FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – As National Autism Day (April 2) and World Autism Awareness Month (April)is upon us, Nova Southeastern University would like to assist reporters working on related stories. NSU is home to several Subject Matter Experts in the area of autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, autism behavioral conditions, research, educational models and more. Below are brief bios on several SMEs.

Susan Kabot, Ed.D., CCC-SLP - Director, Autism Consortium; Director, Clinical Programs, Mailman Segal Center for Human Development

Subject Areas: Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autism Behavioral Change

About: Susan S. Kabot, Ed.D., CCC-SLP, is the executive director of The Autism Institute at NSU's Mailman Segal Center for Human Development. Kabot oversees the Baudhuin Preschool; Starting Right, a parent-child early intervention program for children 18-36 months; the Autism Consortium, which provides outreach services to school districts around the country; and the Unicorn Children's Foundation Clinic. She also teaches autism courses at both the master's and doctoral level at NSU and serves as a dissertation chair and member. Kabot has been active at the local, state and national level in a variety of organizations addressing the needs of individuals with autism, their families and the professionals who serve them. She has spent nearly 30 years developing and administering programs in the area of autism. Her graduate training was in the areas of special education, speech-language pathology, and management of programs for children and youth. Susan is a Florida and Tennessee licensed speech-language pathologist and holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Kabot is the author of "Setting up Classroom Spaces that Support Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders" and "Building Independence: Structured Work Systems for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders," both published by Autism Asperger Publishing Company (AAPC). She has graduate degrees in Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology, and a doctoral degree in the Management of Programs for Children and Youth. Kabot is a Florida licensed speech-language pathologist and holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech/Language/Hearing Association.

She is active in community autism organizations, serving on the Panel of Professional Advisors for the Autism Society and the Advisory Committee for the JAFCO Family Resource and Respite Center in Fort Lauderdale. She was appointed to the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council by former Governor Charlie Crist, where she is the Chair of the Program Planning and Evaluation Committee and serves on the Health Care and Self-Advocacy Leadership Task Forces. Susan is also the parent of an adult son with autism.

Roni Cohen Leiderman, Ph.D. - Dean, NSU's Mailman Segal Center for Human Development

Subject Areas: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Early Childhood Development, Parenting

About: Roni Cohen Leiderman, Ph.D. is an educator, author, speaker and consultant in the fields of child development, family relationships, work/family issues, parenting, and autism. She currently serves as the Dean of NSU's Mailman Segal Center for Human Development. Under her leadership, the center has grown to be one of the nation's largest multidisciplinary demonstration and professional training centers in the field.

Leiderman earned a BS in education, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Boston University; a master's in Education from Lesley College; and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from NSU. She serves as a clinical professor in NSU's Health Professions Division; College of Osteopathic Medicine's Department of Pediatrics and is a visiting faculty member for NSU's Department of Pediatric Dentistry in the College of Dental Medicine. Leiderman is a licensed Supreme Court Family Mediator for the State of Florida.

Leiderman is the lead advisor and on air-professional for the Obesity Education Campaign series, funded through a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. She is also a member of the Expert Advisory Board for the Early Moments Matter Toolkit of the Relationship Research Institute, is on the Advisory Board for Children's Health Magazine, and participates as a member of the Medical Advisory Board for BabyCenter.com, a Johnson & Johnson-owned company. She is a featured speaker at professional conferences including the keynote speaker at the Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress Conference (ISEC) held at Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland. Leiderman has completed the Harvard University Institute for Management and Leadership in Education program through their Graduate School of Education.

Richard Deth, Ph.D. - Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, NSU's College of Pharmacy

Subject Areas: Environmental and genetic factors contributing to autism (also ADHD and Down syndrome)

About: Richard Deth, Ph.D., is a professor and molecular neuroscientist in NSU's College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He joined NSU in September 2014 after 38 years on the faculty of Northeastern University in Boston. His research interest is directed toward understanding how antioxidant status in the brain shapes neurodevelopment and influences cognitive function across the lifespan. This includes a focus on the environmental and genetic factors that cause oxidative stress and contribute to autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2003, Deth published a monograph titled "Molecular Origins of Human Attention: The Dopamine-Folate Connection."

Studies from Deth's laboratory demonstrated the important epigenetic influence of oxidative stress on DNA methylation and gene expression, leading him to formulate the "Redox/Methylation Hypothesis of Autism." His recent work has revealed the ability of morphine and gluten and casein-derived opiate peptides to restrict antioxidant resources, helping to explain the benefits of a gluten-free/casein-free (GF/CF) diet. Additional studies have revealed age-dependent changes in brain levels of vitamin B12 as well as significant deficits in both autism and schizophrenia.

Ana Maria Castejon, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, NSU's College of Pharmacy (fluent in Spanish)

Subject Areas: Pharmacology and research of oxidative stress related to autism, behavioral change related to autism

About: Ana Maria Castejon, Ph.D., is a pharmacist with a Ph.D. in pharmacology and has been in academia for more than 15 years. She is currently the principal investigator (PI) of an ongoing multidisciplinary research study about the role of glutathione in autism. This multidisciplinary study involves different NSU academic centers and is the first investigator-Initiated clinical trial at NSU. As the PI of this project, Castejon is in charge of designing and implementing a study investigating a nutritional supplement and its role in behavioral changes in children with autism. In addition, she was responsible for creating a protocol and method to quantify glutathione in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Castejon is also serving as co-PI for the Diabetes Literacy and Self-efficacy Screening and Training Project (Project DLASST) funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This project strives to reach the underserved Hispanic diabetic population by providing free screenings and educational services spearheaded by pharmacists.

Other research projects Castejon has been part of in recent years include, Statins Modulation of Oncolytic Vesicular Stomatitis Virus, and Vascular Dysregulation During and After Statins Withdrawal: Role of Small GTPases, and Withdrawal of Statins and Vascular Dysfunction. Over the past five years, Castejon has served as a reviewer for several textbooks, research grant applications, and scientific peer-reviewed articles, including reputable publications such as the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and primary pharmacology textbooks such as Principles of Pharmacology by Golan and Pharmacology by Lippincott. Castejon has also authored and published several scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented her results in more than 50 national and international scientific meetings.