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Our Team

Marta Benedetti, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

Marta Benedetti, who joined the Simons Foundation in 2007, contributes to the evaluation and management of the foundation's research portfolio, as well as the planning of new research directions relevant to autism. Prior to joining the Simons Foundation, Benedetti worked for a number of other health-related foundations in various capacities, including as scientific manager for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and consultant for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Her scientific research, first at the University of Rome and then as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Moses Chao at Cornell University Medical College, focused on the structure, function and signal transduction mechanisms of the nerve growth factor receptor. Subsequently, as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Peter Scheiffele at Columbia University, Benedetti studied the molecular mechanisms of synaptogenesis in the central nervous system. While earning her degree at the University of Rome, she also worked on animal behavior and on the neuropharmacology and neurophysiology of the dopaminergic system. Benedetti's professional experience also includes medical writing and editing, and she has translated a number of textbooks and monographs in child neurology, neurobiology and psychiatry from English into Italian.

Elizabeth BrooksElizabeth "Libby" Brooks
Assistant Project Manager, Simons Simplex Collection

Libby Brooks joined the Simons Foundation in 2011 as assistant project manager for the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC). In 2015, she began supporting new research projects with SFARI. Previously, Brooks was part of a multi-site SSC administrative team based at the University of Michigan. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in clinical-behavioral psychology at Eastern Michigan University.

Wendy Chung, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of Clinical Research

Wendy Chung serves as the principal investigator of the Simons Variation in Individuals Project, which characterizes behavior and brain structure and function in participants with genetic copy number variants, such as those at 16p11.2 and 1q21, believed to play a role in autism spectrum disorders. She is leading the effort to build a community of individuals with autism and their families, working with them to better understand the causes of autism and to develop better means of supporting individuals with the disorder. She evaluates opportunities to develop new treatments for autism and new outcome measures to evaluate the efficacy of these treatments. Chung joined the Simons Foundation in 2012 as director of clinical research, after serving on SFARI’s scientific advisory board.

Chung, a clinical and molecular geneticist, received a B.A. in biochemistry and economics from Cornell University, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, and a Ph.D. in genetics from Rockefeller University. She is currently the Herbert Irving associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at Columbia University, where she directs the clinical genetics program and performs human genetics research. At Columbia, she clinically assesses children with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities and uses advanced genomic diagnostic methods, including whole-exome sequencing, to identify the underlying genetic basis for neurological conditions. In her work, she strives to facilitate the integration of genetic medicine into all areas of healthcare in a medically, scientifically and ethically sound, accessible and cost-effective manner.

Chung has received the American Academy of Pediatrics Young Investigator Award, the Medical Achievement Award from Bonei Olam and a career development award from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and is a member of the Dade County Hall of Fame. A renowned teacher and mentor, she is a member of the Glenda Garvey Teaching Academy and has won many awards for teaching, including the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching, the American Medical Women’s Association Mentor Award, and the Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. In 2014, Chung delivered a TED Talk, "What We Know About Autism."

Amy DanielsAmy Daniels, Ph.D.
Project Manager

Amy Daniels joined the Simons Foundation in 2015 after working as assistant director of public health research at Autism Speaks. At Autism Speaks, Daniels oversaw the Global Autism Public Health portfolio in Europe and the former Soviet Union, focusing on awareness, research and building service capacity. Before that, Daniels was project director of the Behavioral Health Leadership Institute, where she evaluated community-based treatment programs for individuals with behavioral health problems, and research coordinator at the Interactive Autism Network. At SFARI, Daniels will oversee the management of cohort-specific projects, including the development and implementation of strategies for communication, community outreach and participant recruitment and engagement. She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a MHS and Ph.D. in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Pamela FelicianoPamela Feliciano, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, SPARK, and Senior Scientist

Pamela Feliciano contributes to the development and management of several projects with a mission to build research cohorts of individuals with autism. She is also involved in SFARI’s efforts to develop objective and reliable outcome measures for autism clinical trials. Feliciano joined the Simons Foundation in 2013. Previously, Feliciano worked as a senior editor at Nature Genetics, where she was responsible for managing the peer review process of research publications in all areas of genetics. While at Nature Genetics, Feliciano was engaged with the scientific community, attending conferences and giving talks and workshops on editorial decision-making at academic institutes worldwide.

Feliciano holds a B.S. from Cornell University, an M.S. from New York University and a Ph.D. in developmental biology from Stanford University. The journal Science named her Ph.D. thesis work on the parallel evolution of wild populations of three-spine stickleback fish part of the “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2005. Later, Feliciano completed her postdoctoral work with Nicholas Tolwinski at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, studying the establishment of planar cell polarity in epithelial sheets.

