Developmental and Behavioral Research Team | Research | Department of Pediatrics | UC Davis Health

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Research

  • Veronica Ahumada-Newhart, M.A., Ph.D.

    Dr. Ahumada’s research is focused broadly on the role of interactive technologies in human development and behavior in individuals with medical conditions or disabilities. Dr. Ahumada’s current research is focused on the use of tele-operated and social robots for social connectedness, inclusion, and safety. She serves as principal investigator of a $1 million dollar National Science Foundation (NSF) National Robotics Initiative grant, to create better telerobots for children who are restricted to their homes due to medical conditions or disabilities. Ahumada is also co-PI on a $1.2 million dollar University of California, Multicampus Research Projects and Initiatives grant to create telemanipulation robots for healthcare worker safety and social inclusion of individuals with medical conditions.

    Research Laboratories:


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  • Roger Scott Akins, D.O.

    Dr. Akins' research has focused on telehealth supports to families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in remote communities, partnerships between pediatric specialty providers, schools and medical home providers and utilization of complementary and alternative medicine in families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.


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  • Kathleen Angkustsiri, M.D., M.A.S.

    Dr. Angkustsiri’s research includes the behavioral and psychophysiological investigation of anxiety and social impairments in children with chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, including the influence of environmental fit and parenting. She is also involved in clinical trials in individuals with autism and fragile X syndrome. Other interests include the role of the immune system and microbiome in autism spectrum disorders.


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  • Randi Jenssen Hagerman, M.D., F.A.A.P.

    Dr. Hagerman’s research includes molecular and clinical studies in individuals with the full mutation of fragile X and those with the premutation. Studies also focus on the correlation of molecular parameters including the FMRP level and cognitive and physical features associated with fragile X syndrome. She also investigates the molecular, clinical, and pathological basis of fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). In addition, she studies the association between fragile X and autism and she has carried out many targeted treatment trials for those with fragile X syndrome, ASD as well as FXTAS.


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  • Robin L. Hansen, M.D.

    Dr. Hansen’s research involves investigation of the genetic and environmental influences on the etiology and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders. She also studies the developmental and behavioral outcomes of infants and young children at risk because of biomedical and psychosocial factors and is involved in a state-wide demonstration project to provide comprehensive developmental screening and expanded intervention services to at-risk families. Dr. Hansen is the site PI for DBPNet, a national research network of 14 sites prioritizing clinical research in developmental behavioral pediatrics.


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  • Bibiana Restrepo, M.D.

    Bibiana Restrepo, M.D.

    Dr. Restrepo’s research effort has focused on the presentation, management and outcomes of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. She has also been involved on the investigation of environmental and social vulnerabilities influencing childhood health and wellbeing. She also studies new tools and strategies to facilitate developmental and behavioral care for children living in underserved and rural areas with the goal of improving early identification and management of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and timely identification of co-occurring medical and mental health conditions. Dr. Restrepo’s work has particularly focused on strengthening the collaboration between community practitioners. She is also involved in telemedicine and teleconferencing programs with the purpose of improving care for children in remote locations, while promoting global collaborative efforts. Dr. Restrepo has also been involved in clinical trials.


  • Anisha P. Srinivasan, M.D., M.S.

    Dr. Srinivasan's research focuses on equitable access to developmental-behavioral pediatrics care through collaborative partnerships with primary care clinics and community agencies. She has a special interest in community-based participatory research.


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