Desiree (Desi) Jones is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Redcay. She began her career at Wellesley College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Psychology in 2016. Following graduation, Dr. Jones worked as a research assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for two years before starting her graduate training at the University of Texas at Dallas. She completed her MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience in 2020, and received her PhD in Psychological Sciences in 2023. Her research broadly focuses on stigma, intersectionality, and autism. In 2023, she was recognized as part of Forbes 30 Under 30 Science List. 

Areas of Interest

  • autism
  • stigma
  • intersectionality
  • social interaction
  • social cognition


  • BA
    Neuroscience and Psychology double major, Wellesley College, 2016
  • MS
    Applied Cognition and Neuroscience, University of Texas at Dallas, 2020
  • PhD
    Psychological Sciences with developmental concentration, University of Texas at Dallas, 2023

My research focuses on how autistic people are perceived by their peers, how these perceptions differ for autistic people from underrepresented groups, and how to reduce stigma among non-autistic people. I am also interested in using qualitative methods to better understand the experiences of autistic people with intersecting identities, with an emphasis on Black autistic people. For my dissertation, I investigated the relationship between stigmatizing attitudes, peer victimization, and mental health outcomes in Black and White autistic adults.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Elizabeth Redcay in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, I am investigating the relationship between neural divergence, peer stigma, and loneliness in autistic adolescents. As a secondary focus, I will collaborate on projects exploring social identity in autistic youth and investigating ways to improve interactions between autistic and non-autistic people in the workplace. 

Current Students

Former Students

Dr. Jones, a smiling brown-skinned woman with curly hair
drjones [at]