Carla A. Mazefsky, Ph.D. | Professor, Program Director
Dr. Mazefsky is a clinical psychologist specializing in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), a Professor of Psychiatry, and the director of the Regulation of Emotion in ASD Adults, Children, & Teens (REAACT) Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her program of research is focused on emotional dysregulation in ASD, including the identification of underlying neural mechanisms, the conceptualization, treatment, and assessment of problems with emotional control, and co-occurring depression and anxiety. While most of her research to date has focused on high-functioning adolescents with ASD, she is expanding to more of a lifespan perspective and is now conducting research on psychiatric inpatients with ASD as part of a multisite study to better understand and improve outcomes for those most severely affected by the disorder. Dr. Mazefsky was the 2012 recipient of the Ritvo/Slifka Award for Innovation in Autism Research from the International Society for Autism Research. She is the associate editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Western PA Chapter of Autism Speaks. Dr. Mazefsky’s research has been funded by the Organization for Autism Research and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Kelly Beck, Ph.D., L.P.C. | Assistant Professor, EASE Clinician
Caitlin Conner, Ph.D. | Research Assistant Professor, EASE Clinician
Jessie Northrup | Assistant Professor, EASE Clinician
Taylor Day, Ph.D. | Post-Doctoral Scholar
Patricia “P.J.” McCarroll, M.S. | Program Manager
Holly Gastgeb, Ph.D. | Research Project Clinician
Shannondora Sloan, M.Ed. | EASE Project Coordinator and Clinician
Michelle Perrin, M.B.A. | ASERT Marketing Outreach Specialist
John “J.J.” Markiewicz | Database Administrator
Rob Seres | Applications Manager
Kara Duman, M.S.W. | Research Coordinator
Kate Breitenfeldt | Research Specialist, EASE-ID Project Coordinator
Charis “Kay” Rodgers | Research Project Assistant, EDI-fNIRS Project Coordinator
Katharine Zeglen | Research Specialist
Dr. Mazefsky enjoys working with trainees of diverse educational backgrounds and is honored to support the career development of both future researchers and clinicians. Examples of some trainee mechanisms that can support work in the REAACT lab include the undergraduate Directed Research course in the Pitt Psychology Department, the scholarly projects of Pitt medical students, and the Psychiatry Department’s T32 on Training the Next Generation of Mental Health Researchers (PI Brent). Those interested in post-doctoral fellowships are encouraged to contact Dr. Mazefsky regarding availability (those interested in research careers are preferred, though Dr. Mazefsky is a licensed psychologist and can also provide clinical supervision). Dr. Mazefsky also looks forward to working with clinical psychology pre-doctoral interns at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Finally, she will gladly support motivated trainees who would like to seek foundation or NIH funding for training fellowships in the REAACT Lab.
Dr. Mazefsky is currently not able to accept clinical psychology graduate students as a primary mentor.
- Caitlin Conner, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Fellow; Graduated from Virginia Tech’s clinical psychology program
- Conner Kerns, PhD., Assistant Professor at Drexel; Dr. Mazefsky is a consultant on her NIH K23 Career Development Award focused on The Assessment of Traumatic Events and Trauma-related Symptoms in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Emilie Transue, B.S., Current Pitt medical student research trainee who is completing her scholarly project with REAACT
- Xenia Borue, M.D., Ph.D., Former psychiatry fellow who is now in private practice at Full Spectrum Psychiatry
- Jessie Northrup, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology Post-doctoral Scholar; Completed her graduate training at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology
- Erin Whaite, B.S., Pitt medical student who completed a summer research fellowship with REAACT
- Holly Gastgeb, Ph.D., Former post-doctoral fellow who is now in private practice at Associates in Behavioral and Diagnostics and Treatment and continuing to conduct assessments on our research studies
- Taylor Day, Ph.D. Post-doctoral fellow; doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University
- Shivani Patel, B.S., Graduate of the undergraduate Neuroscience Program at the University of Pittsburgh
- Jordan Doman, University of Pennsylvania student who completed an Autism Science Foundation summer fellowship with REAACT
- Bianca Montelmont, B.S., Graduate from Lincoln University who completed a year-long research fellowship with REAACT through Intramural Pittsburgh Research Training Award Program for Students with Undergraduate Degrees in the Sciences from Diverse and Underrepresented Backgrounds
- Allie Hughes, M.S., Graduate of the Master’s program in applied developmental psychology at the University of Pittsburgh
- Jess Walton, B.S., California University of Pennsylvania student who completed an internship as an undergraduate with REAACT
- Julia Kao, M.D., Graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; completed a T-32 funded summer research fellowship with REAACT as well as her medical scholarly project
Dissertation and Thesis Advisees
- Conner, Caitlin (2008-2009; Senior Honors Thesis). Comorbidity and Family History of Psychiatric Disorders in Adolescents with High-functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome. University of Pittsburgh, Department of Psychology.
