific journals. In 2003, Dr. Aman received a Career Scientist Award from the American Academy on Mental Retardation. Dr. Aman currently serves as the coordinator of the Intellectual and Developmental Disorders graduate psychology program at O.S.U.

Evdokia Anagnostou, M.D.
Dr. Anagnostou is a clinician scientist at Bloorview Research Institute and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pediatrics at Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Bloorview Children's Rehab at University of Toronto. She is board certified in Neurology/child neurology and in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. She received her MD from McGill University (1998). She completed her child neurology training at McGill University and a research fellowship in developmental disabilities/autism at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She is funded in both the areas of clinical trials and imaging in autism. She is a founding member of the Clinical Trials Network and a reviewer for Autism Speaks. She has co-edited the Manual for the Treatment of Autism published by APPI press in 2007.

Diane C. Chugani, Ph.D.
Diane C. Chugani, Ph.D., is currently Professor of Pediatrics and Radiology at Wayne State University. She is the Chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Director of the Translational Imaging Laboratory at Children's Hospital of Michigan. Dr. Chugani obtained a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1979. Dr. Chugani obtained her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1986 and received postdoctoral training in Biological Chemistry also at UCLA before joining the UCLA faculty in the Departments Pharmacology and Radiology (1988-1993). The aim of Dr. Chugani's laboratory is to discover mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of autism and to design and test new treatments based upon the research findings. A combination of approaches is employed and includes imaging studies (PET and MRI) and pharmacological studies. Her PET studies of serotonin synthesis in children with autism (funded by NICHD and pilot grants from MIRA and the Pheasant Ring Foundation) identified differences in developmental changes in brain serotonin synthesis in young autistic compared to non-autistic children. Based upon these results, Dr. Chugani conducted a pharmacokinetic, safety and efficacy trial of a serotonergic drug in young autistic children (funded by NICHD through the Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit network). Based upon the preliminary findings of that study, Dr. Chugani was recently awarded an Autism Center of Excellence Network Grant award (NINDS) to further test this novel treatment for autism. Dr. Chugani is also interested in biochemical mechanisms in epilepsy. In a study of children with tuberous sclerosis complex and medically uncontrolled epilepsy (funded by NINDS and a pilot grant from the National Tuberous Sclerosis Association), Dr. Chugani showed that increased metabolism of tryptophan shown on PET studies in brain regions causing seizures was related to the production of a toxic metabolite of tryptophan metabolism in the kynurenine pathway called quinolinic acid.

Doug Compton
A graduate of Cornell University, Doug Compton joined Schering-Plough in 1988. For 17 years, his research concentration has been in the fields of lipoprotein metabolism and mechanisms of energy homeostasis. His research focused on the discovery of the cholesterol absorption inhibitor Zetia, and study of leptin resistance in obesity. He currently works for Research Diets, Inc. Married with three children, his son Daniel was diagnosed with autism in 1996. In 1997, he became a Scientific Review Council (SRC) Executive Committee Member of the Cure Autism Now foundation (CAN), serving until CAN's merger with Autism Speaks in 2007. Mr. Compton obtained a grant from the Schering-Plough, initiating the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). He served on initial steering committees for AGRE, the Autism Treatment Network, and the Autism Clinical Trials Network. He was a member of the first New Jersey Governor's Council on Autism at UMDNJ, helping to introduce and pass state and national legislation for autism research. He championed state funding for First Signs, piloted in NJ in 2001, and launched nationally in April 2001. Along with Portia Iverson (CAN), Eric London (NAAR), and David Amaral (MIND Institute), Doug conceived and coordinated the establishment of The International Meeting for Autism Research, IMFAR. In March of 2002, Doug left the research bench to become the Science Program Director of CAN. He left the position in 2003 to stay home with his three children, and continued to serve on CAN's Executive Council until 2007. He is also a Board Member of the American Special Hockey Association, a national ice hockey program for children and adults with special needs.

Mr. Compton is a parent community representative on Autism Speaks' Scientific and Treatment Advisory Boards, providing advice and perspective regarding the relevance of the grant proposals to the lives of persons with ASD and their families.

