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Staff Biographies

Kennedy Krieger’s physicians and researchers include leading experts in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), fragile x syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, intellectual disabilities, behavioral and psychiatric disorders, and numerous other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Clinical trials offer another avenue to pursue in their quest to provide the best treatment for patients. Clinical trials offer one more avenue to pursue in their quest to provide the best treatment for patients.


The Clinical Trials Unit at Kennedy Krieger is led by Drs. Michael Johnston, Robert Findling, Tanjala Gipson, and Dejan Budimirovic.

Dr. Michael Johnston
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Director, Clinical Trials Unit

Dr. Johnston attended Franklin and Marshall College before going on to medical school at the University of Pittsburgh, from which he graduated cum laude in 1971. His post-doctoral training at The Johns Hopkins Hospital included work in pediatrics, neurology, pharmacology, and pediatric neurology. After teaching positions and research work at the University of Michigan Medical School and University of Michigan Hospitals, Dr. Johnston returned to Baltimore in 1988. Today, he is the executive vice president and chief medical officer at Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as director of Kennedy Krieger Institute's divisions of Neurology and Developmental Medicine, and the Institute's neuroscience laboratory. Dr. Johnston is an attending physician at both The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Dr. Robert L. Findling
Vice President of Psychiatric Services and Research, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Principal Investigator and Associate Director, Clinical Trials Unit

Dr. Findling did his undergraduate work at The Johns Hopkins University, and went to medical school at the Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Findling then completed training in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry as part of the “Triple Board” joint training program at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. He subsequently earned his Master of Business Administration degree at a joint program called “TRIUM,” run by the London School of Economics, New York University’s Stern School of Business, and HEC School of Management in Paris. After serving as the Rocco L. Motto, MD Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Dr. Findling returned to Baltimore in 2012. In addition to his role at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Dr. Findling is the director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Tanjala T. Gipson
Principal Investigator and Associate Director, Clinical Trials Center
Director, Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Instructor, Neurology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Principal Investigator and Associate Director, Clinical Trials Unit

Dr. Gipson graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana, and attended Louisiana State Health Sciences Center. To focus on understanding how to improve the lives of children affected by neurodevelopmental disabilities, she became a Kennedy Krieger Institute LEND trainee and successfully completed a residency in child neurology/neurodevelopmental disabilities. She completed her prerequisite pediatrics residency at Tulane University School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Gipson is the recipient of the Neurological Sciences Academic Development Award , a K12 funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The mission of her clinical research is to identify mechanism-based treatments for individuals with intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. As a clinical researcher, Dr. Gipson spent two years following residency completing a clinical research fellowship with her primary mentor, Dr. Michael V. Johnstonn, MD, to develop expertise in the management of the neurodevelopmental complications associated with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), as well as clinical trial design and implementation. In July 2012, Dr. Gipson joined the faculty of Kennedy Krieger Institute. She serves as the director of the Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic and the associate director of the Clinical Trials Unit.

Dr. Dejan B. Budimirovic
Director, Fragile X Clinic
Pediatric Psychiatrist, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Principal Investigator, Clinical Trials Unit

Dr. Budimirovic received his medical training at the University of Belgrade School of Medicine in Serbia. After completing residencies in adult and child psychiatry at Harvard and New York University, Dr. Budimirovic was appointed assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. While at Yale, he cultivated a research interest in psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. Dr. Budimirovic joined the medical staff of Kennedy Krieger in November of 2004. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the subspecialty of child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Budimirovic is an active member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association.

Clinical Trials Unit Staff

Dr. Na Young Ji
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Kennedy Krieger Institute Programs

Dr. Ji received her medical degree from the Catholic University of Daegu in Daegu, Daegu, South Korea, in 2000. She completed her internship training at Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, Korea, in 2001. She moved to Boston after her internship, and began her research at the psychiatry neuroimaging laboratory within the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She was accepted to the general psychiatry residency training program at University of North Carolina Hospitals in 2003. After her residency, she continued her training in the child and adolescent fellowship program at University of North Carolina Hospital, and completed the program in 2008.

Amy Kordek, PNP
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Kennedy Krieger Institute

Kordek received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Scranton in 2006. She then worked as a nurse on an inpatient neurosurgery/neurology unit and epilepsy monitoring unit. She received her master’s degree as a pediatric nurse practitioner from Johns Hopkins University in 2009. In 2010, Kordek joined the staff at the Center for Development and Learning, where she cares for school-age children, providing developmental assessments and medication management for a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders.  

Additional Staff

Christine Collins, Operations Manager
Rebecca Hinton, Clinical Research Coordinator Manager
Devin Gary, PhD, IRB Affairs and Medical Publications
Jacqueline Sievers, Compliance and Quality Assurance Coordinator
Rebekah Teetsel, Clinical Research Coordinator II
Gary Saum, Clinical Research Coordinator II
Victoria Osasah, Clinical Research Coordinator I

Eun Sol Jung, Clinical Research Coordinator I
Kerry Boyer, Clinical Research Coordinator I

Kosunique Jenkins, Research Assistant

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