Gerald D. Fischbach M.D.Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D.
Distinguished Scientist and Fellow, Simons Foundation

Gerald D. Fischbach joined the Simons Foundation in 2006 to oversee SFARI, and is now a distinguished scientist and fellow of the foundation. Formerly dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences at Columbia University, and director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health from 1998-2001, Fischbach received his M.D. degree in 1965 from Cornell University Medical School and interned at the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle. He began his research career at the National Institutes of Health, serving from 1966-1973. He subsequently served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, first as associate professor of pharmacology from 1973-1978 and then as professor until 1981. From 1981-1990, Fischbach was the Edison professor of neurobiology and head of the department of anatomy and neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine. In 1990, he returned to Harvard Medical School where he was the Nathan Marsh Pusey professor of neurobiology and chairman of the neurobiology departments of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital until 1998.

Throughout his career, Fischbach has studied the formation and maintenance of synapses, the contacts between nerve cells and their targets through which information is transferred in the nervous system. He pioneered the use of nerve cell cultures to study the electrophysiology, morphology and biochemistry of developing nerve-muscle and inter-neuronal synapses. His current research is focused on roles that neurotrophic factors play in determination of neural precursor fate, synapse formation and neuronal survival.

Fischbach is a past president of the Society of Neuroscience and serves on several medical and scientific advisory boards. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a former non-resident fellow of the Salk Institute.

Calissia FranklynCalissia Franklyn
Grants Associate

Calissia Franklyn earned her undergraduate degree in health policy and administration from Pennsylvania State University. Previously, she worked as a school business manager for the New York City Department of Education, and as a grants administrator at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Franklyn joined the foundation's grants team in 2013 as post-award grants associate.

Tammi FumberiTammi Fumberi
Executive Assistant

Tammi Fumberi joined the Simons Foundation in 2015, bringing with her extensive experience in healthcare administration and event management. Previously, Fumberi worked as an administrative assistant at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, coordinating the operations and personnel for the hospital’s Language and International Services program. Prior to that, she served for seven years as an operations associate in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Fumberi has a long history of coordinating events, including assisting award-winning event planner Dave Edwards of Dave Edwards Events, Inc. in managing a large network of planners, business owners and vendors in the Washington, D.C., metro area. She holds a B.A. in American studies from Tufts University and supports SFARI director Louis Reichardt.

Anastasia Stacey GreenebaumAnastasia "Stacey" Greenebaum, J.D., M.I.D.
Communications Director

Stacey Greenebaum has enjoyed a broad professional career that includes work in New York City government, law, publishing, design and consulting to small businesses on matters of brand communication. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, a J.D. from the University of Virginia and a master's degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute. She has worked for the Simons Foundation in various capacities since 2001 before assuming the role of communications director here in 2010.

Brigitta GundersenBrigitta Gundersen, Ph.D.

Brigitta Gundersen joined the foundation in 2016 as a member of the SFARI science team. Prior to joining the foundation, Gundersen was a senior editor at Nature Neuroscience, where she coordinated peer review of papers across the entire field of neuroscience (specializing in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders), as well as writing for the journal and organizing special focus issues and international meetings. Gundersen holds a B.S. in biology from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania.

LeeAnne Green SnyderLeeAnne Green Snyder, Ph.D.
Clinical Research Scientist

LeeAnne Green Snyder joined the Simons Foundation in 2014 after working for the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) and Simons Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP) for eight years at the University of Michigan and the Harvard University/Boston Children's Hospital sites, respectively. She advises on protocol design, outcome measures and database needs for SFARI's research cohorts of individuals with autism.

She received her B.A. in psychology from the University at Albany, SUNY, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut, where her research involved the first studies of oxytocin in children with autism. Green Snyder completed her pediatric psychology internship and postdoctoral training in pediatric neuropsychology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. There, she led the multi-disciplinary Autism Clinic and autism training rotation, and collaborated in research at the Children's Hospital of Michigan. She also maintained a private practice in neuropsychology, providing legal consultation, as well as assessments for families and schools.

Green Snyder is licensed in psychology in the state of Connecticut. She currently consults to researchers around the world on training for autism assessment.

Marion GreenupMarion Greenup, M.P.H., M.Ed.
Vice President, Administration

Marion Greenup joined the Simons Foundation in 2007 as vice president of administration. She is responsible for developing and managing administrative systems and policies to support the foundation's programs. Greenup earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Harriet Sophie Newcomb College, an M.Ed. in early childhood development from Tulane University, and an M.P.A. from Columbia University School of Public Health. She has worked in health and university administration for more than 20 years.

