Lab Members

Meet the Lab

Northwestern University

Front: Sarah Elkins, Sejal Shah, Abby Issarraras, Christine Rothermel, Molly Losh, Julia Delguidice, Jenna Van Duyune
Back: Brynn Thomas, Nell Maltman, Jamie Barstein, Christie Stiehl, Kritika Nayar, Michelle Lee, Lauren Bush, Abby Hogan-Brown, Daniel Hamburger, Laura Henry, Sarah Brown

On ipad: Stephanie Crawford, Anne Taylor, Gary Martin

Principal Investigator

Molly Losh, Ph.D.
Jane and Michael Hoffman Associate Professor
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL 60208
Lab Phone: 1-877-275-7187
Frances Searle Building, Rm 2-366
Molly Losh’s research focuses on autism and related neurogenetic disorders. Specifically, her studies adopt clinical-behavioral and family-genetic methods and designs to characterize patterns of language strengths and weaknesses that define particular developmental disabilities, and examine ties to neuropsychological and genetic underpinnings.

Graduate Students

Abby Hogan-Brown, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517;

Abigail Hogan-Brown is a Ph.D. student in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and has been a member of the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Lab since starting the program in 2010. Abby earned her B.S. in Psychology from West Virginia University, and worked for several years as a behavior therapist and then a research assistant before beginning her doctoral program at Northwestern. She is interested in language and social cognition in individuals with autism and their siblings. Her current research focuses on defining specific quantitative phenotypes, such as rapid automatized naming abilities, which can be used in future genetic studies of autism. When she isn’t busy being a graduate student, Abby loves knitting, reading, and taking her dogs to the beach.

Michelle Lee, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517;

Michelle is a PhD Student in the Clinical Psychology department at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Psychology and English, and has several years of experience working with children with disabilities. She is interested in the relationship between language and social cognition and how this relationship can inform our understanding of autism. When she isn’t in the lab, Michelle loves reading, running and exploring Chicago.

Nell Maltman, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517;

Nell is a PhD student in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.S. in Psychology and has worked with families affected by autism since 2006. Her research interests include understanding the genetic basis of autism spectrum disorders and how broader phenotypic characteristics, such as language qualities, might provide clues to solving this mystery. In her free time, Nell enjoys running with her dog Stella, cooking, and improv comedy.

Jamie Barstein, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517;

Jamie is a PhD Student in the Clinical Psychology department at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in education. Jamie has been working with individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities since a young age, through her previous roles as an Applied Behavior Analyst, peer mentor, and clinical research coordinator. Jamie is interested in identifying genetic and phenotypic links amongst ASD and Fragile X Syndrome by examining language, neurobiological, and behavioral aspects of such disorders. Outside of school and lab, Jamie loves to try new restaurants and recipes, and to run outside!

Kritika Nayar, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517;

Kritika is a PhD Student in the Clinical Psychology department at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She graduated with a B.S. in Neural Science and Environmental Studies and a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies from NYU. Kritika has been working with children with autism, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental disabilities since high school, and more extensively as a project coordinator at the NYU Child Study Center for three years after graduation. Kritika is interested in the neuropsychological profiles (e.g., the relationship between visual processing, weak central coherence, and language) of autism and related disorders and their potential neurocognitive markers of genetic liability to ASD. In her spare time, Kritika loves nerdy science activities, to dance, meditate, and explore the city’s restaurants.

Lauren Bush, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517;

Lauren is a Ph.D. Student in the Clinical Psychology department at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Lauren has been working with children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities for many years. Prior to joining the NDL, Lauren worked as clinical research coordinator at the Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai in New York City. Lauren is curious to learn more about the overlapping phenotypes seen across a range of developmental disabilities. In particular, she is interested in studying atypical language and behavior patterns and their relationship to the genetic basis of autism. When she isn’t in school or lab, Lauren loves running, practicing yoga and spending time with her friends and family!

Research Staff

Christine Rothermel
Contact: (847) 467-4054;

Christine is the senior research project coordinator in the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Laboratory and oversees the NIH-funded projects in the lab.  She is a  speech-language pathologist who completed her M.S. degree in communication sciences and disorders at Purdue University, where she spent two years working with children and families in neuro-biological research. Through her clinical work as a speech-language pathologist, she worked directly with children with ASD and became interested in language development in children with autism. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, spending time outdoors, and playing with her dog Riley.

Stephanie Crawford
Contact: (847) 467-2504;

Stephanie graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences. In addition to working in the lab, Stephanie provides services to facilitate the integration and inclusion of children affected by developmental disabilities into mainstream recreational programs and works closely with children affected by Autism as a volunteer at H.A.V.E Dreams. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys trying new restaurants, reading, and running outside.

