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Welcoming a New Leader for the Life Course Outcomes Research Program

Headshot of Matthew Lerner in front of the Paul Peck Center.

September 21, 2023

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute would like to warmly welcome our newest faculty member, Matthew Lerner, PhD, Associate Professor and Life Course Outcomes (LCO) Research Program Leader. Dr. Lerner brings expertise and passion to our institute, and we are excited to have him on our team. He spent the last ten years as an Assistant and tenured Associate Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, where he directed the Social Competence and Treatment Lab. He was a Founder and Research Director of the Stony Brook Autism Initiative and the Stony Brook LEND Center Co-Founder. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia. He completed his internship in Child Clinical Psychology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He completed Fellowships in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities at the University of Illinois – Chicago and in Evolutionary and Ontogenetic Dynamics through the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. He has provided clinical services for hundreds of children, adolescents, and adults in hospital, clinical, educational, and community settings. Before his time in academia, he founded the Spotlight Program at the Northeast Arc in Massachusetts, a year-round social competence and confidence development program. He served more than 200 individuals annually and was the basis for an inclusive intervention model he and his team developed over the last 20 years.

At the heart of Dr. Lerner's research lies a dedication to understanding the intricate processes underlying youth's social development. His work explores perception, cognition, and behavior to develop new models of social functioning and may be positively influenced through intervention. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters; he serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, on the Editorial Boards of 7 other academic outlets, and as the Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Autism Research.

Dr. Lerner has received grants from organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Simons Foundation, the Medical Foundation, the American Psychological Association, the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has received several acknowledgments and awards, including the Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology from the Society of Clinical Psychology, the Sara S. Sparrow Early Career Research Award, the Susan Nolen-Hoeksema Early Career Research Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, the Richard "Dick" Abidin Early Career Award from the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, the Transformative Contributions Award from the Autism & Developmental Disabilities SIG of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the Rising Star designation from the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Lerner is excited to contribute to the vibrant team at the Autism Institute focused on understanding what constitutes positive outcomes across the lifespan for people on the autism spectrum, including key stakeholders across the research process to ensure those outcomes are significant, and developing and implementing interventions, systems, programs, policies, and communities that help individuals to achieve those outcomes. He and his team look forward to working closely with those within the LCO and across the Autism Institute and beyond to help build a better, more inclusive world for those on the autism spectrum. The Autism Institute is thrilled to welcome him to our team, and we look forward to the work we can do together.