John N. Constantino, M.D.
Dr. Constantino is Blanche F. Ittleson Professor and Director of the William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Cornell University (B.S. 1984, distinction in all subjects) and his medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Constantino completed a combined residency in Pediatrics, General Psychiatry, and Child Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York and completed his Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Constantino's work has involved the genetic epidemiology of autistic social impairment, quantitative methods for measuring inherited phenotypic components of autistic syndromes, and the discovery of distinct patterns of familial aggregation of sub clinical autistic traits in the relatives of children with autism. He has authored or co-authored over 50 original peer-reviewed papers in the scientific literature. He has pioneered the development of rapid quantitative methods for measuring inherited aspects of social impairment, which are currently in use worldwide and have contributed to new approaches to the discovery of genes that confer risk for autism and related disorders. These methods have been instrumental in disentangling nature-nurture effects on a broad array of social developmental disorders (including autism, conduct disorder, and personality disorder). Dr. Constantino currently holds grants with NIH / NICHD, Autism Speaks, Simons Foundation, CDC and HRSA, participates in scientific review committees for the Autism Speaks, March of Dimes Foundation, Simons Foundation and the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), and has served on the scientific advisory committee for AGRE (a program of Autism Speaks) since 2005 and has been appointed to chair the committee beginning September 2009.

Robert L. Hendren, D.O.
Robert L. Hendren, D.O., is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science; Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the current (2007-2009) President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Hendren is board certified in General as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. His current areas of research and publication interests are translational clinical pharmacology and nutritional trials using biomarkers (MRI, measures of inflammation, oxidative stress, immune function and pharmacogenomics) in neurodevelopmental disorders. He has published over 100 scientific papers and 4 books and has been listed in "The Best Doctors in America", each year since it was published in 1996.

Dr. Hendren took his residency in general psychiatry at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and his child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center. After training, he was on the faculty at the George Washington University School of Medicine, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson and New Jersey Medical Schools, and was Executive Director of the M.I.N.D. Institute and Chief of Child and adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, Davis before moving to UCSF in 2009.

Susan L. Hyman, M.D.
Dr. Hyman is the Chief of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong of the University of Rochester School of Medicine. She is Board Certified in Developmental Disabilities and in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and completed a pediatric residency at the North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill. She remained on the faculty at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins Medical Center after her Fellowship there in Developmental Pediatrics. She is the chair of the Autism Subcommittee of the Committee on Children with Disabilities for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her research interests in interventions for autism include medication management, diet and nutrition, early education, and medical assessment and treatment. Dr. Hyman has served on the Scientific Advisory Committees of both NAAR and Autism Speaks. She is co-PI of the Autism Treatment Network site at the University of Rochester.

S. Jill James, Ph.D.
Dr. James is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Director of the Autism Metabolic Genomics Laboratory at the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute. Her undergraduate work was at Mills College, Oakland CA, where she received her BS degree in Biology with high honors. She completed her PhD degree in Nutritional Biochemistry at UCLA in 1986 and was funded for 15 years by the American Cancer Society and the American Association for Cancer Research to study mechanisms of nutritional hepatocarcinogensis at the FDA National Center for Toxicological Research. In 2002, Dr. James transferred to UAMS Dept of Pediatrics where she studies gene-environment interactions in the etiology of Down Syndrome, congenital heart defects, and most recently, autism, in the section of Developmental Disabilities. She recently received a 5 year RO1 grant from NIH entitled "Metabolic biomarkers of autism: predictive potential and genetic susceptibility". Her autism research is focused on metabolic, genetic, and epigenetic abnormalities using plasma, primary immune cells, and lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from children with autism. Dr. James has published over 130 peer-reviewed papers and recently received the American Society for Nutritional Sciences award for innovative research contributing to the understanding of human nutrition.

Bryan Jepson, M.D.
Bryan Jepson, M.D. is the Director of the Medical Center at Thoughtful House Center for Children which is a treatment and research facility in Austin, Texas focused on the medical understanding and treatment of autism and other developmental disorders. Dr. Jepson graduated from the University of Utah, School of Medicine in 1995 and completed residency training in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1998. He is board-certified in emergency medicine. His interest in autism started in 2001 with the diagnosis of his son. In 2002, he founded a clinic, Children's Biomedical Center (CBC) of Utah, where children with autism could receive the most up-to-date medical care available. From 2002-2005, CBC was instrumental in raising awareness throughout the Intermountain West about issues related to autism and other childhood developmental disorders. Since joining Thoughtful House Center for Children in 2006, Dr. Jepson has overseen the treatment of almost 2,000 children with developmental disorders. In 2007 he co-authored Changing the Course of Autism, a book covering the scientific rationale behind autism treatment. He is a frequently-invited lecturer at medical conferences and is a clinical advisor to Autism Research Institute and co-coordinator of their clinician training seminars. He has also been a principle investigator as well as a co-author on several clinical treatment studies in autism. His particular research interest is in translating the information that has been learned from the biological research into effective clinical treatments.

