About the Panelists
Leonard Abbeduto, PhD
Professor & Director, UC Davis MIND Institute
Leonard Abbeduto is a professor and director at UC Davis MIND Institute. He is also the holder of the Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis. He earned his master’s in psychology from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 1982 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Center of Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Abbeduto’s research is focused broadly on the development of language across the lifespan in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and on the family context for language development. He serves as principal investigator and director of the NICHD-funded UC Davis MIND Institute Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.
Dr. Abbeduto has received numerous awards, including the Enid and William Rosen Research Award from the National Fragile X Foundation and the Edgard Doll Award for Distinguished Research Contribution from Division 33 of the American Psychological Association.
Jessica Klusek, PhD, CCC-SLP
Associate Professor, University of South Carolina
Jessica Klusek is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Klusek received her doctoral degree in speech and hearing sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She followed her doctoral training with an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship in psychology at the University of South Carolina where she completed interdisciplinary training in physiology, psychology, and genetics. Dr. Klusek is also a certified speech-language pathologist.
UC Davis MIND Institute
Angie Thurman’s research at the UC Davis MIND Institute focuses on characterizing the dynamic processes underlying the development of language and other skills in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and Williams syndrome. Because development stems from a continuous interplay of multiple influences across time, unpacking the influences of the behavioral phenotypes (areas of strength and challenge) in neurodevelopmental disorders provides insight into the factors supporting and impeding development and how this differs across neurodevelopmental disorders.
Julie Lounds Taylor, PhD
Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Julie Taylor is an associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and an investigator at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. She received her master’s in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in lifespan family research at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on understanding the factors that promote positive outcomes for adults with autism and their families, particularly during the transition to adulthood. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, Autism Speaks, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the FAR fund. She was the 2014 recipient of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Early Career Award, is an associate editor for Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, and is a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.