The Team

Clinical Faculty

Founder and Director

Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Laugeson is the Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS® Clinic, which is an outpatient hospital-based program providing parent-assisted social skills training for preschoolers, adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other social impairments. She also serves as the Training Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).

Dr. Laugeson has been a principal investigator and collaborator on a number of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigating social skills training for youth with developmental disabilities from preschool to early adulthood and is the co-developer of an evidence-based social skills intervention for teens and young adults known as PEERS®. She was the two-time recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the NIH from 2004-2007, recipient of the Semel Scholar Award for Junior Faculty Career Development in 2008, and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University in 2010. Dr. Laugeson has presented her research at international conferences throughout the world including the U.S., Canada, England, Italy, Australia, and Finland. Her groundbreaking work has been featured on national and international media outlets such as People Magazine, USA Today, the LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, NBC, and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.

Clinical Instructor

Vindia G. Fernandez, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private neuropsychology practice in Los Angeles and faculty member in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education at CSU Northridge. She facilitates social coaching groups in the UCLA PEERS Clinic, where she teaches caregivers strategies for helping young adults develop meaningful friendships and romantic relationships. Dr. Fernandez obtained her undergraduate degree at Yale University and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Houston, where she conducted research on structural differences in the brains of children with dyslexia. Dr. Fernandez completed her internship and postdoctoral training at the UCLA Semel Institute. As a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health, she studied language and neurocognitive functioning in young adults with schizophrenia.

Clinical Instructor

Shannon Bates, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, who facilitates teen and young adult groups in the UCLA PEERS Clinic. Within this role, she teaches teens strategies for developing and maintaining friends, and young adults strategies for developing meaningful friendships and romantic relationships. Dr. Bates was the UCLA PEERS Clinic Coordinator from 2010 to 2012, during which time she led teen, young adult, and parent/caregiver groups. She also co-led domestic and international PEERS Training Seminars alongside Dr. Laugeson. Dr. Bates obtained her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. She completed her internship training at the VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, where she specialized in the treatment of young adults and adults with severe mental illness, including trauma, chronic depression, addiction, suicidality, and self-harm. Dr. Bates will be opening a private practice in Los Angeles in Fall 2018.

Junior Faculty Instructor

Leila Glass, Ph.D. is a neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in the lifespan track at the Medical Psychological Assessment Center (MPAC). She also works as a postdoctoral fellow within the UCLA PEERS clinic, facilitating social skills groups and conducting clinical intake interviews. Dr. Glass received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and previously worked at the NIH as a trainee. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in San Diego and completed her internship at UCLA in the Pediatric Neuropsychology track. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Glass has been the recipient of several NIH grants and her research has focused on the academic, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes associated with prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Her primary interests lie in understanding the neurobehavioral profiles associated with developmental disabilities to inform targeted intervention.

Coordinators

Clinic Coordinator

Elizabeth Denluck is the Clinic Coordinator for the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. She manages all aspects of the PEERS® for Young Adults social skills intervention groups, and serves as a behavioral coach for this group. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a minor in Anthropology. She then found her passion for working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders when she spent two years as a behavioral interventionist. In that role, she helped children and adolescents work on their social skills and individualized education plans in a school-based environment. Elizabeth's interest in research stems from her goal to contribute to the understanding of developmental disorders in order to help individuals receive early detection and more effective treatment outcomes. Her research interests include early assessment and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder, mood and anxiety disorders, and how sociocultural context impacts children’s mental outcomes.

Clinic Coordinator

Haley Goodman is the Clinic Coordinator for the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. She manages aspects of the PEERS® for Preschoolers, PEERS® for Adolescents, and PEERS® for Young Adults social skills intervention groups, and serves as a behavioral coach in these groups. Haley also coordinates the UCLA PEERS® Training Seminar series conducted onsite at UCLA for mental health professionals and school-based educators. Haley graduated from the University of California, San Diego where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in law and society. Haley intends to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in the future. Her research interests include autism spectrum disorder and its comorbidity with various mood disorders as well as the roles of memory and cognition in forensic psychology.

Project Coordinator

Megan Hanson is the project coordinator at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. Megan coordinates the UCLA PEERS® Training Seminar series conducted onsite at UCLA for mental health professionals and school-based educators. Megan also coordinates the PEERS® Training Seminar series conducted offsite in various domestic and international locations. Megan manages the lab and research assistants while also being a behavioral coach in the PEERS for Preschools and PEERS for Young Adult clinical intervention groups. Megan graduated from UCLA in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. She has prior experience working in UCLA’s Infant Development Program and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in School Psychology. Her research interest include assessment for children with autism spectrum disorder, specific learning disabilities, and mood disorders. Additionally, she is interested in school-based intervention for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Database Coordinator

Steven Lograsso is the Database Coordinator and senior database research assistant at the UCLA PEERS clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, where he is involved in the coding team, and the scoring and verification of various psychological assessments. Steven attended California State University, Los Angeles, where he received his B.A. in Psychology. Steven has 5 years of experience working at a DIR Floortime agency as a developmental interventionist where he worked with children with developmental disabilities and their families on social skills. He intends to pursue a doctoral degree in Neuroscience.

