Lab Members

Meet the Lab

Northwestern University

Front: Stephanie Crawford, Kritika Nayar, Jamie Barstein, Lauren Bush

Back: Daniel Hamburger, Nell Maltman, Molly Losh, Anne Taylor, Michelle Lee, Shivani Patel, Chelsea La Valle

Principal Investigator

Molly Losh, Ph.D.
Jane and Michael Hoffman Associate Professor
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL 60208
m-losh@northwestern.edu
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

Michelle Lee, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517; michellelee@u.northwestern.edu

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; alexismaltman2017@u.northwestern.edu

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.barstein@u.northwestern.edu

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; kritikanayar2014@u.northwestern.edu

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; laurenbush2019@u.northwestern.edu

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!

Shivani Patel, Ph.D. Student
Contact: (847) 467-2517; ShivaniPatel2020@u.northwestern.edu

Shivani is a PhD student in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Linguistics and Psychology. Shivani worked with children with autism and infants at increased genetic risk of autism throughout her undergraduate career. Her research interests primarily focus on the use of developmental profiling of language ability in populations with autism as a way to enhance assessment and treatment methods. Outside of her work in the lab, Shivani enjoys baking, dancing, and spending time outdoors.

Research Staff

Stephanie Crawford
Contact: (847) 467-2504; stephanie.crawford@northwestern.edu

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.lavalle@northwestern.edu

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.

Daniel Hamburger
Contact: (847) 467-4054; DanielHamburger@u.northwestern.edu

Daniel Hamburger graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Human Communication Sciences. He is currently working with NDL on projects examining gaze patterns as a predictor of language use in individuals with autism and their parents. In addition to his work in the lab, Daniel volunteers with Camp Kesem, a camp specializing in children of adults diagnosed with cancer. In his free time, he enjoys ultimate frisbee and traveling.

Anne Taylor
Contact: (847) 467-2516; Anne.Taylor@northwestern.edu

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.

Undergraduate Students

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.

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.

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.

Karishma Panchal, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Karishma is a senior at Northwestern majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. In the lab, she is working on Life History transcription and hopes to learn more about the genetic and biological basis of autism. In her free time, Karishma loves to shop, spend time in downtown Chicago, and listen to music.

Abby Issarraras, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Abby is an undergraduate student at Northwestern University majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Psychology. In the NDL, Abby works primarily on life history transcriptions and perseveration coding. On campus, she’s also involved with the Quest Scholars Network and is a co-chair of Education on the Northwestern to Benefit Special Olympics Executive Board. When not busy with school or work, she enjoys baking cake pops, thrift shopping, and reading about space.

Natalie Dulin, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Natalie is undergraduate student studying Human Development and Psychological Services. Her interest in ASD research stems from her experience interning at the Pediatric Developmental Center, where she assisted in early intervention for autism. In the lab, Natalie works on ADOS transcription. Outside the lab, some of her interests include biking and spoken word poetry. Natalie plans to attend graduate school to become a clinical child psychologist.

Alex Marshall, Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am an undergraduate student with a double major in neuroscience and anthropology. I am working on transcribing ADOS recordings and doing various administrative tasks. I play on the club tennis team and part of other various clubs on campus. I intend to attend medical school to be a neurologist or psychiatrist.

Nancy Dunbar, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Nancy is a senior at Northwestern majoring in Psychology and minoring in CSD. She is also a member of the varsity lacrosse team. In the lab, she is working on perseveration coding and a new pilot study on the gastrointestinal functioning in family members of individuals with autism. She intends to pursue graduate work in clinical psychology with a focus on autism spectrum disorders.

Lab Alumni

Undergraduates

Kyle Frost
Sarah Elkins
Sejal Shah
Natalie Kim
Jenna Van Duyune
Laura Henry
Taran Lichtenberger
Sarah Brown
Julia Delguidice
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.
Abigail-Hogan Brown, Ph.D.

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