Tony J. Simon, Ph.D. » Director - Dr. Simon is a pediatric cognitive neuroscientist. His research focuses on the interactions between neural, cognitive, affective and stress biology differences in young people with genetic disorders that produce learning difficulties, behavioral dysregulation and psychopathology. Dr. Simon has spent over a decade and a half investigating how dysfunction in specific neurocognitive processing systems, such as attention, and spatial or temporal processing generates cognitive impairments in thinking about space, time, numbers as was as real world challenges like math, using money and navigation. He has developed and is testing a digital neurotherapeutic intervention (in the form a video game) to minimize such disability.  Dr. Simon's current main project is a National Institute of Mental Health funded longitudinal study on risk and protective factors for psychosis proneness in chromosome 22q11.2 deletion (Velocardiofacial/DiGeorge) syndrome based on the interaction of neurocognitive and affective processing and stress reactivity.

Kathy Angkustsiri, M.D. » Assistant Professor of Pediatrics — Kathy received her B.A. in psychology with a minor in Human Biology from Stanford University.  She attended New York University for her medical training and completed a pediatric residency at Children's Hospital Oakland.  Her research interests include dysmorphology in children with autism and other developmental disabilities.  Dr. Angkustsiri carries out research and provides clinical assessments for the chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome children involved in the CABIL research studies.

Courtney Durdle, B.S., B.A. Junior Specialist – Courtney graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a minor in Education. Her previous research experience includes working in the Memory and Development lab headed by Dr. Simona Ghetti, as well as the Social Attention and Virtual Reality Lab run by Dr. Peter Mundy. She also currently volunteers in Dr. Gail Goodman’s Developmental Research Center. Her current research interests include working with children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disabilities, exploring resilience development and functional outcomes for those who experience trauma or have greater psychosis proneness. She hopes to attend graduate school for a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the fall of 2017.

Jordan Garner, B.S. Junior Specialist — Jordan received his undergraduate degree in 2014 at UC Davis, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Economics. Joining the team just after graduation, Jordan intends to study what abnormal brain development in 22q11.2DS reveals about how the brain gives rise to the mind. Jordan’s job is centered on participant cognitive testing, data processing, and study coordination, but he hopes that his opportunity to work with 22Q leads to a deeper understanding of how cognitive control, memory, and belief formation can be reduced to biological processes. His passions are music, philosophy, animation, and playing video games especially with participants who come to the lab.

Ingrid Leckliter, Ph.D. » Psychologist — Ingrid is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in developmental neuropsychology.  She has more than 20 years of experience providing clinical services to children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.  She earned her Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1984 and completed post-doctoral training in clinical neuropsychology at Oregon Health Sciences University in 1986.   Learning disorders are an area of particular interest to her.  Dr. Leckliter is committed to helping families understand their child’s unique strengths and cope with their child's special needs.  This process enhances the child and parent relationship, thereby supporting the child's emotional coping skills, and his or her functioning in society.

Abbie M. Popa, B.S. » Graduate Student Researcher – Abbie earned her degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University in 2010. While at Brown University, she worked at a few research labs as well as the Groden Center where she was a treatment teacher for children profoundly affected by autism. She also spent a semester volunteering in Thailand at a group home for children with disabilities. Between college and graduate school, Abbie worked at Women and Infants Hospital as a research assistant learning how adults who had been born preterm were affected by stress. Through her previous work, Abbie developed an interest in learning how anxiety affects cognition, an interaction she feels cuts across multiple disorders, including 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. She particularly hopes to research how anxiety impacts self-regulation through attention and executive function.

Michele Amato, B.A. Junior Specialist - Michele graduated from California State University of Sacramento in Fall of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While at Sacramento State, she did research on rats, working with Dr. Jeffrey Calton, studying head direction cells within the hippocampus of the brain; which are key to learning spatial navigation. For her work in this lab, she is interested in studying the hippocampus further and understanding how it effects learning, behavior, cognition, and specifically spatial awareness. She is interested in looking at these structures of the brain for children with 22q11.2DS and hoping to develop a greater understanding of how processing within these areas work for children with brain abnormalities. She hopes to enter a doctorate program for Neuropsychology in the fall of 2016.

