Welcome to the McDonald Lab

The McDonald Lab is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders, with a specific emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and genetic conditions such as tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Our research endeavors are centered around gaining deeper insights into these disorders and their underlying mechanisms. Our primary goal is to contribute to the expanding knowledge and comprehension of neurodevelopmental conditions and genetic disorders.

Our mission is to conduct research that integrates brain-based methodologies and naturalistic behavioral assessments to unravel the complexities of early social and emotional development in at-risk infants and toddlers.

We employ a multidisciplinary approach that integrates brain-based methods such as Electroencephalography (EEG) with naturalistic behavioral assessments. By combining these techniques, we aim to gain valuable insights into the complex dynamics of early social and emotional development in infants at an increased risk for ASD. In addition to our focus on early social and emotional development in infants at risk for ASD, our lab is actively involved in research pertaining to individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). We aim to test the efficacy of an evidence-based intervention tailored to preschool-aged children who exhibit behavior problems. By evaluating the outcomes of these treatments, we strive to contribute to the growing body of knowledge regarding effective therapeutic approaches for this specific population.

Additionally, our lab is examining the associations between maternal basal salivary oxytocin levels and mother-infant interaction. We explore the concurrent and longitudinal connections between these variables to gain a deeper understanding of how oxytocin levels relate to the quality of mother-infant interactions. This research contributes to our overall goal of promoting positive mother-infant relationships and enhancing the well-being of both mothers and infants.

By delving into these diverse research areas, we aim to not only advance knowledge but also inform evidence-based practices in the fields of neurodevelopmental disorders and at-risk infants. Our ongoing commitment to uncovering the complexities of early social and emotional development is fueled by the potential to make a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and families facing these challenges.