Most recently, Greenup was administrative director of the New York University Child Study Center and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Previous appointments include assistant vice president of administration at Columbia University Health Sciences and department administrator of pediatrics at Columbia University. She also served as senior vice president of education and health promotion at the March of Dimes, where she led the development of educational programs for consumers and health professionals.

Rachel JurdRachel Jurd, Ph.D.

Rachel Jurd joined the Simons Foundation in 2015 as SFARI’s science writer and editor. Her responsibilities include contributing to communication of SFARI’s scientific priorities, research portfolio and resources for scientists. Before coming to the foundation, Jurd was editor of Trends in Neurosciences at Cell Press, where she commissioned review articles across the field of neuroscience, managed manuscript peer review and oversaw editorial decisions. In addition, she was involved in communicating science to researchers and to the public through editorials, interviews of neuroscientists for podcasts and Q&A articles, social media announcements and Web content. Jurd has an undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from the Australian National University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Zurich. Her research focused on molecular genetics and cellular neurobiology, especially as it relates to mechanisms underlying inhibitory neurotransmission and its dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Alex LashAlex E. Lash, M.D.
Chief Informatics Officer

Alex Lash joined the Simons Foundation in March 2012 to lead the further development and dissemination of the foundation's extensive scientific data assets — particularly those related to autism spectrum disorders — as well as to oversee the automation of its scientific administration infrastructure and develop metrics of funding impact.

Lash was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York from 2003 to 2012, where he was a laboratory member in the computational biology program and scientific director of the bioinformaticscore facility. By 2012, he had overseen the growth of the bioinformatics core to include more than a dozen doctoral and masters-level personnel who provide research-support services in the areas of high throughput sequence and microarray data analysis, high performance computing, bioinformatics training and research software development.

From 1998 to 2003, at the height of the human genome sequencing initiative, Lash was a staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. At NCBI, Lash led a group that was responsible for creating the national repository for public gene expression data. Later, the scope of the repository was expanded to include the data generated from a spectrum of high throughput microarray platforms, such as array comparative genome hybridization, as well as proteomics data. While there, Lash received several awards from the National Library of Medicine and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lash has an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and completed his residency training in anatomic pathology at the National Cancer Institute in 1998, where he was recognized by the Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists. Lash also has a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of California at Irvine. He has been programming in various computer languages since his early teens and has a passion for using information technology to improve human efficiency and reduce the likelihood and impact of human error.

Alice Luo ClaytonAlice Luo Clayton, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

Alice Luo Clayton joined the Simons Foundation in 2011. She earned her Ph.D. in systems neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania in the laboratory of Gary Aston-Jones, and did postdoctoral work at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program with Roy Wise and Carl Lupica. Luo Clayton is broadly interested in brain connectivity and how information processing within neural networks translates into behavior. Her postdoctoral research focused on the ventral tegmental area, a major source of midbrain dopamine neurons, which modulate reward-associated behaviors and have been implicated in a number of psychiatric disorders, including drug addiction and schizophrenia; she identified and characterized afferent VTA circuits, using primarily electrophysiological and neuroanatomical techniques.

Luo Clayton was a 2009-2011 AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Division of Developmental Translational Research at the National Institute of Mental Health. The division focuses on understanding the mechanisms and developmental trajectories of child- and adolescent-onset psychiatric disorders, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and mood and anxiety disorders. Her experience there involved managing grant portfolios, conducting workshops and site visits, organizing scientific review panels, and developing research initiatives.

Vincent MyersVincent Myers
Research Assistant

Vincent Myers facilitates all research activities related to SPARK, including the development of institutional review board (IRB) protocols and coordination of activities at, and communication with, clinical sites participating in the initiative. Before joining the Simons Foundation in 2015, he worked at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), first in development as a special events specialist, and then as a development manager, engaging large numbers of people with CFF through large-scale events and social media. Later, as patient registry senior research coordinator there, Myers managed CFF’s comparative effectiveness research efforts and requests for use of patient-registry data, and led the redesign of the CFF annual registry data report. He received a B.A. in communication and rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh.

Richard McFarlandRichard McFarland, M.P.A.
Director, Grants Management

Richard McFarland joined the staff in 2011, having previously served as divisional administrator for the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University. Before that, he worked at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International as grants manager and team leader of grants administration. McFarland has a joint B.A. in communications and visual arts from Fordham University, and an M.P.A. with a focus in advanced management and finance from Columbia University.

Alan PackerAlan Packer, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

Alan Packer joined the Simons Foundation in 2009 as an associate director of research. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Brandeis University and his Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York City. His graduate work with Rosemary Bachvarova focused on germ cell development using the mouse as a model system. With Debra Wolgemuth at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he carried out postdoctoral work on developmental control genes (HOX genes) and the mechanisms of their regulation in the mouse embryo.

