Michael Alessandri is the Executive Director of the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD). Dr. Alessandri is also Assistant Chairman of the Department of Psychology and Clinical Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics. Dr. Alessandri has worked with individuals with autism and their families for over 30 years. Dr. Alessandri has presented, consulted and published internationally on developing appropriate and effective educational programs for students with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, he has received numerous research and service grants and several notable awards within the field including the Autism Society of America (ASA) Special Recognition Award for Publications (1993), the Outstanding Faculty award by the SJSU Disability Resource Center (1995), and the ASA's Wendy F. Miller Autism Professional of the Year Award (2003). Under his direction, the University of Miami Center for Autism & Related Disabilities was named ASA's National Autism Program of the Year in 1999. Dr. Alessandri has also received numerous other community service awards, including the March of Dimes Community Excellence in Health Care Award (2007), the Health Services Coalition Outstanding Community Leader Award (2009), and the Parent to Parent Excellence in Family Advocacy Award (2010). He was also named one of the Ronald McDonald House's 12 Good Men (2008) and the Dewar's 12 Man of Distinction (2007). In 2012, he was selected by the Children's Trust as the David Lawrence Champion for Children, and in 2016 he was named the Visionary Leader of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Petrus de Vries
Petrus de Vries is the Director of the Centre for Autism Research in Africa and the Adolescent Health Research Unit at the University of Cape Town & Sue Struengmann Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. He trained in Medicine at Stellenbosch University in South Africa before moving to the UK where he completed his clinical training in Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and a PhD in Developmental Neuropsychiatry at the University of Cambridge. Prof de Vries is chairman of the Society for the Study of Behavioral Phenotypes (SSBP), an international, interdisciplinary research organization, is on the WHO ICF-CY steering group for autism spectrum disorders and ADHD, under the chairmanship of Prof Sven Bolte, and is a member of the Executive Committee of IACAPAP (the International Association for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions). Since his return to South Africa in 2012, Prof de Vries has developed a program on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Africa and other low resource environments. The research program includes work on evaluation and development of screening & diagnostic tools for ASD, evaluation and development of interventions for ASD, health & education systems for ASD, and use of technology for screening, diagnosis, training and treatment of ASD
Adriana Di Martino
Adriana Di Martino is Leon Levy Associate Professor at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center School where she serves as Research Director of the ASD Research and Clinical Program. Dr. Di Martino has a long-standing interest in understanding the neurobiology of neurodevelopmental disorders with a long-term goal of guiding treatments. She has served as investigator of multiple projects involving brain imaging focused on autism, ADHD and related neurodevelopmental disorders. She has been at the forefront of innovative research approaches and has co-founded the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE) initiative. ABIDE is an open science collaborative effort that has provided over 2000 resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data along with corresponding structural MRI and phenotypic information of individuals with autism and typical controls. These datasets, aggregated over 23 international sites, have been released to the scientific community to accelerate the pace of discovery and setting the stage for the next generation of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research. This unprecedented initiative has already moved the filed out of the traditional silos of single site research and has fostered new discovered on the brain organization of individuals with ASD.
Roy Richard Grinker
Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at The George Washington University. He graduated from Grinnell College and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at Harvard University. Dr. Grinker specializes in psychological anthropology, with topical expertise in autism, and a geographical focus on Korea and sub-Saharan Africa. He is also the director of GW's Institute for Ethnographic Research and editor-in-chief of the journal Anthropological Quarterly. His work includes the first-ever epidemiological study of Autism Spectrum Disorder in South Korea, studies of the cultural influences on identification and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Koreans, Korean-Americans, and Zulu-speaking South Africans in KwaZulu-Natal, and the book, Unstrange Minds, which combines a cultural history of autism prevalence and his own experiences as the father of an autistic child.
Ami Klin is the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Professor and Chief of the Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Emory University School of Medicine, and Director of the Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of London, and completed clinical and research post-doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Klin directed the Autism Program at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine until 2010, where he was the Harris Professor of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. The Marcus Autism Center is one of the largest centers of clinical care in the country, providing a broad range of diagnostic and treatment services, and is also a National Institutes of Health Autism Center of Excellence, with a comprehensive interdisciplinary program of research in clinical and basic science.
Mike Lake is the Member of Parliament Edmonton-Wetaskiwin, Canada, and was first elected in 2006. After his re-election in October, 2008, Mike was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, a position to which he was re-appointed after the May 2011 election. On September 13, 2012 Mike was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council, after being asked by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to serve on the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration. On October 19, 2015, he was re-elected to a fourth term, receiving the 5th highest vote total out of 1,800 candidates, from all parties, across the country. He currently serves as the Conservative Party Critic for Global Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Prior to entering federal politics, Mike worked for 10 years with the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club where he served as National Accounts Manager, Director of Ticket Sales and Group Sales Manager. Mike holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction) from the University of Alberta. Mike has two children, a son Jaden, 21, and daughter Jenae, 17. The Lakes have been active supporters of autism organizations, families and individuals across the country, and around the world, while sharing their story of life with Jaden, who has autism.
