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Principal Investigator

Dr. Clare Harrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill. She is a member of the UNC Autism Center and an Investigator at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. She is affiliated with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities and faculty in the DAHS Office of Research and Scholarship. Dr. Harrop received her BSc. in Psychology from Durham University, her MSc. in Reading, Language and Cognition from the University of York, and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychopathology from the University of Manchester. She completed postdoctoral training at the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment and UNC Chapel Hill. In her spare time, Clare can be found spending time with her family, crafting, or listening to true crime podcasts.

Email:  Twitter: clareharrop85

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Tyler McFayden is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow with UNC’s Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. She received her B.S. in Psychology and Education from Davidson College and her Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from Virginia Tech. Tyler’s research focuses on social communication and language in autistic youth; she works primarily on Dr. Harrop’s R01 studying sex and gender in autism. Outside of work, Tyler loves gardening, thrift shopping, and tracking down the best local kombucha.  





Research Assistants

Amanda Neal is a post-baccalaureate research assistant with the Harrop Lab. Previously, she worked at Duke’s Early Experiences and the Developing Brain Lab as a Research Technician and attended the University of Tennessee – Knoxville where she graduated with a degree in Neuroscience. While at UTK, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant with the Infant Language and Perceptual Learning Lab. Amanda plans to attend graduate school and aims to study mental health impacts in children.




PhD Students

Jessie Goldblum is a doctoral candidate in Developmental Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill. Jessie splits her time in the Harrop Lab and the Brain and Early Experiences Lab studying the development of early social communication, novel methods for social communication assessment, and disparities in access to services and diagnostics faced by autistic youth. Under the mentorship of Dr. Harrop, Jessie leads the TRAVEL Study, which seeks to validate a virtual and remote eye-tracking screener for young children at risk for social communication problems. Jessie completed her BA in Psychology, Art History, and Italian at Emory University. In her spare time, Jessie enjoys spending time with her loved ones and playing with her two pups, Junior and Tallulah.



Orla Putnam is a third-year doctoral student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at UNC and a current LEND trainee. Orla earned a BS in Human Development at the University of California San Diego, where she worked at the UCSD Autism Center studying sex differences using eye-tracking. Orla’s current studies focus on the experiences of autistic women and language use in autistic children. She is particularly interested in masking, communication, and neurodiversity. In her free time, Orla enjoys knitting, reading, and playing with her dog, Lacey.

Email: | Twitter: @OrlaPutnam




Stephanie is a doctoral student in the Occupational Science program at UNC Chapel Hill. She completed her BA in Exercise and Sport Science and Spanish at UNC and her MS in Occupational Therapy at the Medical University of South Carolina. She previously worked as a pediatric occupational therapist in SC before returning to UNC to pursue her PhD. Her interest involve human-animal interaction and how autism assistance dogs can benefit autistic children and their families. In her free time she enjoys riding and competing her horse, Ballenger and spending time with her two golden retrievers, Finnley and Bentley.



Masters Students

Undergraduate Research Assistants


Roshni Ammanamanchi is a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina pursuing a Psychology B.S. major and a Spanish for the Medical Professions minor. After graduating, she plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. In the future, she hopes to become a therapist for children and adolescents and eventually open up her own clinical practice. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and spending time with her cat Ash.





Annie Flanagan is a senior from Boston, MA. She is pursuing a BAEd. in Human Development & Family Studies as well as a B.A. in Music and a minor in Conflict Management. After undergrad at Carolina, Annie plans to pursue graduate study to continue working with neurodiverse populations. Annie hopes to work in a clinical setting with adolescents while researching. In her free time, Annie enjoys cycling, petting dogs, and cheering on Tar Heel athletics as a member of the Marching Tar Heels.





Lab Alum