- Rump, Keiren (2008 – 2010; Dissertation). Affective experience in adolescents with autism: An EMA study. University of Pittsburgh, Department of Psychology. Glossner, Rick (2009 – 2011; Dissertation). Examination of the Relationship between the Child Behavior Checklist 6/16 and the Social Responsiveness Parent Forms on Individuals with High-functioning Autism. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Educational and School Psychology Department.
- Wilkinson, Desiree (2010; Comprehensive Exam). The development of autism in infancy: How does atypical social, communicative, and motor development contribute to the autism phenotype? University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology.
- Hannigen, Sarah (2012 – 2014; Dissertation). The production and perception of facial expressions by infants at high-risk for autism spectrum disorder. University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology. Lauren Bishop-Fitzpatrick (2013 – 2015; Dissertation). Social disability and social functioning in adults with autism: The role of biological stress response. University of Pittsburgh, Department of Social Work, Pittsburgh, PA.
- Patel, Shivani (2013-2014; Undergraduate Thesis). Anger rumination in ASD. University of Pittsburgh, Department of Neuroscience, Pittsburgh, PA. Indranath Jayasinghe (2015; Doctoral Thesis). Reactivity and attention to valenced non-social stimuli in typical development and autism. La Trobe University, Department of Neuropsychology, Australia.
- Northrup, Jessie (2016-present; Dissertation). Development of coordinated communication over the first year of life. University of Pittsburgh, Department of Psychology, Pittsburgh, PA. Paula Webster (2016-present; Dissertation). Delineating Autism Subtypes Based on Sensory Profiles and Neuronal Function. West Virginia University, Department of Neuroscience, Morgantown, WV.
Research is a team effort. It is impossible to acknowledge all of the investigators who collaborate in some way with REAACT lab projects and papers, but below are some of those who we have really made their mark on the REAACT lab, either through joint multi-site studies and data collection efforts, an exchange of expertise and collaboration on some of our favorite papers and projects, and ongoing efforts to launch new studies.
Collaborators at the University of Pittsburgh:
Paul Pilkonis, Ph.D. | Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Clinical and Translational Science
Lan Yu, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Medicine
Murat Akcakaya, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Safaa Eldeeb | Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Busra Susam | Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Additional University of Pittsburgh Collaborators:
- Shaun Eack, Ph.D.
- Ben Handen, Ph.D.
- Nancy Minshew, M.D.
- Joe Pierri, M.D.
- Greg Siegel, Ph.D.
- Judith Morgan, Ph.D.
- Jennifer Foss-Feig, Ph.D., Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
- Matthew Goodwin, Ph.D., Northeastern University
- Matthew Siegel, M.D., Maine Medical Center
- Susan White, Ph.D., University of Alabama
- Susan Perlman, Ph.D., University of Washington in St. Louis
- Lauren Bishop-Fitzpatrick, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Gabriel Dichter, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- John Herrington, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
- Janet Lainhart, M.D., Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Matthew Lerner, Ph.D., Stony Brook University
- Jamie McPartland, Ph.D., Yale University
- Larry Scahill, Ph.D., Emory University
- Diane Williams, Ph.D., Penn State University