Danessa Mayo, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar - Dr. Mayo is a clinical psychology postdoctoral scholar working under the direct supervision of Dr. Tara Niendam. She graduated in 2015 with a Ph.D. from Loma Linda University. Dr. Mayo completed her internship under the Trauma Adolescent Mental Illness track at the UC Davis CAARE Diagnostic and Treatment Center and SacEDAPT Early Psychosis Clinic. Her research interests include early onset psychosis symptoms in youth with 22q11.2DS, learning and developmental disorders, and deliberate self-harm. Dr. Mayo conducts clinical assessments with both parents/caregivers and study participants in the clinic.

Hannah Morgan, B.S. - Hannah graduated from Haverford College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience.  Her previous research experience includes two summers under the mentorship of Dr. Linda Mayes at the Yale Child Study Center. At Yale she worked with Intensive In-Home Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Services (IICAPS) under Dr. Jean Adnopoz and with Dr. Denis Sukhodolsky in his research on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for aggression in children study, where she subsequently completed a research project on the effects of N170 responses to fearful face stimuli in those exhibiting Callous and Unemotional traits.  Hannah's senior thesis involved studying the effects of reducing racial biases on neural responses to race by witnessing changes in the ERN, P200, and P300 ERPs.  Her current interests involve neurodevelopmental, cognitive neuroscience and translational neuroscience.

Kathryn McCabe Ph.D. - Kathryn is an Autism Research Training Program Postdoctoral Scholar. She joins our team from Dr Linda Campbell’s lab at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She was awarded the competitive Natasha Snow Postgraduate Scholarship from the Schizophrenia Research Institute and completed her PhD in 2012. Kathryn’s research is primarily focused on social cognition in neurodevelopmental disorders and psychopathology. She is interested in how dysfunction in perceptual processes impact social cognition processes and social functioning more broadly and whether these difficulties are amendable to remediation. Her PhD studies explored the design of a novel social cognition intervention for people with schizophrenia. She completed postdoctoral studies at Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at The University of Sydney under the supervision of Prof. Ian Hickie. With BMRI researchers she developed and tested online and app-based interventions for young people to improve mental health and wellbeing. Kathryn started teaching as a casual lecturer in the area of abnormal psychology during her post-doctoral studies. Kathryn’s work with the 22q11.2DS team will be focused in exploring similarities and differences in the social phenotype of children with 22q11.2DS and idiopathic autism spectrum disorder.

Alumni and Collaborators

Freddy Bassal, B.S.
Joel Bish, Ph.D.
- Ursinus College
Carrie Bearden, Ph.D. - University of California, Los Angeles
Elliott A. Beaton, Ph.D. »
- University of New Orleans
Margie Cabaral, B.S.

Nina Q. Cung, B.A, B.S.

Joshua R. Cruz, B.S.
Yi (Michelle) Deng, Ph.D.
Janice Enriquez, Ph.D.
Christine Godwin, B.S.

Naomi Goodrich-Hunsaker, Ph.D.

Michele Mazzocco, Ph.D. »
- University of Minnesota
Y Bella McLennan, B.S.
Marisol Q. Mendoza, M.A.
Vy Nguyen, B.A.
Yufeng Qin, Ph.D.

Andrea I. Quintero, B.S. »
- Johns Hopkins University
Dave Reyes, B.S.
Tracy Riggins (DeBoer), Ph.D.
University of Maryland
Judith Ross, M.D. »
Thomas Jefferson University
Heather Shapiro, B.A.
Siddharth Srivastava (Sid), Ph.D.
Joel Johnson Stoddard, M.D. »
Nicole Tartaglia, M.D. » - Children’s Hospital of Colorado
Yukari Takarae, Ph.D. » - UT Southwestern
Ling M. Wong, B.S.
AAAS Science and Technology Fellow at National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke NIH
Zhongle Wu, Ph.D.