People

Lab Director

Inge-Marie Eigsti, Ph.D.

inge-marie.eigsti@uconn.edu

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Lab Manager

Brittany Mills headshot

Brittany Mills

brittany.mills@uconn.edu

Brittany Mills is a Lab Manager working on the ASD Long Term Outcomes Study (ALTOS).  Previously, she served as an Assistant Project Manager at the Massachusetts General Hospital Stroke Research Center.  Her research interests include early markers of ASD, as well as neural correlates of social and behavioral outcomes across the lifespan, particularly in those with optimal outcomes.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Melina West Rogers

Melina West Rogers

melina.west_rogers@uconn.edu

Melina West is a postdoctoral research associate working on the ASD Long Term Outcomes Study (ALTOS). She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland, Australia, investigating emotion processing and language learning in relation to autism traits. Her research interests include social and emotional functioning of individuals with developmental conditions such as ASD and those with optimal outcomes. She also studies a condition known as maladaptive daydreaming, and is interested in the role of immersive mental experiences in mental health.

Graduate Students

Elisa Taverna photo

Elise Taverna (2018)

elise.taverna@uconn.edu

Elise Taverna is a graduate student in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests broadly include the cognitive and environmental factors underlying language and social outcomes in individuals with autism spectrum disorders, as well as mechanisms of optimal outcomes in ASD. Previously, she worked with Sophie Molholm at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, coordinating neuroimaging studies of sensory processing and cognition in autism spectrum disorders and other conditions.


Jason Crutcher

Jason Crutcher (2018)

jason.crutcher@uconn.edu

Jason Crutcher is a graduate student in clinical psychology. Before coming to UConn for graduate school, he worked with Dr. Alex Martin at NIMH researching how structural differences in the brain relate to abnormalities in language and social cognition for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. His research interests broadly include language dysfunction in developmental disorders such as ASD. He is particularly interested in neural mechanisms underlying pragmatic language abilities for people with optimal outcomes from ASD.


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Mackenzie Stabile (2017)

mackenzie.stabile@uconn.edu

Mackenzie Stabile is a graduate student in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include the interaction between cognitive processes such as cognitive control and language in autism spectrum disorders, learning, and mechanisms of change in individuals with optimal outcomes from autism spectrum disorders.


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Karla Rivera Figueroa (2016)

karla.rivera_figueroa@uconn.edu


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Anders Hogstrom (2014)

anders.hogstrom@uconn.edu

Anders Hogstrom is a graduate student in Clinical Psychology. He came from Howard Nusbaum’s laboratory at the University of Chicago. He is interested in the interaction between language and broader cognitive processes, such as attention, in autism spectrum disorders. His MA thesis concerned the influence of top-down expectations on speech processing in ASD. A pianist, he is also part of a collaborative project with Ed Large, to study musical expertise in ASD.


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Joshua Green (2013)

joshua.2.green@uconn.edu

Joshua Green is a graduate student in the Department of Clinical Psychology.  His research interests center broadly on language and autism. He is particularly interested in how the processing and learning of speech prosody is altered by social bonding as well as how it interacts with social discourse and the development of interpersonal functioning. Currently on internship in Maine, Josh was a fellow in the IGERT Program: Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program: Language Plasticity- Genes, Brain, Cognition, and Computation.

Green, J. J., & Hollander, E. (2010). Autism and oxytocin: new developments in translational approaches to therapeutics. Neurotherapeutics, 7(3).

Eigsti, I. M., Irvine, C., & Green, J. (in press). Language in autism spectrum disorders: A poorly-oiled machine. In S. Durrleman & H. Delage (Eds.), Langage et cognition dans l’autisme : Recueil de contributions scientifiques à destination des cliniciens. Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium: de boeck/Oxford University Press.

Lab Alumni

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Brian Castelluccio (2012)

brian.castelluccio@uconn.edu

Current Position: Post-doctoral Fellow, Brown University

Brian is investigating the neural and cognitive bases of atypical language development in individuals with autism spectrum disorders using fMRI. Brian is also broadly interested in the intersection of complex trait genetics and cognitive science. A fellow in UConn’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, Language Plasticity: Genes, Brain, Cognition, and Computation, Brian enjoys cross-disciplinary collaborations that approach complex questions in nontraditional ways.

