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ndrd@chp.edu
Ph: 412-692-9955
Fax: 412-692-9900

Mail:
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children's Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

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NDRD Team Members

Dr. Escolar

Maria Escolar, MD, MS
Director

Dr. Escolar established the NDRD in 2002 to help children and their families understand the overall effects of rare neurological diseases on child development. Dr. Escolar is a graduate of the Escuela Colombiana de Medicina. She has a Master of Science in human nutrition from Columbia University and completed a residency in general pediatrics and fellowship in child development and behavior at Cornell University Medical Center in 1995. Dr. Escolar is board-certified in neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Dr. Escolar is board-certified in neurodevelopmental disabilities and has 15 years of experience as a practicing clinician and researcher. Dr. Escolar has written multiple original manuscripts, including two published in the New England Journal of Medicine. She is nationally and internationally known for her work in the neurodevelopment of children with leukodystrophies and mucopolysaccharidosis. Her research focuses on behavioral and neuroimaging outcome measurements.


Michelepoe

Michele Poe, PhD
Statistician, Research Manager

Dr. Poe is the lead statistician and NDRD Research Manager. She has been the primary statistician for the NDRD since 2003. Dr. Poe worked previously at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC), where she was involved in a variety of longitudinal research studies on autism and typical neurologic development. Dr. Poe's research interests include finite population statistics and the analysis of longitudinal neurodevelopmental data and neuroimaging data. Dr. Poe was also a member of the statistical core of the UNC Neurodevelopmental Research Center (NIH P30HD03110) from 2003 to 2011.


Wang

Xiao Hui Wang, PhD
Senior Clinical and Regulatory Coordinator

Xiao Hui Wang received her M.D. degree from Shanghai Second Medical College, her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and her M.S. in Information Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. She has many years of clinical and research experience in child development, neuroscience, medical imaging and women’s health. She joined the NDRD in 2016 as a Senor Clinical and Regulatory Coordinator to oversee all aspects of clinical research regulatory compliance with applicable regulations and standards, and perform overall management of projects to ensure that all work is conducted in a timely, complete and accurate manner.


Garmer

Katherine Garmer, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC


Yanniello

Brie Yanniello
Program Coordinator


Martin

Jodi Martin
Research Coordinator

Ms. Martin has a Master of Science degree from La Roche College and has joined the NDRD team as a Research Coordinator. She has worked for the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC in similar positions over the last 11 years. Her experience includes recruitment, budgeting, managing the care of participants participating in research, ensuring compliance with protocol procedures, assessments, reporting requirements as well as management of symptoms.


Updyke

Jane Updyke, MD
Research Coordinator


Alhaj

Sandra Alhaj, MS
Research Coordinator


Guzolik

Hannah Guzolik, MS
Research Technician

Hannah joined the Program for Neurodevelopment in Rare Disorders team in August 2019 as a Research Technician. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Colgate University and a Master's degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Pittsburgh.


Pitcairn

Dayna Pitcairn, MA, CCC-SLP
Lead Speech Language Pathologist

Dayna has more than 20 years experience assessing, treating, and researching speech and language skills of children. Clinical responsibilities have included assessing and treating children with developmental speech and language deficits, speech and language deficits due to hearing loss, central auditory processing difficulties, and word retrieval deficits. She has worked with children with epilepsy and cerebral palsy, and children with cochlear implants and/or hearing aids. As a research coordinator, Dayna was responsible for the administration of several NIH grants and subcontracts through the Center for Research on Acquired and Neurologic Communication Disorders in Children, including a traumatic brain injury study. She has performed cognitive and speech language assessments for hundreds of children (3, 4, 6 and 9-12 years old) enrolled in a longitudinal study of Child Development/Otitis Media. Dayna has a Master degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh and is an ASHA-certified and Pennsylvania licensed speech language pathologist. In addition to participating regularly in continuing education programs, Dayna attended the 10th Annual Summer Institute in Auditory-Verbal-Therapy at the University of North Carolina and Center for Acquisition of Spoken Language Through Listening Enrichment (CASTLE) and the program for Accelerating Spoken Language Development for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children at The Moog Center for Deaf Education in St. Louis, MO.


Lynn Golightly

Lynn A.C. Golightly M.S. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Lynn has more than 5 years experience working with early intervention, assessing, treating, and researching speech and language skills of children. Clinical responsibilities have included assessing and treating children with developmental speech and language deficits, developmental apraxia of speech, dysarthria of speech, fluency disorders, and speech and language deficits due to cognitive disorders/traumatic brain injuries. She evaluates and treats patients for feeding and swallowing disorders ranging in ages from infancy to adulthood. She has worked with children with epilepsy and cerebral palsy as well as children with autism spectrum disorders. Lynn has a Master degree in Speech Language Pathology from Clarion University and is an ASHA-certified and Pennsylvania licensed speech language pathologist. Her clinical responsibilities include administering Speech, Language, and psychometric tests to children with rare neurodegenerative disorders to determine their functional skills and provide recommendations for developmental intervention.


Allison Baggiano

Allison Baggiano, M.S. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Allison has more than 3 years experience assessing, treating, and researching speech and language skills of children. Clinical responsibilities include assessing and treating children with rare neurodegenerative disorders, developmental speech and language deficits, hearing loss, developmental apraxia of speech, voice disorders, fluency disorders, and speech and language deficits due to cognitive disorders/traumatic brain injuries. She has a specialty in evaluating/treating children who are deaf or hard of hearing. She has worked with children with epilepsy and cerebral palsy as well as children with autism spectrum disorders. Allison has a Master degree with a deafness specialty in Speech Language Pathology from Nazareth College of Rochester, New York and is an ASHA-certified and Pennsylvania licensed speech language pathologist.


Shannon Spady

Shannon Spady, MPT
Physical Therapist

Shannon has more than 14 years experience as a physical therapist working with pediatric patient populations. She works primarily in an outpatient setting, frequently providing assessments, treatment, and family education to individuals with cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Autism, developmental delay, and various other diagnoses. In addition, she performs equipment evaluations for patients requiring specialty medical equipment such as wheelchairs, standers, walkers, and adaptive seating. Shannon has a Master degree in Physical Therapy from Ohio University and is a Pennsylvania -licensed physical therapist. Her clinical responsibilities in the Neurodevelopment in Rare Disorders Clinic include administering gross motor standardized tests to children with rare neurodegenerative disorders to determine their functional skills and provide recommendations for developmental intervention following her assessment.


Mabel Lopez

Mabel Lopez, MD
Post-doc


Ashley Whited

Ashley Whited, MS
Intern

Ashley joined the Program for the Study of Neurodevelopment in Rare Disorders team in October 2018 while earning her Master's degree focused in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine. Ashley holds Bachelor's degrees focused in Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She is applying to medical school to pursue a career as a pediatric neurologist.


Mimi Nguyen

Mimi Nguyen
Intern


Annamaria Fort

Annamaria Fort
Student Worker

Annamaria Fort is a Sophmore at the University of Pittsburgh where she is studying psychology and neuroscience. She has been part of the NDRD team since the fall of 2018.