Connie Kasari, Ph.D.
Connie Kasari, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychological Studies in Education and Psychiatry at UCLA, where she is the Principal Investigator for the Autism Intervention Research Network for Behavioral Health funded by MCHB, a multi-site research consortium. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985 and was a NIMH postdoctoral fellow at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA. Since 1990 she has been on the faculty at UCLA where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses and has been the primary advisor to more than 30 PhD students. She is a founding member of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA and has been actively involved in autism research for the past 25 years, leading projects under the CPEA, STAART, and Autism Centers of Excellence programs from NIH. Her current research focuses on developing targeted interventions for early social communication development in at risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers with autism, and peer relationships for school aged children with autism. She is involved in several randomized controlled trials, with her most recent work involving multi-site studies for interventions aimed at underserved and under-represented populations of children with autism. She has published widely on topics related to social, emotional, and communication development and intervention in autism. She is on the advisory board of several programs for children with autism and their families, and regularly presents to both academic and practitioner audiences locally, nationally and internationally.

Jay K. Kolls, M.D.
Dr. Jay K. Kolls is Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics, Chair of the Department of Genetics at the LSU Health Sciences Center. Dr. Kolls also served as the inaugural Neils K. Jerne Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology, and Division Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He earned his medical degree at the University of Maryland and completed his residency training in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, LA. After pulmonary sub-specialty training at LSU and Tulane Health Sciences Center, he performed his research fellowship with Dr. Bruce Beutler, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Dr. Kolls is a member of the American Association of Immunology, American Society of Microbiology, and the American Society of Clinical Investigation. Dr. Kolls has authored or co-authored more than 170 peer-reviewed articles in the areas of genetics, gene therapy and immunology. Dr. Kolls is presently the PI on 5 NIH grants. The major goal of Dr. Kolls' research is to investigate mechanisms of mucosal immunology and host defenses in normal and immunocompromised hosts, using both genetic and cell biological tools.

Cynthia A. Molloy, M.D.
Dr. Molloy is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neurology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. She earned her medical degree at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and initially pursued a career in Pediatric Emergency Medicine following pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children's and fellowship training at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Molloy transitioned to autism research in 1999 with sequential fellowships in Developmental Disabilities research and Molecular Epidemiology at Cincinnati Children's and the University of Cincinnati Department of Environmental Health, respectively. She actively collaborates with clinicians from multiple disciplines at the Kelly O'Leary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Cincinnati Children's. She is co-PI of Cincinnati Children's site in the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and site PI for the ATN's Autism Intervention Research Network for Physical Health (AIR-P) studies, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Dr. Molloy is mother to a teen age daughter with autism.

Samuel L. Odom, Ph.D.
Dr. Samuel L. Odom is Director of Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina and Principal Investigator of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders. He is the author or co-author of many refereed journal articles and editor or co-editor of seven books on early childhood intervention and developmental disabilities. He was previously a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on Educating Children with Autism, which published a report on effective educational programs for young children with ASD (NRC, 2001). He also was a member of the committee that developed the 10 Year Roadmap for Autism Research coordinated by the National Institute on Mental Health and the Interagency Autism Research Committee. His recent articles with his doctoral students have addressed the efficacy of a variety of focused intervention approaches (e.g., peer-mediated interventions, social skills training, sibling-mediated interventions, parent-child intervention to promote joint attention, independent work systems approach to promote learning) for children with ASD. His current research is addressing treatment efficacy questions for infants/toddlers and preschool children with autism spectrum disorders. In 2007, Dr. Odom received the Outstanding Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children.

