Postdoctoral Training Program in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research

Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison


Research began in 1995 with funding from NICHD and the Waisman Center. The program provides multidisciplinary training in social, epidemiological, behavioral, and biobehavioral research on intellectual and developmental disabilities. The emphasis of the program is on understanding social, affective, communicative, and family processes as they relate to intellectual and developmental disabilities.


The program includes a set of experiences common to all fellows, but is individualized to meet the needs, interests, and professional goals of individual fellows. Each fellow completes a program of research training and a core curriculum.

Research training includes:

  • Planning and conducting independent research
  • Collaborating with program faculty on research
  • Participating in regular research meetings with mentors

The core curriculum includes:

  • Seminars on biobehavioral research, theory, and methods in developmental disabilities and human development
  • Seminars on research design and data analysis
  • Seminars on race, ethnicity, and culture
  • Seminars on research ethics
  • Seminars on professional development, including obtaining extramural research funding.


  • To ensure consideration, please submit all application materials by January 16, 2017.


Applicants should provide the following electronically in one PDF in the order listed below to

  1. Cover letter (addressed to Marsha R. Mailick, PhD)
  2. Application Form
    Click here to access the fillable form
  3. Curriculum vitae
  4. A Personal Statement
    Click here for points to be covered in the personal statement
  5. Dissertation summary or abstract
  6. Publications / Papers (3)
  7. References (3 - 4)
    Please ask individuals submitting references to send their letters in pdf format directly to Marsha R. Mailick, PhD, at


The training program is located at the Waisman Center and is fully integrated into its scientific activities. The Waisman Center is home to one of the original Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC) funded by NICHD since 1973. The IDDRC supports the research efforts of more than 50 behavioral and biomedical scientists from 25 academic departments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


2016-17 fellows and their graduate programs:  

  • Andrea Barton-Hulsey, PhD, Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Lauren Usher, PhD, University of Miami

2015-16 fellows and their graduate programs:

  • Lauren Bishop-Fitzpatrick, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
  • Wai Chan, PhD, Purdue University 
  • Douglas Dean, PhD, Brown University
  • Philip Lai, PhD, San Diego State University and University of California San Diego
  • Daniel Laxman, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Previous fellows have gone on to faculty positions at University of Arizona; Boston University; Brandeis University; California State University, Fullerton; University of California, Davis; University of California, San Francisco; Cincinnati Children's Hospital; Harvard University; Ohio State University; Penn State University; Portland State University; University of Georgia; University of Minnesota; University of Missouri; University of Missouri-St. Louis; University of New Mexico; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Vanderbilt University; and Drexel University.


  • Marsha R. Mailick, PhD, Vaughan Bascom and Elizabeth M. Boggs Professor, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education
    Families of persons with developmental disabilities, including autism, fragile x syndrome, Down syndrome; life course development of individuals and families; epidemiology of neurodevelopmental disabilities
  • Andrew Alexander, PhD, Professor of Medical Physics and Psychiatry
    Technologies and applications for brain imaging in infants, children and intellectual and developmental disorders
  • Bradley Christian, PhD, Associate Professor, Medical Physics and Psychiatry
    PET Imaging of the Natural History of Amyloid Deposition in Adults with Down Syndrome
  • Richard J. Davidson, PhD, William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
    Neural bases of emotional style in atypical and typical development; methods to promote human flourishing
  • Maureen Durkin, PhD, DrPH, Professor, Population Health Sciences and Pediatrics
    Epidemiology of developmental disabilities, surveillance of autism spectrum disorders and cerebral palsy
  • Susan Ellis Weismer, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, College of Letters and Science, and Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
    Children with autism; late-talking children; children with specific language impairment who have developmental delays in language but normal-range cognitive abilities
  • H. Hill Goldsmith, PhD, Fluno Bascom Professor of Psychology
    Risk and resilience for developmental psychopathology and developmental disabilities; Genetics and biological approaches to affective development
  • Jan S. Greenberg, PhD, Professor, School of Social Work
    The physical health and psychological well-being of families of adolescents and adults with disabilities
  • Sigan Hartley, PhD, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
    Resources and contexts underlying positive well-being in individuals with developmental disabilities and their families
  • Katherine Hustad, PhD, Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders
    Understanding and fostering the advancement of speech, language, and communication development in children with cerebral palsy
  • Janet Lainhart, MD, Professor, Psychiatry
    Longitudinal changes in brain structure/microstructure and clinical symptoms from childhood to adulthood in autism
  • Ruth Litovsky, PhD, Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders
    Auditory perception, development, hearing loss, restoration of hearing, cochlear implants
  • Julie Poehlmann, PhD, Professor and Chair, Human Development and Family Studies
    Developmental psychopathology; social, emotional and cognitive development in high risk infants, young children, and their families
  • Seth D. Pollak, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Anthropology, and Pediatrics (Program Co-Director)
    The role that early experiences in children's lives have on development of brain structure, function, and mental health
  • Karl S. Rosengren, PhD, Professor, Psychology and Human Development & Family Studies
    Cognitive and motor development across the lifespan
  • Jenny Saffran, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology
    Language acquisition and learning in typically- and atypically-developing infants and toddlers
  • Leann Smith, PhD,  Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
    The role of the family in supporting lifespan development for individuals with developmental disabilities
  • Audra Sterling, PhD, Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders
    Language and cognitive development of children with neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Brittany Travers, PhD, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology
    Motor and brain development in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders




This program is supported by NICHD grant T32 HD07489, with additional funding from the Waisman Center & The Friends of the Waisman Center.