Meet Our Team

Raphael (Raphe) Bernier, Ph.D.

shapeimage_1_1Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Adjunct Professor in the departments of Psychology and School Psychology at the University of Washington, Executive Director of the Seattle Children’s Autism Center

Dr. Bernier received his PhD at the University of Washington, his clinical training at UCLA, and also holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Tufts University. His research spans genetics, neural mechanisms, and behavior in autism. Additionally, through nationwide collaborations and independent projects at UW, Dr. Bernier’s research examines effective and accurate diagnosis and treatment. As a clinical psychologist and the principle investigator on a number of research studies, he is actively involved in research at the intersection of genetics, the brain, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Bernier’s favorite pastimes are playing with his kids and being active, whether it be rock climbing, running marathons, or doing adventure races.

Arianne (Ari) Wallace, Ph.D.

shapeimage_3_1Clinical Director, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Wallace received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Seattle Pacific University. She completed her clinical internship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX and a postdoctoral fellowship at Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit. Dr. Wallace has extensive experience working with children and adults of all ages and her current clinical and research interests include social and emotional development, executive functioning, co-morbid diagnoses associated with autism, and autism diagnosis and treatment interventions. Dr. Wallace loves to spend time with her family, sing, photography, waterfalls, and travel.

Micah Pepper, MPH

Manager of Program Operations

Micah received her MPH from Boston University in Global Public Health and a BA in Anthropology from Whitman College.  Internationally, Micah has worked as the Research Manager in the Chilean Patagonia in a rehabilitation center for children with special needs and researched Chagas disease in Bogotá, Colombia.  Since returning to Seattle she has worked in Clinical Trials in the area of vascular medicine and surgery.  In her free time Micah enjoys being with her 2 small daughters, speaking Spanish, baking, bikes, teaching yoga, and going on adventures.

Caitlin Hudac, Ph.D.

shapeimage_7_1EEG and Eye-Tracking Team Director, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscientist

Dr. Hudac studies how brains and behavior change from infancy through adulthood. Dr. Hudac received her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Much of her research focuses on the social brain and socioemotional development in children with and without autism. Outside of work you can find Dr. Hudac discovering what it is like to be “outdoorsy”, watching football, or cozied up at a coffee shop.

Jen Gerdts, Ph.D.

Gerdts_Jennifer_240929Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Director, Clinical Training Unit, UW LEND at CHDD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center

Dr. Gerdts received her doctoral degree in child clinical psychology from the University of Washington. She completed her clinical psychology internship with a specialty in developmental disabilities at UCLA and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UW Autism Center. Dr. Gerdts’s research interests involve understanding the genetic basis of autism, including studying autism-related traits in family members of children with autism. Outside of work, Dr. Gerdts enjoys spending time with her children and family, and taking in all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer- playing at parks, hiking, skiing, and curling up with a good book when it’s raining outside.

Anne B. Arnett, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Child Clinical Psychology

Dr. Arnett studies brain-behavior relationships in children with developmental disorders. Her research is primarily focused on genetic and neuropsychological factors associated with atypical attention, memory and learning. Dr. Arnett received her degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver and completed her clinical training at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Outside of work, Dr. Arnett enjoys backcountry skiing, sailing, and camping with her family.

Jennifer Beighley, Ph.D.

IMG_20170303_110238 (1)Post-Doctoral Fellow, Clinical Psychology 

Dr. Beighley completed the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Louisiana State University and did her clinical training at Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Child Development Center in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Beighley is interested in studying factors relating to early identification and treatment of children with developmental disabilities. Clinically, she is interested in behavioral treatment of co-occurring psychopathology including obsessive compulsive disorder and challenging behavior such as feeding difficulty in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Outside of work, Dr. Beighley enjoys spending time at home with her children, adventuring with family and friends, and exploring the great outdoors.

Sandy Trinh, M.S.

Sandy Trinh SP Practicum PhotoDoctoral Student in Educational Psychology

She received her B.S. in cognitive neuroscience at Brown University and an M.S. in neuroscience and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sandy’s research interests involve understanding the neural underpinnings of autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities to refine intervention and educational practices. She is also interested in research and practice aimed at improving access to intervention and education for those with developmental disabilities in low-resourced areas. Outside of work, Sandy enjoys hiking, eating berries at farmer’s markets, and discovering great coffee shops.

Tara Rutter, M.S.

Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology at Seattle Pacific University

Tara is a third-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Seattle Pacific University. Her research interests include emotion recognition across modalities, stress-related gene expression and behavior, and the socioemotional development of children with neurodevelopmental disorder. She is particularly interested in how stressors effect the physical and mental health of neurodiverse children and adolescents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, going to local concerts, and writing poetry.

Ghina Haidar

shapeimage_12_1Doctoral Student in Educational Psychology

She received her B.A. in Mass Communications at the Lebanese International University prior to receiving her second B.A. in Psychology at the University of Washington. Ghina’s research interests involve the socio-emotional trajectories of children with developmental disabilities and creating effective intervention strategies to aid children with autism and their families. In her free time, Ghina enjoys traveling, reading, photography, and a good cup of coffee.

