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Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Our Scholars

Calliope Holingue

Being a Wendy Klag Scholar helped Calliope Holingue earn her doctorate in mental health in 2019, with research into the gut microbiome and gastrointestinal (GI) issues among autistic people. Her research propelled her to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Department of Mental Health, then on to a faculty position at those institutions.

Before coming to the Bloomberg School, Holingue completed her undergraduate degree in public health and molecular cell biology from the University of California Berkeley in 2013. She continued at Berkeley and completed her MPH in epidemiology/biostatistics in 2015. Given her longstanding interest in mental health, Holingue enrolled in the BSPH’s Department of Mental Health in 2015. When she started her PhD, she was primarily interested in anxiety disorders and their connections with the GI system, microbiome, and immune systems. But her focus shifted as she learned more about autism and developmental disabilities.

Holingue calls the Wendy Klag Center “an incredible resource” during her training. She took “Public Health Approaches in Autism and Developmental Disabilities,” participated in WKC journal clubs, and attended her first International Society for Autism Research conference. Through these early training experiences, she learned that many autistic individuals have co-occurring GI symptoms, which can be incredibly disabling. She decided to focus on this area during her PhD. Holingue received a student award from the WKC to complete some of this work, including a gut microbiome study in young autistic children, a qualitative study on experiences of families with a child with autism and GI issues, and, lastly, a project focused on developing a parent-report GI questionnaire for children on the spectrum. 

In 2021, Holingue joined the faculty of Kennedy Krieger Institute Center for Autism and Related Disorders and the Hopkins Department of Mental Health as an assistant professor. Her research remains largely focused on trying to improve the GI health of individuals with developmental disabilities, especially autism. 

One of her current projects, “G.I. Wanna Talk About Autism,” is a mixed-methods study focused on understanding the lived experiences of autistic adults with GI symptoms and developing recommendations to improve the GI health of this population. This study adopts a participatory approach in which a community board of autistic and non-autistic adults with diverse professional and lived experiences contributed to the study design, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of findings.

Aside from her research, Holingue teaches the hybrid course “Public Health Approaches in Autism and Developmental Disabilities” in Term 3, a course that first piqued her interest in ASD. She also teaches an online summer institute course called “Mental Health and the Gut.”

Relevant publications:

  • Holingue, C., Newill, C., Lee, L. C., Pasricha, P. J., & Daniele Fallin, M. (2018). Gastrointestinal symptoms in autism spectrum disorder: A review of the literature on ascertainment and prevalence. Autism Research, 11(1), 24-36.
  • Holingue, C., Poku, O., Pfeiffer, D., Murray, S., & Fallin, M. D. (2022). Gastrointestinal concerns in children with autism spectrum disorder: A qualitative study of family experiences. Autism, 26(7), 1698-1711.
  • Holingue, C., Kalb, L. G., Musci, R., Lukens, C., Lee, L. C., Kaczaniuk, J., ... & Fallin, M. D. (2022). Characteristics of the autism spectrum disorder gastrointestinal and related behaviors inventory in children. Autism Research.

Other Klag scholars

  • Megan Chen
  • Katelyn Boswell
  • Jennifer White
  • Nicholas Carrington
  • Carrie Bateman
  • Kay Gonsalves
  • Rebecca Harrington
  • Alison Singer
  • Luther Kalb 
  • Benjamin Zablotsky
  • Luke Grosvenor