Dr. Jane Roberts
Principal Investigator of the USC Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab
Dr. Jane Roberts joined the faculty at USC in 2008. She is a school psychologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998 and spent 10 years at UNC as a research investigator and scientist at the FPG Child Development Institute. Her work focuses on understanding the biological mechanisms that underlie cognitive and behavioral functioning in children and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, fragile X syndrome, and ADHD.
Dr. Roberts' current research focuses on:
- Early detection of autism in high risk populations: autism and fragile X syndrome
- Genetic and psychosocial contributions to mood and anxiety disorders in women with the FMR1 premutation
- Hyperarousal and stress in young children with neurodevelopmental disorders
Dr. Roberts is married, has three children, and enjoys reading and playing tennis in her spare time.
Abigail Hogan, PhD
Associate Director, Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab
Research Assistant Professor, Psychology
Dr. Abigail Hogan is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Associate Director of the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab. Dr. Hogan completed her PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University in 2016. Her doctoral research investigated the relation of physiological arousal and visual processing to social communication in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their siblings. After obtaining her PhD, Dr. Hogan joined the NDD lab for a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Jane Roberts , which she completed in 2018. Dr. Hogan’s postdoctoral research program focused on identifying the early biobehavioral predictors of anxiety in infants who are at risk for ASD, such as infant siblings of children with ASD and infants with fragile X syndrome.
Dr. Hogan’s ongoing research aims to characterize the predictors of social-emotional functioning in siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is estimated that 30-40% of siblings of children with ASD, even those not later diagnosed with ASD themselves, are at risk for a variety of social-emotional challenges throughout their lives, including early developmental delay, language disorders, anxiety, and poorer social functioning. Thus, Dr. Hogan’s research program addresses three primary research questions:
- What social-emotional challenges do siblings of children with ASD experience in early childhood?
- What risk factors contribute to these challenges and differences?
- How can we identify those siblings who are at highest risk for poor social-emotional outcomes early in life, ideally in infancy, so that targeted interventions may be delivered during critical developmental periods?
Her work utilizes multiple methods, including eye tracking, heart activity measurement, electroencephalogram (EEG), and behavioral phenotyping.
Dr. Kimberly J. Hills is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina. She serves as a trainer and mentor in the NDD Lab and provides clinical training in ASD assessment skills to clinicians across the state of South Carolina. Learn more.
Dr. Jessica Klusek is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, within USC’s Arnold School of Public Health. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the NDD Lab and is currently a collaborator on several of our NIH grants. Learn more.
Dr. Jessica Bradshaw is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina. She is a co-investigator with Dr. Roberts on a supplemental grant to study the early indicators of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants and preschoolers with Down syndrome. Learn more.
Dr. John E. Richards is currently the principal investigator on a research grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that focuses on the development of sustained attention in infants ranging in ages from two to six months. Dr. Richards is a co-investigator with Dr. Roberts on a grant to study attention and face processing in infants and preschoolers with neurodevelopmental disorders. Most participants in our NDD lab studies also participate in an EEG study with Dr. Richards. Learn more.
Dr. James McPartland is an associate professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center. As a consultant on one of our NIH grants, he provides expertise on the development, implementation, and interpretation of electrophysiological indicators of social perception in children with Fragile X Syndrome, FMR1 premutation, typical controls, and high risk children who have siblings with autism. Learn more.
Dr. Fredrick Shic is an associate professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Pediatrics. He is a Co-Investigator on one of our NIH grants that utilizes eye tracking to study attention and social development. . Dr. Shic’s current research interests include applications of eye-tracking and functional near infrared spectroscopy to the study of the social and cognitive development in infants, toddler, and children with autism and other development disorders, and the development of new technologies and methodologies for enriching both our understanding of neuropsychiatric conditions and the lives of affected children and their families. Learn more.
Dr. Bridgette Tonnsen is an assistant professor of Psychological Science at Purdue University’s Department of Psychological Science. As a consultant on one of our NIH grants, Dr. Tonnsen uses her expertise to lead the heart activity data and assists with the integration and collection of eye-tracking data. Learn more.
Dr. Leonard Abbeduto is a nationally recognized researcher and a leader in improving the lives of children and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities. He is the director of the UC Davis MIND Institute and the holder of the Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine. Learn more.
Dr. Alice Carter is a professor in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. As a consultant on one of our NIH grants, Dr. Carter shares her expertise on the identification of infants and toddlers at risk for problems in social, behavioral, and emotional functioning and understanding the role of family functioning in the developmental course of children at genetic risk for or exhibiting clinical disorders. Learn more.