Catherine Lord: UCLA Autism Researcher Joins GSE&IS

UCLA's George Tarjan Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry will share expertise in autism and spectrum disorders.

Catherine Lord, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and the George Tarjan Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, has received a joint appointment with the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, effective Jan. 1, 2020. She will teach in the GSE&IS division of Human Development and Psychology.

Professor Lord’s primary expertise is autism and related disorders, from toddler age through adulthood. Her research and clinical work are aimed at improving methods of identifying strengths and difficulties in individuals with possible ASD and working with families and individuals to maximize independence and well-being for all concerned. Lord has developed diagnostic instruments such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), that describe individual profiles of skills and weaknesses in longitudinal studies from age 15 months up to 30 years, with the goal of identifying protective and risk factors that influence milestones of progress over the years.

Professor Lord is also very interested in graduate training for psychologists and other clinical researchers in ASD and related fields. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association of Arts and Sciences, as well as a former chair of a National Academy of Sciences committee on the effectiveness of early intervention in ASD, a co-chair of the New York Board of Health committee on ASD and a member of the DSM 5 American Psychiatry Association’s neurodevelopmental disorders committee. Lord has over 300 referred journal publications and has been funded by NIH, Autism Speaks, and the Simons Foundation for numerous research grants.

Professor Lord has served as a Distinguished Professor-in-Residence at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the David Geffen School of Medicine since 2018. Prior to arriving at UCLA, she was the director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York Presbyterian Hospital from 2011-2018; and director of the Autism and Communication Disorder Center at the University of Michigan from 2001 to 2011.

Dr. Lord is a member of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 12, 33, and 53), the International Society in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and Development, and the Society for Research in Child Development. She serves on the Professional Advisory Committee of the International Society for Autism Research. 

Lord has been honored with the Edgar A. Doll Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association; the Irene Jakab Memorial Award from Western Psychiatry Services, University of Pittsburgh; the APA’s Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a Founding Fellow of the International Society for Autism Research and was awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Dr. Lord was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018. 

Professor Lord earned her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA (’71), her PhD in Psychology from Harvard University, and served her clinical psychology internship at the University of North Carolina. 

“As a former UCLA undergraduate, I’m so glad to be back and to be part of the GSEIS faculty and have the opportunity to work with the GSEIS students,” says Lord.