Jenny Mai Phan, Ph.D.

[Photo of a southeastern Asian woman with short highlighted brown hair smiling and wearing a polka dotted blouse in front of a tree]

On June 1, 2024, I joined George Mason University as Assistant Director of Community Engagement at the Center for Adaptive Systems for Brain-Body Interactions (CASBBI) and Research Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering and Computing.

In 2022, I began a Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (NINDS-funded T32) in the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Children's National Hospital

In 2020-2022 and at the near initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I completed a two-year fellowship training program at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Postdoctoral Fellow (NICHD-funded T32)

I serve on the Department of Health and Human Services' Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) as a Public Member (2021-2024) representing on the committee as an autistic self-advocate, mother, and researcher. 

My other appointments/volunteer services include: 

a) Executive Co-Vice Chair on the Psychology Interest Network (PIN) at the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)  

b) Communications Director of the Autistic & Neurodivergent Scholars Working for Equity in Research (ANSWER) at the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) 

c) Early Career Committee Member and DEI Committee Member on the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 33

d) DEI Committee Member on the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Group (ASDD SIG)

e) Board Member on the SPARK for Autism DEI Advisory Board

My interdisciplinary research trainings include Psychology, Applied Biopsychology, and Human Development and Family Studies. I study the interplay between stress response systems, pubertal development, and mental health. I also study biobehavioral health and physiological attunement, including stress response processes between people. I am interested in studying the adolescence experience of neurodiverse youths as they transition through puberty and how it relates to mental health. I am also interested in early puberty and sexual health education strategies and its impact on neurodiverse and gender diverse youths' mental health and relationship with their caregiver. 

I have a B.S. in psychology at the University of New Orleans and a M.S. and Ph.D. in human development and family studies at Iowa State University.

If you're looking for a guest lecturer or speaker for an event, you can check out the Events and CV pages to learn about the kinds of talks, lectures, and presentations that I've given. You can also contact me at

[Peer-reviewed journal cover page titled Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Editor-in-Chief David Beversdorf]

Our focus for this issue is evaluating the role of stress and stressors in the context of an evolutionary-stress framework and the adaptive calibration model ( in understanding autism etiology and co-occurring health conditions. 

Traditional medical models tend to focus on specific symptoms or use a deficit framework. There is a wide breadth of scientific investigations focused on stress impact on parents and caregivers of autistic individuals; however, stress research attention on autistic individuals is limited. As scientific knowledge is growing in the area of stress and autism, research is needed on the impact of stress on autistic individuals and the observed tradeoffs compensating for adaptive health outcomes. In order to better understand stress impact on autism etiology and health outcomes, an integrative approach to investigating mechanisms of stressors and risk factors as well as protective factors provide an in-depth understanding of adaptive and maladaptive outcomes. 

In broadening the scope of the impact of stress on autism and co-occurring health conditions, we aim to expand the field’s knowledge to consider both risk and protective factors that contribute to autistic phenotypes (e.g., social reciprocity, repetitive behaviors, special interests and intense focus, echolalia, sensory responsivity) and understand co-occurring health symptoms. Additionally, we invite authors to consider measurements of perceived stress and objective stress in their original research on autistic individuals.  

We are particularly interested in papers that explore the following topics:

Guest editors:

Jenny Mai Phan, Ph.D. 

Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Children’s National Hospital

Lori Hogenkamp, B.S.

Center for Adaptive Stress

David Beversdorf, Ph.D.

Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment

University of Missouri

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