Catherine Lord is the Director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain a joint project of New York - Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in partnership with New York Collaborates for Autism and a Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell. She completed degrees in psychology at UCLA and Harvard, and a clinical internship at Division TEACCH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Lord is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in diagnosis, social and communication development and intervention in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She is renowned for her work in longitudinal studies of social and communicative development in ASD. She has also been involved in the development of standardized diagnostic instruments for ASD with colleagues from the United Kingdom and the United States (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) an observational scale; and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) a parent interview), now considered the gold standard for research diagnoses all over the world. Dr. Lord was recently elected into the Institute of Medicine. She was the Chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on the Effectiveness of Early Intervention in Autism and was a member of the DSM5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Committee. Her research at the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain involves continued longitudinal studies, diagnosis, and measuring change over time in children.
Andy Shih works closely with members of Autism Speaks’ Board, Scientific Advisory Committee, senior staff and volunteer leadership to develop and implement the organization’s research program. He oversees the public health portfolio, which includes Autism Speaks' Global Autism Public Health Initiative, an international advocacy and development effort currently active in over 70 countries that integrates awareness, research, and service development. Dr. Shih and his team serve as technical advisor to ministries and other government agencies by facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration and sourcing needed content expertise and other technical resources with the goal of delivering community-based feasible, cost-effective and sustainable solutions. His research background includes published studies in gene identification and characterization, virus-cell interaction, and cell-cycle regulation. He was instrumental in the cloning of a family of small GTPases involved in cell-cycle control and nuclear transport, and holds three patents on nucleic acids-based diagnostics and therapeutics. Prior to focusing on Autism Speaks’ public health/international development efforts, Dr. Shih oversaw the organization’s investments in genetics, environmental sciences, epidemiology and assistive technologies.
Dr. Tuchman is Director of Neurology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Miami Children’s Health System. He is Clinical Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (FIU-COM). He is Founding Director of the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Dan Marino Center. He is Consulting Medical Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University (UM-NSU CARD). Dr. Tuchman received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Boston City Hospital, and his residency in Neurology and fellowship in Child Neurology at Albert Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center in New York. He did his fellowship in Epilepsy and Neurophysiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Tuchman is board certified in Pediatrics and in Neurology with special qualification in Child Neurology. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Neurology. He has published extensively and lectured globally on the neurology of autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, and other disorders of brain development.
Alex Plank is the creator of WrongPlanet.net, the leading site for individuals with Asperger's syndrome and Autism. Both Alex and Wrong Planet have been featured by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and Good Morning America. Wrong Planet has over 100,000 registered members and its discussion forums contain millions of messages. Alex was a consultant and actor on FX's award winning television series, The Bridge. Additionally, his films have been screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Film and Video Studies and he currently lives in Beverly Hills, California. His areas of expertise include public speaking, the Internet, writing, and filmmaking.
Marlene Sotelo is the Director of Programs and Operations for the Els for Autism Foundation and has been working with individuals of all ages with autism spectrum disorder for over 20 years. Prior to joining the Els for Autism Foundation in 2014, Dr. Sotelo worked for the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities for 12 years. She earned her Doctorate in Special Education from Nova Southeastern University and is a certified special education teacher, board certified music therapist, and board certified behavior analyst. She is currently on the board of directors for the Learning Center at The Els Center of Excellence and the Renaissance Learning Academy in Jupiter, Florida. Marlene is an adjunct faculty member of Nova Southeastern University, having taught courses in applied behavior analysis and autism spectrum disorder. She has co-authored two publications on topics related to autism spectrum disorder and has provided clinical consultation services to families all over the world. Dr. Sotelo has lectured extensively at state, national and international conferences and was a speaker for a TEDx conference in 2013. Marlene is also a professional singer and has written and recorded various songs to raise money for autism research and other children’s charities.
Erin Brooker Lozott
Erin Brooker Lozott is the Director of Clinical Services for the Els for Autism Foundation. Prior to this position, she was the Community Interventionist Manager at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Marcus Autism Center. Within her role at Marcus, Ms. Brooker Lozott served as the lead interventionist on the Early Social Interaction Project. She also actively participated on Marcus’ Educational Outreach Program. She has been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder for 18 years, and is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist. Ms. Brooker Lozott began her career as a speech-language pathologist in the Broward County School System. She then continued her career at Miami Children’s Hospital-Dan Marino Center. Following her work at the Dan Marino Center, she worked as a Coordinator of Education & Training Programs at the University of Central Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UCF-CARD). During Erin’s time at UCF-CARD, she participated in autism-based research projects and she was a graduate-level adjunct professor. Following her time at UCF, Ms. Brooker Lozott worked in her own private practice specializing in autism spectrum disorder. She serves on the board of directors for a nonprofit autism organization and is an appointed member of a scientific advisory committee for an international nonprofit autism association. She has co-authored two publications on topics related to autism spectrum disorder, and she has presented and consulted extensively on a national and international level.