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Principal Investigator

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

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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.

Staff Members

Headshot of Amy Dave, a woman with her hair in a ponytail stands outside and smiles at the camera. Amy Dave

Amy joined the Baby Steps team in the summer of 2022 as a research assistant after graduating with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a concentration in biomaterials and tissue engineering. During her undergrad, she worked with Dr. Wilkinson on the ISP2 project primarily hand-editing EEG data and performing data analysis in Python notebooks. In the Baby Steps project, she will assist in behavioral and electrophysiological studies of infants and toddlers with and without autism spectrum disorder. Amy aims to pursue an M.D. path with a focus on neurology and pediatrics. In her free time, Amy enjoys tumbling just to make sure she can still do a backflip.

 

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.

 

Headshot of Sophie Hurewitz, a woman with long curled brown hair smiles at the camera. Sophie Hurewitz

Sophie joined Dr. Wilkinson's lab and the Down Syndrome Program after graduating from Duke University in 2022 with a B.A. in Neuroscience, a minor in Global Health, and a certificate in Child Policy Research. She is especially interested in neurodevelopmental diagnoses and the impacts of social determinants of health in early childhood, ensuring equitable access to pediatric developmental and behavioral health services, and improving systems of support for caregivers and families. Sophie was a Co-PI on a recent study examining the barriers and facilitators to early childhood autism diagnoses among Black and Latinx children in North Carolina and was the first undergraduate trainee to participate in the North Carolina Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program. She is excited to continue pursuing her interests in clinical medicine, health policy, health services research, family advocacy, and child development at Boston Children's. In her free time, Sophie enjoys reading, discovering new restaurants, exploring farmers' markets, and practicing yoga.

 

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).

 

Maggie Norberg Maggie Norberg

Maggie joined Dr. Wilkinson’s and Dr. Nelson’s Baby Steps team after graduating from Tufts University in 2023 with majors in Biology and English. Throughout her undergraduate years, Maggie worked as a student research intern in Dr. Wilkinson’s lab on the Baby Steps and BRIDGE studies as well as on a project analyzing the natural language samples of patients with Down syndrome. Prior to joining the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience, she worked as a paraprofessional for students with severe and multiple disabilities, where she developed an interest in education and language-based clinical research. Maggie will be working with the Baby Steps team to use EEG in the Primary Care Clinic to better identify early biomarkers of developmental delay and ASD. In her free time, Maggie loves to ski, sail, hike, and play and teach cello and guitar. She hopes to pursue an M.D. track and ultimately enter pediatrics.

 

Meagan Tsou Meagan Tsou

Meagan joined Dr. Wilkinson’s lab in the fall of 2023 after receiving her B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University. As part of the BRIDGE team, she works with EEG and behavioral assessments to help better understand how children with and without neurodevelopmental disorders acquire language. Using her prior experiences in autism research and neuropsychiatric testing, and her now role at the Wilkinson Lab, she hopes to pursue a PhD program that allows her to continue working with children of all abilities and backgrounds. She is especially interested in studying differences in neurological development across varying access to and use of intervention services, and how these differences can inform policies to make both research and early intervention more accessible. In her free time Meagan loves to cook and bake, work on her art projects, and hang out with her dog, Pepper!

Graduate Students

Anna Stewart Anna Stewart

Anna earned a B.S. degree in communication disorders and psychology from Texas State University, gaining practical experience as a student clinician in a speech-language hearing clinic. During her undergraduate research, she collaborated on developing an app for pragmatic intervention in remote therapy settings for children with autism, addressing barriers in underserved communities. This app was piloted and validated for her honors thesis, supported by a research fellowship. Anna’s career goal is to become an academic clinician-scientist, combining clinical practice with research. She is pursuing a specialized track in the Speech Hearing Bioscience Technology doctoral program at Harvard Medical School where she will receive clinical certification in Speech-Language Pathology while continuing her bioscience training. In the Wilkinson Lab, Anna is involved in the BRIDGE study, developing natural language sampling protocols to understand language profiles and factors influencing language development in children with autism and Down syndrome.

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.

 

Haerin Chung, PhD Haerin Chung, PhD

Haerin received her PhD. from University of Chicago in 2022, where she was a member of the Infant Learning and Development Laboratory at the Center for Early Childhood Research. At UChicago, her graduate work in Amanda Woodward’s lab focused on the link between infants' experience and perception of actions. She investigated the neural correlates that underlie infants’ perception of actions that are associated with infants' experience using an integration of EEG and behavioral methods. Here at the LCN, Haerin seeks to explore the developmental changes in EEG measures, including the trajectory of functional connectivity, of those with, without, and at-risk for autism. Haerin is also interested in understanding how early indices of EEG are associated with different social-cognitive outcomes later in development.
 
Undergraduate Students
  • Maggie Norberg (Tufts '23)
  • Asher Liu (Tufts '23)
Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Kristy Johnson
  • Cailtin Clements
  • Lisa Yankowitz

Undergraduates

  • Fleming Peck
  • Joshua Glauser
  • Jonathan Fitzgerald
  • Elizabeth Saoud
  • Krisha Patel (Harvard '25)
  • Melanie Munoz (Harvard '25)
  • Christina Pham (Harvard ’23)

Staff

  • Megan Hartney
  • Celia Constantino