Solomon Lab

Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D. Principal Investigator

Dr. Solomon is a licensed clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine.  Her work is primarily focused on high functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). She studies and implements school and clinical intervention programs to help children and adolescents with ASDs. Her current research efforts extend to using cognitive neuroscience methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to study cognitive control; learning, motivation, and rewards processing; functional connectivity; and neurodevelopment from early adolescence through young adulthood in individuals affected by ASDs.

Erika Bickel, B.S.

Erika BickelSenior Clinical Research Coordinator
B.S. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, B.A. Psychology, University of California, San Diego

Erika Bickel is a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator working in Dr. Marjorie Solomon’s Lab. She is a Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) certified CCRP and has experience in both sponsor and investigator initiated clinical trials in pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and Fragile X syndrome. Erika works primarily on the Specifying and Treating the Anxiety Phenotype in Autism Spectrum Disorder (STAAR) study by providing oversight and facilitating day-to-day study activities. She enjoys interacting with the variety of clinicians involved in the project as well as the study participants and their families.

Surina Bothra, B.A.

Surina Bothra, B.A.Junior Specialist
B.A. Psychology, Minor in Asian American Studies, Scripps College, 2021

Surina Bothra is a Junior Specialist in Dr. Marjorie Solomon’s lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute. She graduated from Scripps College in 2021 with a B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in Asian American Studies. For her senior thesis at Scripps, Surina conducted independent mixed-methods research that examined parental stress in Asian American and non-Asian American parents of children with developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has worked with children of all ages in a variety of educational and clinical roles, including as a special education intern and Registered Behavioral Technician. Surina currently coordinates the Specifying and Treating Anxiety in Autism Research (STAAR) study. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in pediatric neuropsychology, specifically focusing on providing culturally-sensitive services in underserved communities.

Cory C. Coleman, B.S.

Cory ColemanJunior Specialist
B.S. Psychology, Minor in Computer Science, University of Oregon

Cory Coleman is a Technical Junior Specialist for the Autism Phenome Project and the Cognitive Control in Autism (CoCoA) study. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Computer Science, where he completed a thesis using machine learning techniques to gain insights into nematode locomotion behavior. He currently employs data analysis tools to attempt to uncover clinically relevant subtypes of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since receiving an adult diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome/Autism in 2012, Cory has enjoyed working with others on the Autism Spectrum, serving as a co-leader in the MIND's Adult Social Skills Program (ACCESS). A lifelong student of theater and speech, Cory regularly delivers public presentations in order to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum and to advocate for the needs of others with ASD.

Kali Kecskemeti, B.A.

Kali KecskemetiJunior Specialist
B.A. Intensive Psychology, Minor in Education, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2020

Kali Kecskemeti is a Junior Specialist in Dr. Marjorie Solomon’s lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2020 with a B.A. in Intensive Psychology and a Minor in Education. As an undergraduate, Kali worked in the Early Social Interaction Lab (ESIL) with Professor Audun Dahl, where she studied helping behaviors in infants and investigated how students from various backgrounds understand different cultures and religions. She was also a research assistant in the Athena Lab with Professor Steve Whittaker, where she assisted in developing and testing a conversational chatbot. Kali has worked with children of various ages in school and research settings. She is currently coordinating the Autism Phenome Project (APP). In the future, Kali is interested in pursuing a career in educational psychology.

Marie Krug, Ph.D.

Marie Krug, Ph.D.Assistant Project Scientist
B.S., Neuroscience, Union College
Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of California, Davis

Dr. Krug is an Assistant Project Scientist working in Dr. Marjorie Solomon's Lab. She is a cognitive neuroscientist with expertise in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and cognitive control. In the Solomon Lab, Dr. Krug works primarily on the Cognitive Control in Autism (CoCoA) study. She is investigating the behavioral and neural signatures of cognitive control during adolescence and young adulthood in both typically developing and autism populations. She is also interested in emotion processing and risky decision-making in autism. Her goal is to facilitate the use of cognitive neuroscience methods to increase our understanding of autism spectrum disorders.

Emma Smith, B.A.

Emma Smith, B.A.Junior Specialist
B.A. Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, 2020

Emma Smith is a Junior Specialist in Dr. Marjorie Solomon’s lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute. She graduated from UCLA in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in Biomedical Research. As an undergraduate, Emma did her senior thesis under Dr. Adriana Galván while working on the Development of Anxiety in Youth Study (DAYS). Specifically, Emma investigated the link between rumination and sleep quality in adolescents. At UCLA, Emma also was the Lead Research Assistant in Dr. Alissa Ellis’s thinkSMART Lab, where she delivered thinkSMART, a behavioral intervention aimed at improving executive functioning, to adolescents. She has presented her research at multiple conferences and also works for Dr. Ellis’s private practice. Emma currently coordinates the Autism Phenome Project (APP). She plans to pursue a career in neuroscience and use her findings to inform juvenile justice policy.

Rachel Wulff, B.A.

Rachel WulffAssistant Clinical Research Coordinator
B.A. Neuroscience, Wellesley College, 2018

Rachel Wulff is a Junior Specialist in Dr. Marjorie Solomon’s Lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2018 with a B.A. in Neuroscience, and a minor in German Studies. As an undergrad, she worked in Dr. Christen Deveney’s lab investigating neuronal markers of emotion regulation and attention using electroencephalography (EEG). In Dr. Jeremy Wilmer’s Lab, she helped develop a new test to assess emotional facial recognition. Rachel currently works as a study coordinator for the Cognitive Control in Autism (CoCoA) study. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in cognitive neuroscience and help disseminate exciting brain research to the public.

Sebastian Xu

Sebastian XuLab Assistant

Sebastian Xu joined the Solomon lab as a CoCoA Study Volunteer in the summer of 2017, and was hired into his current position in 2019. He assists in the scoring and entry of many of the questionnaires and interviews that participants and their families complete during their visits. Sebastian loves working on computers and he frequently uses his talent with Microsoft Office in his work in the Solomon Lab. Sebastian is currently expanding his repertoire by taking classes in graphic design and graphic vernacular. His favorite part of being in the Solomon Lab is interacting with the research assistants.