Castelluccio, B., Myers, E. B., Schuh, J. M., & Eigsti, I. M. (2015). Neural substrates of processing anger in language: Contributions of prosody and semantics. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.

Castelluccio, B. C., Meda, S. A., Muska, C. E., Stevens, M. C., & Pearlson, G. D. (2014). Error processing in current and former cocaine users. Brain Imaging Behav, 8, 87-96.

Rendall, A. R., Truong, D. T., Castelluccio, B. C., Eigsti, I. M., & Fitch, R. H. (2015). Language deficits in autism and assessment of the Cntnap2 mouse. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 47, 93. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2015.04.253.

Truong, D. T., Rendall, A. R., Castelluccio, B. C., Eigsti, I. M., & Fitch, R. H. (2015). Auditory processing and morphological anomalies in medial geniculate nucleus of Cntnap2 mutant mice. Behavioral Neuroscience, 26.


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Allison Canfield (2012)

allison.canfield@uconn.edu

Current Position: Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Rochester

Now a post-doctoral fellow in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Rochester, Allison’s research interests include language, gesture, and audiovisual integration in typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorders.

Canfield, A. R., Eigsti, I. M., de Marchena, A., & Fein, D. (2016). Story goodness in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and in optimal outcomes from ASD. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 59, 533–545. doi:doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-002.

Suh, J., Eigsti, I. M., Canfield, A., Irvine, C., Naigles, L., & Fein, D. A. (2016). Language representation and language use in children with optimal outcomes from autism spectrum disorder. In L. Naigles (Ed.), Innovative Investigations of Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder (pp. 225-244). Berlin, Germany: APA/Walter de Gruyter.

Silverman, L. B., & Canfield, A. R. (2013). Auditory verbal learning. In F. Volkmar (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Springer Publishing.


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Christina Irvine (2010)

christina.irvine@uconn.edu

Christy is currently on internship at the Newington VA. Her research focuses on the intersection of language and social cognition in typical and atypical development. Her current research explores the social-pragmatic aspects of speech disfluency, the relationship between language and theory of mind, and embodied cognition in children with autism spectrum disorders. More broadly, Christy is interested in the development of social and interpersonal functioning across the lifespan.

Eigsti, I. M., & Irvine, C. (under review). Inner speech, language, and theory of mind in highly-verbal adolescents with autism.

Eigsti, I. M., Irvine, C., & Green, J. (in press). Language in autism spectrum disorders: A poorly-oiled machine. In S. Durrleman & H. Delage (Eds.), Langage et cognition dans l’autisme : Recueil de contributions scientifiques à destination des cliniciens. Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium: de boeck/Oxford University Press.

Irvine, C. A., Eigsti, I. M., & Fein, D. A. (2016). Uh, Um, and autism: Filler disfluencies as pragmatic markers in adolescents with optimal outcomes from autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46, 1061-70.

Suh, J., Eigsti, I. M., Canfield, A., Irvine, C., Naigles, L., & Fein, D. A. (in press). Language representation and language use in children with optimal outcomes from autism spectrum disorder. In L. Naigles (Ed.), Innovative Investigations of Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Berlin, Germany: APA/Walter de Gruyter.


jessica Mayo headshot

Jessica Mayo (2008)

jessica.mayo@uconn.edu

Current position: Assistant Clinical Professor,  Yale School of Medicine, Yale Child Study Center.

Research interests center on the biological, cognitive, and social factors that influence language development. In addition to focusing on language development among children who are biologically at risk (e.g. children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, children with epilepsy), Jessie is also interested in the social and emotional factors that are required for typical development.

Eigsti, I. M., & Mayo, J. (2011). Implicit learning in ASD. In D. Fein (Ed.), Neuropsychology of Autism (pp. 267-80). New York: Oxford University Press.

Mayo, J., Chlebowski, C., Fein, D. A., & Eigsti, I.-M. (2013). Age of first words predicts cognitive ability and adaptive skills in children with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 253-64.

Mayo, J., Chlebowski, C., Fein, D. A., & Eigsti, I. M. (2013). Age of first words predicts cognitive ability and adaptive skills in children with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 253-64. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1558-0.

Mayo, J., & Eigsti, I. M. (2012). A comparison of statistical learning in school-aged children with high functioning autism and typically developing peers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 2476-85.


