UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
Shaun Eack, PhD
James and Noel Browne Endowed Chair, Associate Dean for Research, and Professor of Social Work and Professor of Psychiatry
Professor of Psychiatry Principal Investigator NIH/NIMH “Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adult ASD”.
Dr. Eack’s primary research focus is on the development, implementation and evaluation of psychosocial treatment methodologies for persons with neurodevelopmental disorders. He was the director of the Perspectives Program at the Center for Excellence in Autism Research. Them main purpose of the Perspectives Program was to develop a novel interventions for autistic adults. Dr. Eack’s most recent work focuses on the application of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, a neurocognitive and social-cognitive rehabilitation program, to autistic adults. Cognitive Enhancement Therapy is based on decades of research on brain disorders, and seeks to improve social interaction abilities in autistic people through the improvement of brain function.
Carla Mazefsky, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology
Principal Investigator – NIH/NICHD – Change-Sensitive Measurement of Emotion Dysregulation in ASD
Simons Foundation/N. M. Lurie Foundation – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Inpatient Research Corroborative (ADDIRC)
Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust – Emotional Awareness and Skills Enhancement (EASE)
Dr. Mazefsky is a licensed clinical psychologist specialized in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Mazefsky was the 2012 recipient of the Ritvo/Slifka Award for Innovation in Autism Research from the International Society for Autism Research. She is the associate editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Dr. Mazefsky’s research has been funded by the Organization for Autism Research and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her program of research is focused on emotional dysregulation in ASD, including the identification of underlying neural mechanisms, the conceptualization, treatment, and assessment of problems with emotional control, and co-occurring depression and anxiety.
Nancy Minshew, MD
Endowed Chair in Autism Research a
Dr. Minshew is a board certified neurologist. She is the founder of the Center for Excellence in Autism Research at the University of Pittsburgh and past director of the Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism (CPEA) and the Autism Center of Excellence (ACE). Dr. Minshew’s primary academic appointment was leading the research psychiatry department which brought her face to face with many autistic children and adults and the challenges they and their parents encountered. During her tenure as director of CeFAR, Dr. Minshew developed a large collaborative program of autism research focused on the elucidation of the cognitive and brain basis of autism, and its genetic basis through participation in several national and international consortiums.
Her research was the first to propose that autism is a disorder of higher order abilities across domains and a distributed cortical systems disorder that results from disturbances in the development of brain connections during early brain development. Her subsequent research generated extensive evidence in support of these hypotheses and a clear understanding of the cognitive and brain bases of autism. Genetic findings have supported the involvement of early brain developmental events important to the development of cortical systems and their interconnections. Collectively, her research provided the foundation for the developmental of new interventions for autistic individuals.