Lab Director: Micheal Sandbank, Ph.D.
Micheal Sandbank is an assistant professor and area coordinator of the Early Childhood Special Education program in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She has a PhD in Special Education from Vanderbilt University, with a focus in early childhood special education and a doctoral minor in neuroscience. Prior to completing her graduate studies, Dr. Sandbank worked with individuals with disabilities across the lifespan, both as a special education teacher and a private clinician.
Doctoral Research Assistants
Susanne Albarran, M.Ed., BCBA
Susanne is a doctoral student with a focus in Early Childhood Special Education. She holds her undergraduate and master’s degrees in special education from The University of Texas at Austin. Susanne began her career in an early childhood intervention program, and continues to support children and their families through her clinical work as a behavior analyst. Her research interests include parent implemented interventions, and language development of young children with autism.
Jenna Crank is a doctoral student in Early Childhood Special Education at UT Austin. She has a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from UT Austin. Jenna has worked with young children with disabilities in early intervention clinics for four years. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions for improving language and communication outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorder.
Briana Brukilacchio, M. Ed.
Briana Brukilacchio is a doctoral student in School Psychology at UT Austin, specializing in pediatric neuropsychology. She has a master’s degree in education with a focus on human development and psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Briana has worked with children on the autism spectrum since 2006, including a two year research assistantship with Dr. Helen Tager-Flusberg at the Center for Autism Research Excellence (CARE) at Boston University. Her research interests are related to the neuropsychological profiles associated with autism, epilepsy, and other developmental disorders in children.
Nicolette Sammarco Caldwell, M.Ed., BCBA
Nicolette is a doctoral candidate in Special Education with a focus in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She has a master’s degree in Special Education from UT Austin. Nicolette began her career teaching special education in Ecuador as a US Peace Corps volunteer and now works as a behavior analyst for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her research interests include parent training and interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorders, focusing on pivotal skills such as joint attention, play, and imitation.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Kayley Hoag is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. She is working toward a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders as well as a minor in American Sign Language. Kayley has research interests revolving around language acquisition in children with developmental language disorders. She serves as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the UT Brain and Language Lab.