Chelsea La Valle
Contact: (847) 467-2516;

Chelsea La Valle graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Psychology with a Human Services Concentration and minors in Sociology and American Sign Language. La Valle has previous experience implementing Applied Behavioral Analysis and DIR/Floortime, while working at specialized schools for individuals with autism. La Valle’s research interests includes the investigation of serial naming performance and phonological processing in individuals with autism and their familial members with the examination of cultural discrepancies in rapid automatized naming abilities. In her free time, La Valle enjoys volunteering at Special Olympics events and American Sign Language events in the community.

Christie Stiehl, BCaBA
Contact: (847) 467-2518;

Christie joined the NDL in January 2013 as a Project Coordinator. She earned her BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Northwestern University and is a Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst. In addition to coordinating the NDL, she provides developmental and behavioral therapy to children with social, developmental, and behavioral difficulties. Her main research interest involves the influence of gender on the manifestation of autism symptoms and the most effective approaches to identifying and treating girls and women with developmental deficits. On her free time, Christie enjoys participating in book club, exploring Chicago, and attending events on the Northwestern campus.

Anne Taylor
Contact: (847) 467-2516;

Anne is a Project Coordinator who works remotely for the lab from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has worked with Dr. Losh since 2009 and has over 10 years of experience working on nationally funded research projects examining various aspects of language and cognitive development, including language in fragile X syndrome and autism. Anne enjoys spending free time with her husband, three children, and the rest of her family and friends.

Brynn Thomas
Contact: (847) 467-2512;

Brynn is interested in working with children with autism through Applied Behavioral Analysis. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a B.A. in Psychology and hopes to become a board certified behavior analyst.

Undergraduate Students

Julia Delguidice, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julia is a junior at Northwestern University pursuing a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a minor in Psychology. She transcribes language samples from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). She hopes to attend graduate school for Speech Pathology and possibly pursue a Ph.D.. Julia loves working with people with disabilities; aside from working in the NDL, she coaches a Special Olympics team and volunteers in the Learning Clinic in Francis Searle.

Sarah Elkins, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sarah is a senior majoring in Linguistics with a minor in CSD. She became interested in autism research after she spent a summer working with an early intervention program for toddlers with autism, and she hopes to become a Speech-Language Pathologist after she graduates.

Kara Ferracuti, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Kara is a sophomore majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Spanish, with plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician. Her interest in helping individuals affected by autism was developed primarily through her involvement as a piano teacher for the Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education (AMASE), a student organization at Northwestern that provides music education to children on the spectrum. She is currently examining gaze patterns, as well as how other clinical and genetic variables relate to these patterns, as a way to characterize the overlap between autism spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome. Kara loves playing music, volunteering, traveling, and reading the classics.

Daniel Hamburger, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Daniel is junior majoring in Biological Anthropology with a concentration in Human Biology. He became interested in autism research after spending his summer working with children with autism and their families. He is currently working with NDL on projects examining gaze patterns as a predictor of language use in individuals with autism. His interests include ultimate frisbee and weight training.

Laura Henry, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Laura is a junior majoring in Psychology and CSD. She has previously worked in a lab researching cognitive development in infants and is interested in studying the development of autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. She plans to apply to graduate programs in psychology in the future.

Taran Lichtenberger, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Taran is majoring in Biology and Psychology. In the lab she is working on life history transcription. Taran is interested in the genetics behind autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. In the future she plans on going to graduate school and pursuing a career in research.

Walker McKinney, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Walker is an undergraduate student at Northwestern pursuing a dual degree in Psychology and CSD. In the lab, Walker works with eye tracking data. He is also involved with a cappella, theatre musical direction, and greek life on campus. He intends to pursue graduate work that will allow him to work with individuals with special needs.

Sejal Shah, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sejal is a CSD major and is a pre-med student. She is an active member of Autism Speaks U on campus and is interested in the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Lindsay Thompson, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Lindsay is a junior at Northwestern pursuing a dual degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Violin Performance. Lindsay’s interest in autism stems from her volunteer work with the Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education (AMASE), where she has worked closely teaching children with autism how to play violin. In the lab, Lindsay is working on transcription and perseveration coding. Lindsay plans on applying to graduate programs for Speech Language Pathology.

Lab Alumni


Kyle Frost
Bret Kravis
Cummings Rork
Deanna Hano
Joanne Yi
Emily Orell
Sandra Maerzacker
Bethany DeLong
Catherine Wu
Jenna Lebersfeld
Natalie Friend
Neelima Agrawal
Holly Romaniak
Bethany DeLong

Graduate Students & Postdoctoral Fellows

Jessica Klusek, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Jane Hornickel Ph.D.


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