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Jessica Bean Jaworski (2007)

jessica.bean@uconn.edu

Current Position: Staff Neuropsychologist, Baystate Medical Center

Jessica’s research focuses on the development of joint attention in children with autism spectrum disorders, and its influence in adolescence.

Jaworski, J. L., & Eigsti, I. M. (2015). Low-level visual attention and its relation to joint attention in autism spectrum disorder. Child Neuropsychol, 15, 1-16.

Bean, J.L., & Eigsti, I.M. (2012). Assessment of joint attention in school-age children and adolescents. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6, 1304-1310. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2012.04.003


ashley demarchena

Ashley de Marchena (2006)

demarchenaa@email.chop.edu

Current position: Assistant Professor,  University of the Sciences, Philadelphia.

Her primary interests are language, learning, and gesture, and how these distinct capacities are related to brain development.

de Marchena, A., & Eigsti, I. M. (2015). The art of common ground: Emergence of a complex pragmatic language skill in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Child Language. doi:10.1017/S0304000915000070

de Marchena, A., & Eigsti, I. M. (in press). Gesture in social vs. non-social contexts: The varied functions of co-speech gesture are highlighted in autism spectrum disorder. Gesture.

de Marchena, A., Eigsti, I. M., & Yerys, B. E. (in press). Brief Report: Generalization weaknesses in verbally fluent children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

de Marchena, A., & Eigsti, I. M. (2010). Conversational gestures in autism spectrum disorders: Asynchrony but not decreased frequency. Autism Research, 3, 311-322. doi: 10.1002/aur.159

de Marchena, A., Eigsti, I. M., Worek, A., Ono, K.E., & Snedeker, J. (2011). Mutual exclusivity in autism spectrum disorders: Testing the pragmatic hypothesis. Cognition, 119, 96-113. doi: 10.1002/aur.159

Eigsti, I. M., de Marchena, A.B., Schuh, J.M., & Kelley, E. (2011). Language acquisition in autism spectrum disorders: A developmental review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5, 681-691.

Eigsti, I. M., Weitzman, C., Schuh, J.M., de Marchena, Ashley, & Casey, B.J. (2011). Language and cognitive outcomes in internationally adopted children. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 629-646. doi: 10.1017/S0954579411000204


Jillian Schuh

Current position: Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Catalpa Health; Assistant Adjunct Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Neurology, Division of Neuropsychology

Castelluccio, B., Myers, E. B., Schuh, J. M., & Eigsti, I. M. (2015). Neural substrates of processing anger in language: Contributions of prosody and semantics. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.

Eigsti, I. M., de Marchena, A. B., Schuh, J. M., & Kelley, E. (2011). Language acquisition in autism spectrum disorders: A developmental review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5, 681-91.

Eigsti, I. M., & Schuh, J. M. (2008). Neurobiological underpinnings of language in autism spectrum disorders. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 28, 128-49.

Eigsti, I. M., & Schuh, J. M. (in press). Language acquisition in autism spectrum disorders: Beyond standardized language measures. In L. Naigles (Ed.), Innovative Investigations of Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Berlin, Germany: APA/Walter de Gruyter.

Eigsti, I. M., Schuh, J. M., Mencl, E., Schultz, R. T., & Paul, R. (2012). The neural underpinnings of prosody in autism. Child Neuropsychology, 18, 600-17.

Schuh, J. M., & Eigsti, I. M. (2012). Working memory, language skills, and autism symptomatology. Behavioral Sciences, 2, 207-18.

Schuh, J. M., Eigsti, I. M., & Mirman, D. (in press). Referential communication in autism spectrum disorder: The roles of working memory and theory of mind. Autism Research.

International Visitors

irina polyanskaya

Irina Polyanskaya

Roskild University, Denmark

Irina’s thesis examines second-order false beliefs and recursive complement development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Polyanskaya, Irina, Braüner, Torben, Blackburn, Patrick. 2018. Proceedings of the 42nd annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Massachusetts, USA : Cascadilla Press.


Cecilia Brynskov

Cecilia Brynskov

Aarhus University, Denmark

Cecilia’s Ph.D. thesis examined structural language  in Danish children with ASD, at Aarhus University, Denmark. She is currently on the faculty at Aarhus.

Brynskov, C., & Eigsti, I. M. (2010). Det tidlige sprog hos børn med autisme – en udviklingsmæssigt afgørende faktor [The critical influence of early language abilities in autism on longterm outcomes]. Psyke &  Logos, 31, 443-60.

