Catherine Lord, PhD
Professor of Human Development and Psychology
George Tarjan Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute ofNeuroscience and Human Behavior
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Dr. Catherine Lord is the George Tarjan Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She is a practicing clinical psychologist whose primary focus is autism and related disorders across the lifespan from toddlers through adulthood. Her research and clinical work are aimed at improving methods of identifying strengths and difficulties in individuals with possible ASD and working with families and individuals to maximize independence and well-being for all concerned. This has involved the development of diagnostic instruments (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule - ADOS, the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised – ADI-R, and the Social Communication Questionnaire-SCQ) that describe individual profiles of skills and weaknesses and carrying out longitudinal studies from age 15 months up to 30 years with the goal of identifying protective and risk factors that influence milestones of progress over the years. A current priority is to develop better ways of measuring changes in social behavior and communication over short periods of time that can be used to monitor progress without bias. Another priority has been to participate in large scale studies where researchers share data about both behavior and neurobiology; this has included the Simons Simplex Collection (a genetics consortium led by geneticists and researchers through the Simons Foundation), ABIDE (an imaging open science group originated out of NYU), and the Healthy Brain Network through the Child Mind Institute as well as numerous clinical trials of different interventions. She is also very interested in graduate training for psychologists and other clinical researchers in ASD and related fields. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association of Arts and Sciences, as well as a former chair of a National Academy of Sciences committee on the effectiveness of early intervention in ASD, a co-chair of the New York Board of Health committee on ASD and a member of the DSM 5 American Psychiatry Association’s neurodevelopmental disorders committee. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Autism Research. She has over 300 referred journal publications and has been funded by NIH, Autism Speaks, and the Simons Foundation for numerous research grants.