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Research Core Staff Spotlight: Meet Amanda Gunn

One of the three primary missions of the Thompson Center is to conduct interdisciplinary, collaborative research on the causes of and treatments for autism in an effort to improve the lives of families with autism.

a picture of Amanda Gunn

One of the ways that make’s the Thompson Center one of the premier autism research centers in the country is our staff of outstanding, expert research core members who provide logistical support to several ongoing research projects at a time. Over the course of the next several weeks, we will highlight some of the amazing research core staff who make the innovative, life-changing research conducted at the Thompson Center possible.

What’s your name?

Amanda Moffitt Gunn

Where did you grow up?

Grosse Ile, Michigan (pronounced “eel” not “aisle”).  It’s an island in the Detroit River about a quarter mile west of the Canadian border.

What is your position at the Thompson Center?

I’m a Research Specialist I

How long have you worked at the Thompson Center? 

I’ve worked at the TC is various roles off and on since 2007.  My current stint started in 2017, I think. I’ve been with the Research Core since October of 2020.

What is your role at the Thompson Center? 

I mostly collect clinical data for research purposes.  This means I conduct a lot of formal assessments like the ADOS and other developmental or cognitive tests in addition to more experimental data (like iPhone video recordings or cheek swabs or new surveys under development).

What got you interested in autism research?

I’ve always been interested in brain/behavior relationships, but I worked exclusively with MR images as an undergrad (no actual human contact).  Later in graduate school, I gained experience in working with kids and teens with ASD in various research studies, and I thought they were pretty cool to hang out with. 

What is your favorite thing about working at the Thompson Center?

My favorite thing about working at the Thompson Center is that everyone is so focused on completing their work to the highest quality in service of autistic kids and their families.  There are no slackers, no one “phones it in” (except for telehealth services!), and everyone is willing to go above and beyond.