Home > Research > Davenport Fellowship > 2023 Davenport Fellows

2023 Davenport Fellows

2023 Davenport Fellows

Elodie Betances, MD, FAAP: Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Elodie Betances has an interest in providing care to children with complex medical needs and developmental disabilities. She has a special interest in children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) with developmental disabilities, children with vision impairment, children who are Deafblind and children with CHARGE syndrome. She has been grateful for the multiple opportunities to care for children with CHARGE syndrome at the specialty center at her institution as part of her training.

Luca Bottitta: Biology student

Luca Bottitta is a rising senior at The College of Jersey and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Biology and Secondary Education with a masters in Special Education. Through their Gold Award, Luca became familiar with hippotherapy as inspiration for their degree. Luca currently works with Dr. Tracey Kress to determine whether the transcriptional regulatory NuA4 complex also regulated RNA splicing in baker’s yeast. After completing their masters, Luca would like to pursue the understanding of CHD7’s mechanisms to bridge the understanding of the biology behind CHARGE syndrome and making the information more accessible to families.

Tyler James, PhD, MCHES: Assistant Professor at University of Michigan

Tyler G. James, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan who identifies as disabled. He has worked with DeafBlind individuals for eight years, with most of his experiences serving as an ASL interpreter for the Florida DeafBlind Association, regional DeafBlind camps, and a past CHARGE syndrome conference. Tyler is a triple-Gator, having received three degrees from the University of Florida in psychology and public health. His research focuses on understanding and improving the health of people with disabilities, with a focus on people with developmental sensory disabilities. He also studies how disability civil rights laws impact the quality of life of people with and without disabilities. In his free time, Tyler serves as a special education advocate for parents of school-aged children and as an educational surrogate for homeless youth with disabilities.

Annie Kakamousias: Medical Student at Dalhousie University

Annie Kakamousias completed her undergraduate degree in 2022, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Medical Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During her undergrad, she completed an Honours Thesis in Cardiovascular Physiology. She then began her medical degree at Dalhousie; she has just finished her first year. Throughout her first year and continuing for the rest of her degree, she is completing a research project looking at constipation in CHARGE syndrome along with her supervisor, Dr. Kim Blake. She has only recently started learning about and working with individuals with CHARGE, but her experience thus far has been incredibly positive. Additionally, she has been lucky to volunteer for both the Special Olympics program and the Swimming With A Mission program in Nova Scotia. Both programs have allowed her to have incredible experiences working with children with disabilities.

Ashley Leon, MEd: Teacher at Perkins School for the Blind

Ashley Leon is a special education teacher working in the Deafblind Program at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA. She has Bachelors Degrees in Deaf Education and Elementary Education, a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Severe Disabilities, and certificates in Deafblindness and Assistive Technology. Ashley has worked with many students with CHARGE syndrome during her 5 years at Perkins and has one student with CHARGE in her class this year. She is passionate about working with students with multiple disabilities and deafblindness, including CHARGE syndrome.

Shanti Madhavan-Brown, PhD: Psychology Professor at Albion College

Shanti Madhavan-Brown is an assistant professor at Albion College, a liberal arts college in Michigan. She received her training in school psychology from Central Michigan University (CMU) and currently teaches undergraduate classes related to mental health, counseling, and assessment. Shanti is a previous member of the CHARGE Syndrome Research Lab at CMU and was mentored by Dr. Timothy Hartshorne. She has presented at CHARGE conferences in the US, Australia, Norway, and Germany. Her research is on anxiety disorders, OCD diagnosis, and the factors contributing to anxious behavior in CHARGE syndrome (e.g., pain, sleep, sensory impairment, communication, etc.). As a school psychologist, Shanti is also interested in increasing the accessibility of home- or school-based interventions for individuals with multi-sensory impairments. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful individuals with CHARGE and their family members at state deafblind project events, lab picnics, and CHARGE conferences.

Abbey Maynard, MA: Teacher at Perkins School for the Blind

Abbey Maynard is a teacher at Perkins School for the Blind in the Deafblind program. She has worked at Perkins for two years, she started as a teaching assistant in the Deafblind preschool and then became the Float Teacher within the Program. As the Float Teacher she has the opportunity to work in each classroom and with every student within the program. The Deafblind Program at Perkins currently serves 20 students with CHARGE syndrome, all of which she has the privilege of working with daily. Through her experience at Perkins she has learned so much about CHARGE syndrome and how each individual with CHARGE has different likes, interests, and needs. She is eager to continue to learn more about CHARGE syndrome and more ways she can best support and understand her students through her experience as a Davenport Fellow.

Zahra Memon, MA: Medical Student with Master of Arts in Teaching in Deaf Education; Sibling of Individual with CHARGE

Zahra is a compassionate individual driven by a strong desire to make a positive impact on others’ lives. Growing up with a brother diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome, she developed empathy and a passion for healthcare and education. With a Masters Degree in Deaf Education, she possesses a deep understanding of communication and inclusivity. Currently a dedicated medical student, Zahra aims to provide comprehensive care to diverse patient populations. Her unique background and academic achievements position her to advocate for accessible healthcare, improve medical education, and create an inclusive environment for all patients. Through her unwavering dedication, Zahra strives to forge a fulfilling career that positively impacts the lives of others.

Jamie Moss: School Psychology PhD Student in the Bulldog CHARGE Lab

Jamie Moss is a doctoral student at Mississippi State University in the School Psychology Program.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology from Mississippi State University.  She serves as the graduate assistant to the Ignite Reading/Dyslexia Clinic at the T.K. Martin Center on MSU’s campus and is a member of the Bulldog CHARGE Syndrome Research Lab. She is involved in all projects in the Bulldog CHARGE Syndrome Research Lab and also participates in each adult social for individuals with CHARGE.

Cecelia Powell: School Psychology PhD Student in the Bulldog CHARGE Lab

Cecelia Powell is a current school psychology doctoral student going into her second year at the Mississippi State University, in Starkville, Mississippi. She is the current graduate assistant for the Bulldog CHARGE Syndrome Research Lab, run by Dr. Kasee Stratton-Gadke. Prior to her studies at Mississippi State, Cecelia obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Sarah Schneider, PhD: Psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Sarah Schneider is a psychologist in Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Psychology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She completed her graduate training at Central Michigan University, where she received her PhD in School Psychology. Dr. Tim Hartshorne was her advisor at Central Michigan University, and she spent much of her time collaborating with the CHARGE Syndrome Research Lab.


Emily Teevens: Graduate Assistant at Perkins School for the Blind

Emily is currently working at Perkins School for the Blind in the Deafblind program as a teaching assistant. She has been working in this program for 3 years, which has given her the opportunity to work with many students with CHARGE syndrome. She is attending Boston College to receive her masters degree in Special Education; Extensive Support Needs. This is her first time attending the CHARGE Conference and she can’t wait to use what she learns throughout her entire career.

Yiwen Zhai, PhD: Genetics Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Michigan

Yiwen Zhai is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan since October 2019. Dr. Zhai completed her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Science and Technology of China, Anhui, China. After that, she had three years of training in medical genetics at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China. Dr. Zhai’s research interest is focusing on the function of CHD7 in neural crest development in CHARGE syndrome. By using iPSCs from individuals of CHARGE and control iPSCs, Dr. Zhai and her collaborator generated human neural tube-like organoids and differentiated neural crest cells from the organoids, and tried to reveal the pathogenic mechanism of cranial neural crest migration defects in CHARGE.