CAPTeam - Team members

Dr Kristelle Hudry, Senior Lecturer, Developmental Psychology

Kristelle has been conducting research on early childhood autism for around 20 years, from the time of her PhD research, beginning in 2001 at the University of Queensland. From 2005, she spent five post-doctoral years abroad in London, UK. In 2010, she returned to Australia to join La Trobe University where she holds a continuing Teaching and Research appointment and leads the CAPTeam.

Dr Cherie C. Green, Research Fellow

Cherie graduated with her PhD in 2013, and since then her research focus has been on child and caregiver outcomes from early intervention for pre-schoolers with autism. Her work is underpinned by an interest in understanding social communication and behaviour within the context of early autism diagnosis and support to optimise developmental trajectories and overall outcomes.

Dr Jodie Smith, Research Fellow

Jodie is a Research Fellow and Speech Pathologist, whose past clinical experience underlies her passion for research which aims to promote the expertise of parents in optimising communication outcomes for children. Jodie completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2018, and her current research focuses on parent-mediated interventions which support child communication development. These interventions may be delivered pre-emptively, to children showing early signs of autism, or to older children post- diagnosis.

Dr Catherine A. Bent, Research Fellow

Cathy completed her PhD at La Trobe University in 2018, and her thesis won the University’s 2018 Nancy Millis Medal (awarded to the top 5% of doctoral theses). Her thesis “Factors associated with The Age of Diagnosis of Autism in Australia: Barriers and Enablers to Early Identification” also won the Australian Psychological Society PIDA award. Cathy’s work is focused on understanding development and individual differences among children on the autism spectrum.

Dr Rhylee Sulek, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Rhylee completed her PhD in Allied Health Sciences at Griffith University in 2019. This project investigated transitions to school for children with autism, with a focus on teacher understanding and use of autism specific evidence-based practices. She was since worked with research groups aiming to improve school entry outcomes for developmentally vulnerable children in the community. Dr Sulek’s current research focuses on evaluating developmental outcomes for children receiving group-based early intervention, with a particular interest in the transition from early intervention/education into school.

Lacey Chetcuti, Research Officer

Lacey Chetcuti is a Research Officer and PhD candidate. Her research interests are centred on understanding the fundamental nature of autism and autism subtypes, including through explorations of novel technologies such as eye-tracking. For her PhD research, Lacey has studied the ways in which young children with autism are inherently different from each other with regard to temperament, and how this relates to later autism and developmental outcomes.

Alexandra Aulich, Senior Project Coordinator

Alex joined the growing CAPTeam in 2020 as Study Coordinator for our new Clinical Trial, The CUB Study and has worked in professional autism research roles for the last 5 years. Alex assists with our family engagement and support, is also the administrator for ADOS Training.

A strong student cohort of graduate research students, clinical masters and honours students also make up the team.

Childhood Autism Phenotype Team (CAPTeam)

CAPTeam - Current studies

CAPTeam - Student research

CAPTeam - Findings and publications