Investigators Current Studies Perspectives Program intervention for adults ASSET-Adolescent Social-emotional Skills Enhancement Training ADDIRC and Emotion Dysregulation Completed Studies Infant Siblings of ASD Children Categorization in Children & Adults With Autism Emotion Processing Imaging/fMRI Autism Treatment Network Autism Task Force

Principal Investigators


Nancy Minshew

Nancy J. Minshew, MD

Program Director

NIH/NICHD  Center for Excellence in Autism Research

PA Department of Health "Deciphering Altered Brain Connectivity in ASD to Improve Intervention"

Principal Investigator

NIH/NIMH "Adapting Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for ASD

Department of Defense "A Randomized Clinical Trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders"

Autism Speaks "Evidence-Based Cognitive Rehabilitation to Improve Functional Outcomes for Young Adults with ASD"


NIH/NICHD "Early Identification of Autism a Prospective Study"

Autism Speaks "Autism Treatment Network"

DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration “Autism Intervention Research Networks”
Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology

Child Neurologist

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


Dr. Minshew is the director of the Center for Excellence in Autism Research at the University of Pittsburgh in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. Over the past 20 years, she has pursued research on how individuals with autism think and how the brain functions differently in individuals with autism.  She has also supported the search for genes in autism.  Dr. Minshew's research has involved collaborations with many neuroscientists who together have developed scientific evidence for autism as a disorder of complex information processing that impacts cognitive and neurological processes resulting from altered connectivity among brain regions.  Dr Minshew is now working with several colleagues on the development of novel interventions for autism that reflect the scientific advances in the understanding of autism.

Shaun Eack, PhD

Shaun Eack, PhD
Principal Investigator

NIH/NIMH "Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for ASD"

PA Department of Health "Cognitive Enhancement Treatment"

Autism Speaks "Evidence-Based Cognitive Rehabilitation to Improve Functional Outcomes for Young Adults with Autism-Spectrum Disorders"

Department of Defense "A Randomized Clinical Trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders"

Associate Professor of Social Work and Psychiatry

University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


Dr. Eack's primary research focus is on the development, implementation and evaluation of psychosocial treatment methodologies for persons with neurodevelopmental disorders. He is the director of the Perspectives Program at the Center for Excellence in Autism Research, which is developing novel interventions for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. Eack's most recent work focuses on the application of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, a neurocognitive and social-cognitive rehabilitation program, to adults with ASD. Cognitive Enhancement Therapy is based on decades of research on brain disorders, and seeks to improve social interaction abilities in people with autism spectrum disorders through the improvement of brain function.

Carla Mazefsky, PhD

Carla Mazefsky, PhD
Principal Investigator

NIH/NICHD "Change-Sensitive Measurement of Emotion Dysregulation in ASD"

Simons Foundation/N. M. Lurie Foundation "Autism and Developmental Disabilties Inpatient Reserch Cooaborative (ADDIRC)"

Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust "Adolescent Social-Emotional Skills Enhancement Training (ASSET)"


Associate Professor

Department of Psychiatry

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Dr. Mazefsky is a licensed clinical psychologist specialized in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Mazefsky was the 2012 recipient of the Ritvo/Slifka Award for Innovation in Autism Research from the International Society for Autism Research. She is the associate editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Western PA Chapter of Autism Speaks. Dr. Mazefsky’s research has been funded by the Organization for Autism Research and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her program of research is focused on emotional dysregulation in ASD, including the identification of underlying neural mechanisms, the conceptualization, treatment, and assessment of problems with emotional control, and co-occurring depression and anxiety. While most of her research to date has focused on high-functioning adolescents with ASD, she is expanding to more of a lifespan perspective, and is now conducting research on psychiatric inpatients with ASD as part of a multisite study to better understand and improve outcomes for those most severely affected by the disorder.


Marlene Behrmann

Marlene Behrmann, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator

PA Department of Health "Inducing Plasticity in Cortical Connectivity via a Novel Intervention in ASD"

Professor of Psychology

Carnegie Mellon University
Dr. Behrmann also has appointments in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh) and in the departments of Neuroscience and Communication Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. She received a B.A. and M.A. at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, in Speech and Language Pathology, and a PhD in Psychology at the University of Toronto. Her research is on the psychological and neural mechanisms that underlie the ability to recognize visual scenes and objects (common objects, f
s and words), represent them internally in visual imagery, and interact with them through eye movements, reaching and grasping, and navigation.
The major research approach is the study of individuals who have impairment in visual perception, including individuals who have had a stroke or selective trauma, and individuals who are autistic. This behavioral/neuropsychological approach is combined with several other methodologies, including measuring accuracy and response time in normal subjects, simulating visual processes and their breakdown following brain-damage using artificial neural networks; and examining the biological substrate using functional neuroimaging to evaluate patterns of cortical activity.

Marcel Just

Marcel Adam Just, PhD

Principal Investigator

NIH/NIHCD "Systems Connectivity & Brain Activation: Imaging Studies of Language & Perception"

D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology 
Director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging

Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Just is a 15-year recipient of the NIMH Research Scientist Award, a 20-year Principal Investigator on Office of Naval Research grants related to spatial reasoning, computational modeling and individual differences, and grants from NIMH. He is the author of major theoretical and empirical publications on reasoning, cognitive modeling, language processing, visuo-spatial reasoning, individual differences, and neuroimaging. Dr. Just is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a founding Co-Director of a new brain imaging research facility (The Brain Imaging Research Center) that houses a state-of-the-art MRI scanner funded by the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Just’s research uses brain imaging (fMRI) in high-level cognitive tasks to study the neural basis of the architecture of cognition. The fMRI studies attempt to determine the underlying cortical components of the cognitive system and the nature of the collaboration among the components in many different types of tasks. The individual projects study high-level cognition, such as various working memory tasks in the language and spatial domains, sentence comprehension, mental rotation, imagery, object recognition, problem solving, and decision-making. The fMRI results are being used in the development of a theory of cognition based on the dynamic, collaborative activity of the relevant components, each drawing on its own set of relative specializations. This approach provides a mapping between cognitive function and brain activation


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2006 CeFAR at the University of Pittsburgh