Faculty/Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Emily Kilroy PhD

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Faculty Mentor: Lisa Aziz-Zadeh PhD

Research Lab: The A–Z Lab

Emily Kilroy

Emily Kilroy is a postdoctoral scholar at USC and is collaborating with UCLA on a study investigating the relationship between gut microbiota and social processing in ASD. Emily completed her undergraduate education at Purdue University where she earned bachelor’s degrees in Behavioral Neuroscience (with a concentration in Psychology). She received her Master of Science degree in Developmental Psychopathology from the University College London and Yale University with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder at the Yale Child Study Center. She continued her Autism research at UCLA at the Brain Mapping Center under the supervision of Dr. Danny Wang and Dr. Mirella Dapretto before entering a Ph.D. program in Occupational Science (with a concentration in Neuroscience) investigating, with her advisors Dr. Lisa Aziz-Zadeh and Dr. Sharon Cermak, social and motor interactions in the motor system during action observation using neuroimaging and behavioral methods. Emily’s research interest is in advancing the understanding of typical development, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other related developmental disabilities (i.e., developmental coordination disorder). Her work focuses on identifying and clarifying how autism develops, how the brain is involved, and how social and motor skills interact in ASD. Emily collaborates with scientists across the country and employs approaches such as neuroimaging and behavioral assessment to better understand ASD and use this information for the service of families.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Science
2018 | University of Southern California

Master of Science (MS) in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology
2010 | University College London

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Behavioral Neuroscience (Concentration in Psychology)
2008 | Purdue University


Journal Articles

Kilroy, E., Harrison, L., Butera, C., Jayashankar, A., Cermak, S., Kaplan, J., Williams, M., Haranin, E., Bookheimer, S., Dapretto, M., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2021). Unique deficit in embodied simulation in autism: An fMRI study comparing autism and developmental coordination disorder. Human Brain Mapping, 42(5), 1532-1546. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25312 Show abstract

Butera, C., Ring, P., Sideris, J., Jayashankar, A., Kilroy, E., Harrison, L., Cermak, S., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2020). Impact of sensory processing on school performance outcomes in high functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Mind, Brain, and Education, 14(3), 243-254. https://doi.org/10.1111/mbe.12242 Show abstract

Kilroy, E., Cermak, S. A., & Aziz-Zadeh, L. (2019). A review of functional and structural neurobiology of the action observation network in autism spectrum disorder and developmental coordination disorder. Brain Sciences, 9(4), 75. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9040075 Show abstract

Kilroy, E., Aziz-Zadeh, L., & Cermak, S. (2019). Ayres theories of autism and sensory integration revisited: What contemporary neuroscience has to say. Brain Sciences, 9(3), 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9030068 Show abstract

Aziz-Zadeh, L., Kilroy, E., & Corcelli, G. (2018). Understanding activation patterns in shared circuits: Toward a value driven model. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 180. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00180 Show abstract