Clinic Coordinator

Nicky de Nocker is the Clinic Coordinator for the UCLA PEERS® Clinic, where she manages aspects of the PEERS® for Preschoolers social skills intervention group. Nicky graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She intends to pursue a PhD in Psychology in the near future. Her research interests include child and adolescent anxiety and the impact of both parenting and teaching styles on early development.

Clinic Coordinator

Katherine Sung is the Clinic Coordinator for the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. She manages aspects of the PEERS® for Preschoolers, PEERS® for Adolescents, and PEERS® for Young Adults social skills intervention groups, and serves as a behavioral coach in these groups. Katherine received her Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from UCLA. Her research interests include cross-cultural interventions for adolescents with developmental disorders and brain and behavioral health during childhood development.

Post-doctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Clinical Psychology Fellow

Emily Moulton, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Clinical Psychology Fellow with the UCLA PEERS clinic and the Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental (CAN) Clinic. Dr. Moulton earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Connecticut, specializing in the early detection of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and developmental trajectories following early diagnosis. She completed her Predoctoral Psychology Internship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior within the Pediatric Neuropsychology track. In addition to a background in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dr. Moulton has experience working with individuals with other neurodevelopmental, neurological and psychiatric disorders through assessment, intervention and research programs.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Jasper Estabillo, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Clinical Psychology Fellow in the UCLA PEERS Clinic and a Postdoctoral Scholar in the UCLA Department of Psychology. She received her doctorate in Clinical Child Psychology from Louisiana State University and completed her predoctoral internship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior in the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities track. She has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities in a variety of research and clinical settings, and she has extensive experience in applied behavior analysis. Her postdoctoral work focuses on training community mental health providers in evidence-based interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. In the UCLA PEERS Clinic, she facilitates PEERS for Young Adults social skills groups.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Laura Adery, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Clinical Psychology Fellow in the UCLA PEERS Clinic and a Postdoctoral Scholar in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt University and completed her predoctoral internship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior in the Adolescent Serious Mental Illness track. She has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities in both research and clinical settings with special interest in inclusion in the arts and cultural community through work with the ACM Lifting Lives® Music Camp in Nashville, TN. Her postdoctoral work focuses on expanding treatment and intervention resources and investigating self, identity and community inclusion for adolescents at risk for psychosis. In the UCLA PEERS Clinic, she facilitates PEERS for Teens social skills groups.

Research Assistants

Research Assistant and Social Media Representative

Brittany Murphy is a research assistant at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, where she is involved in scoring and verifying various psychological assessments. She serves as a behavioral coach in the PEERS® for Adolescents, PEERS® for Young Adults, and PEERS® for Preschoolers social skills groups and helped launch the PEERS® for Careers pilot program. Additionally, Brittany manages the UCLA PEERS® Clinic website and social media pages to publicize clinical services for families, training opportunities for mental health professionals, publications and tools available to the public, and additional clinic events. Her research interests include early childhood development and comorbid conditions associated with ASD. Brittany graduated from UCLA with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology.

Research Assistant

Juliette Lerner is a research assistant at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, where she is involved in scoring and verifying various psychological assessments. Juliette is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in psychobiology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She intends to pursue a Master’s degree in psychology after completing her undergraduate education. Her research interests include social skills training, mood and anxiety disorders, and the effect of teaching and parenting styles on learning and development.

Research Assistant

Simrina Desar is a research assistant at the UCLA PEERS Clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, where she is involved in scoring and verifying various psychological assessments. Simrina is involved especially with the PEERS for Preschoolers and Teens social skills group. Currently, Simrina is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at UCLA and intends to go to medical school in the near future. She has previously been trained as an Emergency Medical Technician, in addition to various shadowing and volunteering experiences, and now hopes to gain more experience in the neuroscience and psychiatry fields. Her research interests include autism spectrum disorder and early childhood development.

Research Assistant

Danielle Mund is a research assistant at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, where she is involved in scoring and verifying various psychological assessments. Danielle graduated from New York University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. She now intends to pursue a Doctorate degree in Psychology. Danielle is interested in research focused on identifying effective interventions to lower the risk of developing subsequent mental disorders as a result of childhood trauma.

Research Assistant

Isita Tripathi is a research assistant and behavioral coach at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, where she is involved in scoring and verifying various psychological assessments, alongside performing role plays and behavioral rehearsals during clinical groups. In addition, she is excited about working as a career coach for the new College-to-Careers Program, in which she hopes to connect young adults on the autism spectrum with career opportunities that cater to their interests. Isita is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at UCLA, with minors in Disability Studies and Global Health. In the future, she aspires to work as a physician in the public health field. As such, her research interests include identifying structural factors that impede people with developmental disabilities from accessing resources and opportunities in the community.

Summer Research Assistant

Katie Sabini is a summer research assistant at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, where she is involved in scoring and verifying various psychological assessments. Additionally, Katie serves as a behavioral coach in the PEERS® for Adolescents, PEERS® for Young Adults, and PEERS® for Preschoolers social skills groups held at UCLA. Katie is currently an undergraduate student at UCSB, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychological and Brain Science as well as minors in Applied Psychology and Education. She plans to attend a Doctoral program for clinical psychology in the future. Her research interests include interventions for individuals with ASD as well as other developmental disorders, familial relationships, and the affects of developmental disorders and trauma on familial structures and roles.