Brynskov, C., Eigsti, I. M., Jørgensen, M., Lemcke, S., Bohn, O.-S., & Krøjgaard, P. (in press). Syntax and morphology in Danish-speaking children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Brynskov, C., Krøjgaard, P., & Eigsti, I. M. (2015). Language and communication in children with autism: A critical look at three assumptions and their clinical implications. Nordic Psychology.


Katherine Mumford

University of Birmingham (U.K.)

Katherine is a Ph.D. student in the  Department of Cognitive Development at the University of Birmingham; she works with Sotaro Kita, studying the relationship between language, cognition and action.

Mumford, K. H., & Kita, S. (2014). Children use gesture to interpret novel verb meanings. Child Dev, 85(3), 1181-1189. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12188


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Marthe Høppener

Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen

Marthe is a Ph.D. student at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. She is interested in peer interactions among children with autism spectrum disorders, among other things.

Undergraduate Lab Members

DCNlab2019

DCN Lab Members (2019)

DCNlab2004

DCN Lab Members (2004)


2019-2020

Klaudia Ptaszek
Harkaran Dhillon
Jacey Anderson
Aditi Sirsikar


2018-2019

Anusha Mohan
Ariana Caruso
Roisin Healy
Holly Labrecque
Regina Weissenberg


2017-2018

Ariana Caruso
Holly Labrecque
Regina Weissenberg
Abigail Sapiro
Sindhu Dokuru (M.A., Healthcare Administration)


2016-2017

Parah Shah (pre-med)
Snigdha Wadhwa (pre-med)
Sindhu Dokuru (pre-med)
Tanya Rao (pre-med)
Caitlin Emmett (SLHS)
Meghan Robitaille (SLHS)


2015-2016

Parah Shah (pre-med)
Morgan Smith (pre-med)
Ryan Morris (pre-med)
Snigdha Wadhwa (pre-med)
Sindhu Dokuru (pre-med)
Molly Waterman (IGERT Program Assistant)
Jessa Sahl (post-bac RA in the lab of Bonnie Nozari at Johns Hopkins)


2014-2015

Parah Shah (Pre-med)
Didem Ozcan (PNB/Bio)
Morgan Smith (pre-med)
Ryan Morris (Pre-med)


Summer 2014

Molly Waterhouse (Syracuse University)
Griffen Burrows (Wheaton College)


2013-2014

Emily Thompson (SURF grant, Honors Program)
Katy Piotrowski (Honors Program)


2012-2013

Christopher Andrade (Ling Major); English Teaching in Japan (JET Program)
Allison Fitch (Psych/Human Development): Ph.D. in Developmental and Brain Sciences at UMass Boston, 2012
Amanda Makol (Pre-med)
Emily Thompson (SLSH)


2011-2012

Christopher Andrade (Ling Major)
Allison Fitch (Psych/Human Development): Ph.D. in Developmental and Brain Sciences at UMass Boston, 2012
Amanda Makol (Pre-med)
Emily Thompson (SLSH)
Bonnie Stas


2010-2011

Elira Fifo, 2010
Danielle Daley (Honors)
Kaitlin De Yoe (Honors, SURF award)
Karissa Burgess
Sonia Altavilla
Abby Morriso


2009-2010

Caitlin Dombrowski: (Honors) UConn, Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology
Jose Casares: Teachers College/Columbia University, Counseling Psychology
Danielle Loughrey
Liz Tzatkin: Research Assistant
Kathryn Post: Research Assistant
Juliana Hartley: Teach for America (Honors); MA student in Speech-Language Pathology at Univ New Hampshire


2008-2009

Justine Marsh: Practicing Speech-Language Pathologist, CT
Ashley Lepack
Terry Gustafson: Pre-med
Lauren Long: Ph.D. program in Behavioral Neuroscience, UConn


2007-2008

Jessica St. Pierre
David Roy
David Morrow
Heather Washburn
Kim Markoff
Kim Hayhurst
Stefanie Riegler


2006-2007

Kayla Marot
Mark Rogalski
Melissa Martinez
Corey Alexa
Tuhina Joseph


2005-2006

Lauren Czepizak
Cara Orazietti
Judith Shulman
Stephanie Ceniccola


2004-2005

Nojan Bakhtiari (pre-dental)
Lisa Cataudella
Jessica Bennett
Kelly Chang