Andrew Dakopolos, MA, MS, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Andrew (Andy) Dakopolos is postdoctoral scholar working under the direction of Dr. Christine Wu Nordahl and Dr. David Hessl. Andy received his Ph.D. in Intellectual Disability and Autism from Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds an M.S. in Applied Statistics from Teachers College, as well as an M.A. in Teaching from Willamette University. Andy’s background is in education, and he has over 10 years of experience teaching special education. Andy currently focuses on cognitive measurement and assessment of individuals with intellectual disability, including those who are also autistic. His work aims to better characterize cognitive profiles of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with the goals of improving our understanding of cognitive trajectories in development, characterizing cognitive phenotypes in autistic individuals, and better informing educational placement, programming, goals and interventions. His research interests include cognitive measurement and assessment, executive function, emotion regulation, and early social communication in children with autism and other developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Hosanna Kim, MD

Psychiatrist & Study Physician

Hosanna Kim, MD is a resident physician at UC Davis Health Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She received BS in biology at KAIST and completed her MD at Kyung Hee University School of Medicine in Korea. She subsequently trained as a postdoctoral researcher with the Kim/Leventhal group at UCSF studying the neurodevelopmental trajectories of children with neurodevelopmental disorders in Korea, the Navajo Nation, and the US. She is interested in working with underserved patients with ASD and their families in clinical and research settings.

Joseph Boyle, MA

Graduate Student

Joseph Boyle, MA is a first-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program working under the mentorship of Dr. Christine Wu Nordahl. Joseph comes from the D.C. metropolitan area where he received his MA in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Joseph’s research interests involves an interdisciplinary approach to better understanding of how co-occurring conditions in autistic individuals both with and without intellectual disability contribute to brain development and health outcomes with a strong emphasis on inclusivity by involving historically underrepresented autistic groups as active participants and co-researchers in his studies.

Olivia Surgent, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Olivia Surgent, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the Autism Research Training Program at the MIND Institute. She earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Surgent’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine the neurobiological mechanisms underlying behavior in children and young adults on the autism spectrum. Her ultimate goal is to broaden our understanding of the connections between the brain, the body, and the environment and develop more effective solutions to the challenges faced by individuals with developmental differences.