Nicole McDonald, PhD
Assistant Clinical Professor,
UCLA Semel Institute
Dr. Nicole McDonald is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the early identification of ASD. As an Attending Psychologist at the UCLA Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental (CAN) Clinic, Dr. McDonald conducts ASD-focused evaluations, primarily in young children, and family-based treatment of behavior problems in preschool-aged children (e.g., PCIT), and she oversees the clinic practicum program.
Dr. McDonald’s research integrates brain-based (fNIRS, EEG) and naturalistic behavioral methods to study early social and emotional development in infants with elevated risk for ASD. She is a member of the Baby Siblings Research Consortium, with much of her past research focusing on infants with familial risk for ASD and, more recently, children with genetic conditions (e.g., TSC). Currently, she has a K23 award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to longitudinally study early brain and social development in high-risk infants who experienced extended NICU hospitalizations. It is Dr. McDonald’s eventual goal to apply the information gained from her longitudinal studies and clinical experiences to develop family-based interventions to improve early social development in at-risk infants.
- 2004 – University of California, San Diego, BA Psychology
- 2013 – University of Miami, PhD
Research & clinical interests
UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment, 2016- present
Oversee clinical and behavioral data collection for a longitudinal study of high-risk infants, and an early intervention study for infants/toddlers with tuberous sclerosis complex. Conduct neurodevelopmental assessments and treatment, and supervise clinical psychology externs and interns at the Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental (CAN) Clinic. Lead monthly infant/toddler assessment training meetings and conduct didactic training at CAN Clinic. Lead CAN Clinic externship program.
Yale Child Study Center, 2013 – 2016
Conducted assessments for research studies, provided behavioral treatment for families, co-developed and led community outreach groups for adults with autism and parents of individuals with autism. Received training in Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). Primary clinician for Roche VANILLA study.
NYU Child Study Center, 2012 – 2013
Conducted assessments and provided evidence-based treatments to children and adolescents in a university-based outpatient treatment facility.
Bellevue Hospital Center, 2012 – 2013
Provided treatment, consultation/liaison, and assessment services in an inpatient psychiatric unit and outpatient psychiatric and pediatric clinics in a large public hospital.
Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 2009 – 2012
Provided outpatient therapy and assessments (Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic), forensic assessments (Child Protection Team), and consultation/liaison, brief treatment, and neuropsychological assessments (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology unit).
University of Miami
Infant Sibling Studies (2007 to 2012) – Administered assessment measures as part of longitudinal studies of young children at risk for autism.
Autism Spectrum Assessment Clinic (2011 to 2012) – Conducted assessments with children and young adults with suspected autism spectrum disorder.
Psychological Services Center (2008 to 2011) – Conducted therapy and assessments with children and adolescents at a university-based clinic.