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Simons VIP


The UW Simons VIP Team
(L to R): Hana Alupay, Katy Ankenman, Dr. Kelly Johnson, Julia Wenegrat, Dr. Beau Reilly, Dr. Raphe Bernier, Dr. Ari Stevens, Jen Gerdtz, Tracey Ward

Dr. Raphael Bernier
Dr. Raphael Bernier
Principal Investigator
Dr. Raphe is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and an adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology. He 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. Raphe’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. Raphe's favorite pastimes are playing with his daughter and being active, whether it be rock climbing, running marathons, or doing adventure races.

Dr. Ari Stevens
Dr. Ari Stevens
Clinical Psychologist

Ari Stevens, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Washington State and the Lead Clinician/Research Scientist for Simons VIP at the University of Washington Autism Center. Dr. Ari 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 Hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. Dr. Ari 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 spectrum disorders, and the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Ari loves to sing, spend time outdoors, and travel.

Dr. Kelly Johnson
Clinical Psychologist

Kelly A. Johnson, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist at the UW Autism Center (UWAC). "Dr. Kelly" received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a child clinical sub-speciality from Loyola University in Chicago, interned at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago, and received further postdoctoral training at the University of Washington's Center on Human Development and Disability. She has worked in pediatric psychology as well as neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric settings.

At the UWAC Dr. Kelly is actively involved in both the clinic as well as the research teams. This overlap provides great opportunities for Dr. Kelly to use her clinical understanding to inform research activities and vice versa. In addition, families seen through UWAC research projects have the opportunity to obtain further clinical consultation with Dr. Kelly (or other psychologists) through the UWAC clinic, if they choose.

Dr. Kelly's free time is usually spent trying to keep up with her active children!

Katy Ankenman

Katy Ankenman, M.S.W. is a social worker and clinician for Simons VIP at the UWAC. Katy received her M.S.W. in 2007 from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and she holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Katy has worked with a wide variety of children and adults in both educational and outpatient therapeutic settings. Her research interests include the genetics of autism and related developmental disabilities, characterization of the broad autism phenotype, and treatment outcomes for children diagnosed with ASD. In her spare time Katy enjoys hiking, biking, and cheering on the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks.

Julia Wenegrat
Julia Wenegrat
Research Coordinator
Julia received her B.A. in Sociology from Reed College in 2003 and is currently studying for a Marriage and Family Therapy M.A. at Pacific Lutheran University. After graduation Julia plans to work in the Seattle area with children and families. Julia was a research assistant at the SRI International neuroscience lab in Menlo Park, California, and then joined the team at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health as Clinical Research Coordinator before coming to the University of Washington Autism Center. Julia loves to sail, and has over 7,000 miles at sea, including a transpacific passage from Hawaii’i to San Francisco.

Tracey Ward
Research Assistant

Tracey Ward is a research study coordinator for the Simons Simplex Collection Study and a research assistant for the S-VIP Study. Tracey graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Human Rights. Before joining the UWAC, she worked as an in-home therapist and worked as a lead research assistant at John Gottman's Relationship Research Institute. Tracey is an avid volunteer abroad where she has taught English, worked on building schools, and worked to implement community development programs. Locally she has worked on organizing and being an advocate of immigration issues faced by Cambodian-Americans. In her free time Tracey enjoys traveling, volunteering, surfing, and Seattle coffee shops. She hopes to continue her education in psychology in the future.

Hana Alupay
Research Assistant

Hana Alupay received her B.A. degree in Biochemistry and Psychology from the University of Washington in 2009. As an undergraduate research volunteer, Hana worked on the Simons Simplex Collection Project and developed a strong interest in understanding the genetic causes of autism. Her future plan of attending medical school has propelled her to return as a research assistant to further her experience and knowledge in medical genetics. Hana hopes to one day work in public health medicine on both a local and international basis. In her free time Hana enjoys writing music and traveling.