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Meet Our Team

Principal Investigator

Carol Wilkinson, MD, PhD Carol Wilkinson, MD, PhD

Email / ResearchGate / Google Scholar / Twitter

Carol L. Wilkinson is a physician-scientist in the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She earned her MD, PhD, and completed her pediatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco. At UCSF, her graduate work in Steven Finkbeiner’s lab focused on molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. She completed her clinical fellowship in developmental behavioral pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2017, and continued her postdoctoral training with Charles Nelson in the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience. As a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician in the Autism Spectrum Center and Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children’s, she cares for children with a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders and challenges. Through her research and clinical work, her goal is to help children maximize their potential in all aspects of their life.

 

Research Assistants and Coordinators

Celia Constantino Celia Constantino

Celia joined the Baby Steps team after graduating from Tulane University in 2021 with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Spanish. She is especially interested in neuroplasticity in early childhood and in creating paths toward equitable access to preventative healthcare services for marginalized communities. Following her experiences studying health disparities in the Americas and providing support to children and families in crisis, Celia hopes to focus her career on protecting the health and rights of migrant families. She is thrilled to be a part of the Wilkinson and Nelson Labs and to contribute to research aimed at strengthening the integration of mental healthcare in the primary care setting throughout childhood.

 

Brianna Francis Brianna Francis

Brianna joined Dr. Wilkinson and Dr. Nelson’s lab in the fall of 2021 as a Research Coordinator for the Baby Steps project, which uses EEG to predict ASD and other developmental outcomes in the first year of life. She received her BS in Neuroscience at Quinnipiac University in 2016 and her MA in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University in 2020. After receiving her BS, Brianna worked at the Yale Child Study Center on multiple projects examining the neural mechanisms of pregnancy and parenting with a substance using population. Brianna is thrilled to be part of the Baby Steps team and to contribute to the field of ASD research. Outside of the lab, Brianna loves reading, hiking, and hanging out with her cat.

 

McKena Geiger, a blonde woman with her hair in a ponytail smiles at the camera for her headshot. McKena Geiger

McKena joined Dr. Wilkinson’s lab in the summer of 2021 as Clinical Research Assistant II. In 2019 she received a B.S. in Psychology with minors in Chemistry and Zoology from North Dakota State University. That year, she joined the lab of Dr. Emily Kappenman at San Diego State University, examining the interactions between attention and emotion using ERP techniques. Currently, McKena works on Dr. Wilkinson’s BRIDGE and FRAXA studies, using EEG and behavioral assessments to help answer questions related to language acquisition in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Having a long-standing interest in computational methodology, she hopes to one day contribute to our understanding of the developing brain as a Computational Cognitive Neurosciencentist. In her free time, McKena enjoys playing piano and eating food prepared by someone else.

 

Megan Hartney Megan Hartney

Megan joined Dr. Wilkinson and Dr. Nelson’s lab in early 2020 as Clinical Research Assistant II. She graduated from Williams College in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology. As a research assistant, she works on the Infant Screening Project, JASPER Intervention studies, and Dr. Wilkinson’s BRIDGE and FRAXA studies. She is interested in working with children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders and hopes to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy. In her free time, Megan enjoys accumulating supplies for niche craft hobbies that she will deep dive into for months and then never touch again.

 

Alex Job Said Alex Job Said

Alex was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He received his B.Sc in Neuroscience from The George Washington University in 2021. During his undergraduate years, Alex worked as the lab manager of the Lab of Autism and Developmental Neuroscience, focusing on several brain and behavioral-based characteristics of ASD and BAP. More recently, Alex expanded his work into potential links between white matter lesions, autistic traits, and aging. Alex is excited to continue to develop his research knowledge and experience within the field of ASD, here in the Wilkinson and Nelson Labs. He is particularly interested in understanding early brain-based autistic traits through the use of imaging tools and analysis. For the long-term, Alex aims to pursue a M.D. path, and continue to focus on ASD. Outside of research, Alex loves horseback riding, soccer and hiking. He is also decent at cooking, excelling only in Brazilian “churrasco” (BBQ).

Postdoctoral and Clinical Fellows

Wenkang 'Winko' An, PhD Wenkang 'Winko' An, PhD
 

I received my Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2021, under the supervision of Prof. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham. My dissertation work sought to study the neural representation of human auditory attention. Specifically, I decoded attentional control from multimodal neuroimaging measures (EEG and fMRI) and fused the information in these modalities through a representational similarity analysis framework. In addition, I designed multiple auditory brain-computer interface paradigms, in which I decoded attention from single-trial EEG signals using machine learning. I joined the Nelson and Wilkinson Labs in 2021 as a Rosamund Stone Zander Translational Neuroscience Center Postdoctoral Fellow. My goals here are to understand the neural mechanism underlying impaired abilities in patients with a rare genetic condition, and build computational models that can reliably predict autism and developmental outcomes from EEG.

 

Caitlin Clements, PhD Caitlin Clements, PhD
 

Caitlin completed her bachelor’s degree at Yale and her PhD in clinical psychology (child track) at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a Fulbright grant as a visiting doctoral student at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and did her clinical internship at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Caitlin has interests in the development of reward processing, autism spectrum disorder, and rare genetic disorders, and uses a variety of methods including EEG. She is currently a fellow in the T32 Translational Post-doctoral Training in Neurodevelopment program. She also conducts research in the Nelson lab, and is a clinician in the Faja Lab on the IDEA and ABC-CT studies.

 

Lisa Yankowitz, PhD Lisa Yankowitz, PhD
 

I received my PhD in Psychology with Clinical Training from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020, working under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Schultz. My doctoral research had two arms. In the first, I investigated structural brain differences associated with autism, and applied newly-developed methods to examine the nature of structural differences. The second arm of my research examined infant vocalizations (e.g., crying, babbling, laughing) in infants at high risk for autism. I identified features of vocalizations which differ in the first year of life in autism, and associated these with functional connectivity (as measured by fMRI). I completed my predoctoral clinical internship at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. I was thrilled to join the LCN in 2020 as a Clinical-Research Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. Here, I work in the Wilkinson and Nelson labs, and am interested in identifying early predictors of autism using EEG and behavioral measures.

 


Undergraduate students
  • Amy Dave
  • Elizabeth Saoud
Alumni

Students

  • Fleming Peck
  • Joshua Glauser
  • Jonathan Fitzgerald