Angie John Thurman

Position Title
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, MIND Institute, School of Medicine


I’m Angie John Thurman. I am an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the MIND Institute at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. I got my B.A. in Psychology at the University of Colorado at Denver and my master’s and Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Louisville.

I was born and raised in Colorado; my parents immigrated from Kerala, South India. When I started as an undergraduate student, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, which led to a very stressful first year. Thankfully, an unexpected summer job at a clinic for individuals with autism and other development disabilities and opened the door for an opportunity to work in a research laboratory that I was able to continue throughout my undergraduate training.

Without this experience, I don’t think I would have found my way to a degree in Psychology. Not only did this experience let me find a career path I didn’t know existed; it also gave me a chance to see real world applications of the material I was learning in school. This combination gave me the foundation I needed to be successful in a career that I love and that is committed to supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and our community. Because of the importance that this early training played in my own career development, I am committed supporting students and trainees on their way to finding their own path.

Research Interests

My research is broadly focused on the development of language, cognition, and behavior in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, particularly autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome and Williams syndrome. In particular my projects tend to focus on language development across the different populations with which I work, identifying the factors supporting and limiting development, and developing and validating methods for measuring the different development across the lifespan. Ultimately, the long-term is to use my research to support the development of clinical assessments and treatments.


Klusek, J., Thurman, A.J., & Abbeduto, L. (2021). Maternal pragmatic language difficulties in the fmr1 premutation and the broad autism phenotype: Associations with individual and family outcomes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2021 Apr 4. Online ahead of print.

Thurman, A.J., Edgin, J.O., Sherman, S., Sterling, A., McDuffie, A., Hamilton, D., & Abbeduto, L. (2021). Spoken language outcome measures for treatment studies in Down syndrome: feasibility, practice effects, test-retest reliability, and construct validity of variables generated from expressive language sampling. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. 2021 Apr 8;13(1):13.

Thurman, A.J., Potter, L.A., Kim, K., Tassone, F., Banasik, A., Potter, S.N., Bullard, L., Nguyen, V., McDuffie, A., Hagerman, R., & Abbeduto, L. (2020) Controlled trial of lovastatin combined with an open-label treatment of a parent-implemented language intervention in youth with fragile X syndrome.  Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 12(1):12.

Abbeduto, L., Berry-Kravis, E., Sterling, A., Sherman, S., Edgin, J.O., McDuffie, A., Hoffmann, A., Hamilton, D., Nelson, M., Aschkenasy, J., Thurman, A.J. (2020) Expressive language sampling as a source of outcome measures for treatment studies in fragile X syndrome: feasibility, practice effects, test-retest reliability, and construct validity.  Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 12(1):10.

Thurman, A.J., & Hoyos Alvarez, C. (2020) Language Performance in Preschool-Aged Boys with Nonsyndromic Autism Spectrum Disorder or Fragile X Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50, 1621-1638.

Shaffer, R.C., Schmitt, L., Thurman, A. J., Abbeduto, L., Hong, M., Pedapati, E., Dominick, K., Sweeney, J., Erickson C. (2020) The Relationship between Expressive Language Sampling and Clinical Measures in Fragile X Syndrome and Typical Development. Brain Sciences, 0(2). pii: E66.

Nelson, S., McDuffie, A., Banasik, A., Feigles, R. T., Thurman, A. J., & Abbeduto, L. (2018). Inferential language use by school-aged boys with fragile X syndrome: Effects of a parent-implemented spoken language intervention. Journal of Communication Disorder, 72, 64-76.

Thurman, A. J., McDuffie, A., Hagerman, R. J., Josol, C. K., & Abbeduto, L. (2017). Language skills of males with fragile X syndrome or nonsyndromic autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(3), 728-743.

Thurman, A. J., Kover, S. T., Brown, W. T., Harvey, D. J., & Abbeduto, L. (2017). Noncomprehension Signaling in Males and Females with Fragile X Syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 1-16.

Oakes, A., Thurman, A. J., McDuffie, A., Bullard, L. M., Hagerman, R. J., & Abbeduto, L. (2016). Characterizing repetitive behaviors in young males with fragile X syndrome. Research in Developmental Disorders, 60, 54 – 67.

Thurman, A. J., McDuffie, A., Kover, S., T., Hagerman, R., J., & Abbeduto, L. (2015). Autism Symptomatology in Boys with Fragile X Syndrome: A Cross Sectional Developmental Trajectories Comparison with Nonsyndromic Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.  45, 2816 – 2832.

Thurman, A. J., McDuffie, A., Hagerman, R., & Abbeduto, L. (2014).  Psychiatric symptoms in boys with Fragile X Syndrome: A comparison with nonsyndromic autism spectrum disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(5), 1072-1086.