Rhea Paul, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Rhea Paul, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is Professor and Director of the Communication Disorders section in the Developmental Disabilities Clinic. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981, and has taught language development and disorders for over 25 years. She is author of over 70 articles in refereed journals and seven books. At the Child Study Center, she heads the Laboratory for Developmental Communication Disorders within the Autism Program, where she conducts research on communication in autism spectrum disorders, including research on early identification of ASD, auditory preferences and vocal development in infants and toddlers, pragmatic and prosodic skills in school-aged children with ASD, increasing speech in preverbal children and improving conversational skills for high-functioning individuals.

Mabel L. Rice, Ph.D.
Mabel L. Rice, Ph.D., is the Fred & Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies at the University of Kansas. She directs the Merrill Advanced Studies Center, the Child Language Doctoral Program, and the NIDCD-funded Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences of Communication Disorders. She has been a Scholar-in-Residence at MIT, Harvard, the University of Potsdam, and Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and a Japan Fellow. Her main fields of research are language acquisition and language impairments in children. She is a Fellow of AAAS, APA and ASHA, and received ASHA Honors. She investigates the genetics of language acquisition and impairments, with a large longitudinal study of children with Specific Language Impairments and their families and a large longitudinal twin study and the families of the twins. She carries out collaborative investigations comparing the language phenotypes of children with SLI and children with autism. She also investigates language impairments in children with HIV or perinatal exposure to HIV. Dr. Rice served on an expert panel convened by NIDCD, in collaboration with Autism Speaks, to develop benchmarks for defining the acquisition of spoken language in young children with ASD. Dr. Rice is an active reviewer for NIH and other funding sources, and serves on the NIDCD Council.

John Elder Robison
John Elder Robison is free range Aspergian male, having grown up in the 1960s before the Asperger diagnosis had come into common use. After dropping out of high school, John worked in the music business and the electronics industry before founding Robison Service, a specialty automobile company in Springfield, Massachusetts. Today, John serves as an adjunct professor in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts. He has also served on the public review board for the National Institutes of Mental Health, and he is currently involved in TMS autism research at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

John is the author of Look Me in the Eye, my life with Asperger's. John's writing has been translated into 18 languages and is sold in 60+ countries. John's next book, Be Different!, will be published in the spring of 2011.

In addition to his autism advocacy work, John is a lifelong car enthusiast, an avid hiker, a photographer, a music lover, and a world-class champion eater. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Sally Rogers, Ph.D.
Dr. Rogers specializes in conducting developmental research into autism and other developmental disorders and working with children with developmental disabilities and their families, especially young children with autism. She studies early developmental processes, including imitation, social-communicative behavior, and development of motor skills, language, and social interaction patterns. She collaborates with Dr. Ozonoff on studies of autism in infant siblings. She is also involved in developing treatments for autism and examining treatment efficacy in autism using a treatment model that she developed in collaboration with Geraldine Dawson, the Early Start Denver Model. She is the PI of a number of federal grants, including an NIH funded ACE Network grant involving a multisite randomized clinical trial of early intervention, and a large interdisciplinary postdoctoral training grant that she directs with Dr. Amaral. Her clinical interests include evaluation of cognitive, behavioral, social, emotional, and adaptive functioning; early intervention for children with autism; developing treatment and educational interventions for persons with autism of all ages, and social skills groups for adults with autism. She has written extensively in her field, authoring numerous articles and books and developing training videos. Dr. Rogers is an associate editor for Autism Research and serves on the editorial board of many publications, including the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, and Infants and Young Children. She also reviews for periodicals such as Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Science, American Journal of Mental Retardation, Journal of Early Intervention, Journal of Child Psychology and Child Psychiatry, and Development and Psychopathology.

Nancy Simon, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Simon is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Medical Center. After graduating from Princeton University, she attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine and then came to Seattle for her Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Washington (UW) Medical Center. After completing her training, she worked for two years in an inner city Emergency Department before receiving a National Research Service Award fellowship during which she received her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology, focusing on appropriate usage of antibiotics. She then started her current position at the UW School of Medicine. In addition to seeing patients at the Women's Health Care Center, she attends on the in-patient Internal Medicine Service and is also a member of the School of Medicine College Faculty, a group of physicians who teach and mentor medical students. She was recently elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians.Dr. Simon has a child with autism, is a member of the University of Washington Autism Center Development work group and has served on the Washington Governor's Autism task force.

Dr. Simon is a parent community representative on Autism Speaks' Scientific and Treatment Advisory Boards, providing advice and perspective regarding the relevance of the grant proposals to the lives of persons with ASD and their families.