Candace Rhoads, M.A.

8f081455-d0bd-49c4-8479-ae26b0fc696aDoctoral Student in Educational Psychology

She received her B.A. in Psychology from The University of Arizona, and M.A. in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University. Candace’s research interests focus on early identification of autism spectrum disorders and validation of new diagnostic and behavioral assessments. She is also particularly interested in neurocognitive development of individuals with autism. In her free time, Candace likes to spend time with her two dogs, explore Seattle, catch up with friends, read, and binge-watch TV shows.

Ruqian (Daisy) Ma, M.A., M.S.W.

Daisy Ma PictureDoctoral Student in Educational Psychology

Daisy graduated from Boston College with a MA in Developmental Psychology and a MSW in Social Work. Daisy has a particular interest in using neuroimaging and behavioral methods to investigate early brain development, functioning and social interactions in typically and atypically developing populations. Daisy is also very passionate about adapting culturally competent interventions and treatment methods into other cultural backgrounds. Outside the lab, Daisy likes to play with her guinea pig and cats, read, cook, camp, travel, and attend concerts.

Alana Peters-Whiting

shapeimage_6_1Data Entry Operator Lead

Alana graduated from Western Washington University with a B.S. in Geology. As an undergrad, Alana worked as a Laboratory Assistant in the WWU Department of Biology as well as the UW Department of Pharmacy. Her love of science brought her to work at the Bernier Lab. She currently builds databases and manages the data collected from all of our studies. Alana also pursues musical theatre professionally and performs at local theaters, including the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Village Theatre.

Brenna Boyd, M.A.

Research Study Coordinator, ABC-CT Study

Brenna started at the Bernier Lab in 2016.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Davidson College (NC) and a Master’s degree in Social Psychology from Arizona State University.  Brenna is also a certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor and has many years of experience with people of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  A Montana native, Brenna also taught psychology and liberal arts classes at a University in Tunisia for 2 years before moving to Seattle. Brenna is interested in genetics and genetic counseling, increasing research access for underserved and underrepresented backgrounds, and in her spare time enjoys spending time outside, distance running, horseback riding, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dogs.

Heena Panjwani

heenaResearch Study Coordinator, GABA Study

Heena graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Psychology and a BS in Physiology. During her undergraduate studies, she interned at Seattle Children’s Research Institute focusing on autism research via neuroimaging. She is now a Research Study Assistant in the Bernier Lab and is interested in the developmental trajectories of children and adolescents with autism. Heena hopes to pursue further graduate and PhD studies in the near future. In her spare time, Heena can be found in a blanket burrito watching Netflix and knitting, in the kitchen baking, or practicing applying henna on anyone who will let her.

Alex Cole

Rimageedit_2_4186722304esearch Study Coordinator, ZEBRA Study & PANGEA Study

Alex is a graduate from the University of Georgia with a BS in Psychology. While studying in Georgia, Alex was heavily involved in several local Autism volunteer groups and worked on community outreach through the university. He now works as a Research Study Assistant in the Bernier Lab. Alex plans on pursuing a PhD and his research interests focus broadly on both clinical interventions for families and affected children, along with universal screening models. In his spare time, Alex likes to explore Seattle, go camping and hiking, and play with his wonderful and amazing cat.

Emily Fox

emilyResearch Study Associate, Seattle Children’s Autism Center, SPARK Study

Emily graduated from the University of Connecticut’s Honors Program with a B.A. in Psychology and English. While at UConn, Emily assisted in research on the early detection of ASD and completed her honors thesis on parental stress in relation to children’s autism symptom severity. After graduation, Emily spent two years at Columbia University working on early childhood care and education research.  Emily is working in the lab as a Research Study Assistant.  Her research interests focus broadly on early identification and intervention of ASD.  She is particularly interested in how autism affects family stress, functioning, and well-being and in peer- and parent-mediated interventions for children with ASD.  Emily hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology focused on children with autism. In her free time, Emily likes to cook, drink lots of coffee, and do yoga.

Monique Mahony

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.38.04 AMResearch Study Assistant, EEG & Eye-Tracking

Monique completed her BS in psychology from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Monique then worked as a registered behavior technician where she implemented in-home ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy intervention to children with ASD and other developmental disorders. She is now a part of the EEG/ Eye Tracking team at the Bernier Lab, and has a particular interest in perceptual psychology as it applies to assistive technologies for people with development disorders. Outside of the lab, Monique enjoys games nights with friends, hiking, and going to dog parks with her adorable rat terrier/ chihuahua mix.

Daniel Cho

Research Study Assistant, Seattle Children’s Autism Center

Daniel graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington. During his undergraduate career, he was involved in the Psychology Honor’s program and interned at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, assisting in autism research via neuroimaging. After graduating, Daniel then worked as a behavioral interventionist to implement ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy for children with ASD in home and community environments. Daniel hopes to pursue graduate school for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and to continue research in autism. Outside the lab, Daniel enjoys to sing a cappella, drink coffee in cute coffee shops, obsess about Marvel superhero movies, and play Dungeons and Dragons (yes, it’s as nerdy as it sounds).