In 2000, Packer joined the editorial staff of Nature Genetics, the leading journal in the field of genetics, where he was involved in all aspects of the journal's production. His responsibilities included overseeing peer review of submitted manuscripts, with an emphasis on the genetics of human disease, as well as commissioning reviews, writing press releases and editorials, updating the journal's website, and preparing special issues of the journal. He served as acting editor in 2002-2003. During his tenure at Nature Genetics, he established a wide range of contacts in the genetics community through attendance at meetings and visits with scientists in their labs. Packer has also done freelance writing on a number of topics for Nature and other scientific publications.

Louis F. Reichardt, Ph.D.

Louis Reichardt joined the foundation to lead SFARI in 2013. Prior to assuming this post, he was the Jack D. and DeLoris Lange endowed chair in cell physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he had directed its renowned neuroscience graduate program since 1988. A Fulbright scholar with an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, Reichardt was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and a Howard Hughes investigator for more than 20 years.

The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in 1985, he is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was one of three founding editors of the journal Neuron and is a senior editor of the Journal of Cell Biology. He serves on the editorial boards of several other journals as well as the scientific advisory boards of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Foundation and the Myelin Repair Foundation.

Reichardt's research has focused on neurotrophins, a family of proteins that play a key role in neuron functioning, and on another family of proteins that promote the adhesion of nerve cells to each other. He has made major contributions to the study of intracellular signaling pathways that mediate the effects of these proteins — including the Wnt pathway, which may play a role in autism spectrum disorders.

Reichardt is also a noted mountaineer who climbed both Mount Everest and K2 by new routes 30 years ago.

BeverlyRobertsonBeverly Robertson
Participant Engagement and Outreach Manager, SPARK

Beverly Robertson is the Participant Engagement and Outreach Manager with SPARK. She is working to create and cultivate a research community of individuals with ASD and their families. Robertson joined the Simons Foundation in 2016 after spending 20 years working in maternal child health as the National Director of the Resource Center at the March of Dimes. She holds a B.A. in Spanish from The Ohio State University, a Master of Library Science from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts in History from New York University.

Alexandra ShaheenAlexandra Shaheen
Project Manager

Alex Shaheen supports the members of the SFARI science team. Shaheen earned a B.A. in justice and women's, gender and sexuality studies at American University in Washington, D.C., where she also worked as a research assistant and teaching assistant. Shaheen also worked at Fairview Halfway House, a residential facility in Washington, D.C. for women returning from prison or awaiting sentencing. After college, she worked as a telecommunications auditor before joining the Simons Foundation in 2012.

Kori DevlinKori Smith
Senior Grants Associate

Kori Smith is responsible for providing comprehensive grant administration for pre-award grant activities, from the preparation of requests for proposals through grant activation. She joined the foundation in 2010 following work for software company Information Builders. Kori has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and brings experience in marketing and events management.

Julia SommerJulia Sommer, Ph.D.

Before joining the Simons Foundation in 2011, Julia Sommer completed her Ph.D. in cellular physiology and biophysics in the laboratory of Peter Scheiffele at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Switzerland. She earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University, where she began her studies with Scheiffele. Sommer's broad interest is in understanding the structure-function relationship of neural circuits and how its perturbation can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders. During her graduate work, she used biochemical, cell biological and genetic tools applied to mouse models to dissect the role of select GTPase-activating proteins in signal transduction pathways during axonal guidance as well as synapse formation, both essential steps of neural circuit assembly.

Her interest in neurobiology was originally triggered during a research stay at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California in the laboratory of Cary Lai. Before entering the neurobiology field, Sommer did her diploma work in molecular biology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, during which time she studied the role of histone modifications as epigenetic regulators of gene expression in the laboratory of Frank Sauer (now at University of California, Riverside). In 2007, Sommer was a fellow of the neurobiology course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where she acquired in-depth knowledge of available research tools in neurobiology.

John SpiroJohn Spiro, Ph.D.
Deputy Scientific Director

John Spiro joined the Simons Foundation in 2007 and is involved in all aspects of the foundation's research initiatives in the field of autism. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Haverford College and his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. His thesis was based on work in the laboratory of the late Walter Heiligenberg, and his postdoctoral work was with Richard Mooney at Duke University. His research interests were in cellular and systems neuroscience, and he focused on preparations where it was possible to forge links between cellular neurobiology and behavior.

