Kids First Research Team

Anastasia Dimitropoulos, PhD

Anastasia Dimitropoulos, PhD

Principal Investigator for Kids First Northeast Ohio (NEO)
and oversees all activities site wide.

Dr. Dimitropoulos’s primary research currently focuses on the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional characteristics of individuals with intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities. She interested in the ways in which different neurodevelopmental disorders predispose individuals to show specific profiles or trajectories and how behavioral phenotypes inform gene-brain-behavior relationships. Much of her work has been in Prader-Willi syndrome and autism spectrum disorder, with focus on ritualistic and perseverative behavior and social-cognitive processing.
 


Melissa Armstrong-Brine, PhD

Melissa Armstrong-Brine, PhD

Metro Health Site Investigator for Kids First
and manages study enrollment at Metro Health.

Dr. Armstrong-Brine is a clinical psychologist with specialized training in both neuropsychology and pediatric psychology. She specializes in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as neuropsychological evaluation of children with complex medical conditions such as Sickle Cell Disease, Epilepsy, and Craniofacial conditions. In her current position, she directs the Metro Health interdisciplinary Autism Assessment Clinic serving children, adolescents, and adults from a diverse urban population.
 


Shanna Kralovic, DO

Shanna Kralovic, DO

University Hospitals Site Investigator for Kids First
and manages study enrollment at Metro Health.

Dr. Kralovic is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and Medical Director of the Rainbow Autism Diagnostic Clinic at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Her special interests include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders and other developmental and behavioral disorders. She is a national advocate for advancing resident and fellow education about autism.


Penelope Miron, PhD

Penelope Miron, PhD

Regulatory Manager    

Dr Miron is responsible for managing all regulatory aspects of the Kids First Project, including maintenance of the study IRB and other necessary documents to ensure compliance with CWRU and UH institutional policies. 

In her current position as a Research Scientist in the Genetics Dept at CWRU, Dr. Miron manages the Human Genetic Disorders Bio-repository, and also coordinates bio-banking efforts for various disease groups including the Ohio Brain Tumor Study, as well as studies related to Alzheimers, Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Dept of Population & Quantitative Health Sciences.


Lauren Borato

Lauren Borato

Community Study Coordinator for Kids First.

She manages the NEO database and works with organizations in the community to promote and recruit for Kids First.

Ms. Borato earned a Bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and is working toward a Masters of Public Health. In her work at CWRU, she is responsible for study design, recruitment, data acquisition, and analysis. Her research interests include the physiological bases of behavior and cognition.


Raj Rasal, MPH, CCRP

Raj Rasal, MPH, CCRP

Clinical Coordinator for University Hospitals for the KidsFirst project.

Ms. Rasal currently serves as the Clinical Research Specialist at University Hospitals, Cleveland. In her current roles, she is responsible for medical record review of enrolled patients, and chart review of potential candidates. She manages all aspects of data collection, scoring questionnaires, conducting informed consent process, and preparing and presenting data.


Jennifer Runner

Jennifer Runner, MSW, LISW-S 

Clinical Coordinator for Metro Health for the KidsFirst project.

Ms. Runner received her Master’s degree in social work from Smith College School for Social Work in 2002, where she specialized in clinical social work. She is a mental health therapist at Metro Health Medical Center. Jennifer helps coordinate the Spanish language autism assessment clinic at Metro Health Medical Center and has direct experience assisting Spanish speaking families of children with ASD obtain services in the community as well as providing parent support and education regarding ASD.