In 2000, Spiro joined the Nature Publishing Group as an editor at Nature Neuroscience, a leading neuroscience journal, where he was involved in evaluating research findings across the field of neuroscience, including autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2004, he joined the prestigious general science journal Nature as a senior editor on the biology team, where he oversaw a group of editors responsible for editorial decisions and peer review of manuscripts across all areas of neuroscience — ranging from molecular development to functional imaging and behavior. In addition, he gained experience in communicating science to both professional scientists and the public through his involvement in commissioning, editing and writing editorials, book reviews and other material for the journal and related web-based resources. Throughout his time as an editor, he maintained close ties to the research community by regularly attending meetings and making laboratory visits in the U.S. and abroad.

John SpiroAllegra Thomas
Administrative Assistant

Allegra Thomas joined the foundation in 2016 as a member of the SFARI team. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she earned a B.A. in psychology. Prior to joining the foundation, Thomas worked as a legal assistant at a tenants’ rights law firm in San Francisco. She has held a variety of administrative positions in the nonprofit sector, including auditor for the YMCA of San Francisco and Single Stop USA through AmeriCorps VISTA.

Jennifer TjernagelJennifer Tjernagel, M.S.
Senior Project Manager, Simons VIP

As senior project manager for the Simons Variation in Individuals Project (Simons VIP), Jennifer Tjernagel is responsible for managing study progress from initiation through data analysis. Previously, she was project manager for the Simons Simplex Collection, working through the University of Michigan. Before her work with the foundation, Tjernagel spent ten years in the pharmaceutical industry as an associate director of statistical analysis and reporting at Pfizer Global Research and Development, and also worked as a biostatistician for the University of Michigan Cardiology Department. She earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame, and an M.S. in biostatistics from the University of Michigan. Tjernagel joined the staff in 2010.

Natalia VolfovskyNatalia Volfovsky, Ph.D.
Analytics Manager, Informatics and Information Technology

Natalia Volfovsky came to the Simons Foundation to oversee quantitative informatics analysis, data storage and data curation. Prior to joining the foundation, Volfovsky served as manager of the computational genomics group at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) in Maryland where she was responsible for design and development of computational methods to process and analyze genomics data. While at the FNLCR, Volfovsky also organized bioinformatics training sessions and participated in collaborative research projects. She holds an M.S. in mathematics from Kharkiv State University, Ukraine, a Ph.D. in computer science from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and completed her postdoctoral work in bioinformatics at the Institute for Genomic Research with Dr. Steven Salzberg.

Karen Walton BowenKaren Walton-Bowen, M.Sc.
Clinical Operations, Biostatistical Analysis and Reporting

Karen Walton-Bowen joined Clinical Research Associates in 2014 to oversee clinical operations, biostatistical analysis and reporting, and the Arbaclofen program.

Walton-Bowen is an expert in clinical development across multiple therapeutic areas within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, including gastrointestinal, neuroscience, respiratory, cardiovascular, lysosomal storage disorders, inflammation and pain control. Previously, Walton-Bowen worked at Seaside Therapeutics, L.L.C. as senior director of biometrics. There, she was responsible for the data-analytic aspects of the Arbaclofen programs, which aimed to treat autism and Fragile X Syndrome.

Walton-Bowen holds a B.Sc. in mathematics and computing and an M.Sc. in medical statistics from the University of London in the U.K. She also holds Chartered Statistician and Chartered Scientist status through the Royal Statistical Society.

Casey White-Lehman, M.A., M.S.
Senior Project Manager, Simons Simplex Collection

Casey White-Lehman is the senior project manager for SFARI’s Simons Simplex Collection (SSC). Her primary responsibilities are managing the SSC generally, and working with SFARI and outside investigators to re-contact members of the SSC cohort for additional research studies. She also supports SSC sites as they build and maintain local communities. Additionally, White-Lehman helps supervise research cohorts that register with the Interactive Autism Network (IAN).

White-Lehman joined the Simons Foundation in 2011 as project manager of the SSC. Previously, she served in this role at the University of Michigan, where she managed clinical research with Catherine Lord. White-Lehman earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, in experimental psychology. She also holds an M.A. in psychological science (clinical specialty) from James Madison University in Virginia and an M.S. in biomedical science (neuroscience specialty) from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

Hana ZaydensHana Zaydens
Research Assistant

Hana Zaydens came to the Simons Foundation in 2015 to facilitate administrative and research activities related to SPARK. Previously, she served as a senior research aide at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, where she conducted psychological and neuropsychological assessments for participants in a number of studies and prepared regulatory documentation for institutional review board approval. From 2012-2013, she worked as a research assistant at Ben-Gurion University in Israel on studies of numeracy and number acquisition in children. She earned a B.S. in psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and minored in neuroscience.