Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

The Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences includes a wide range of research activities, such as the use of transgenic mice and mice and human stem cells to model human brain development in normal and disease-like conditions, the study of genetics of neuropsychiatric disorders, and the development of new approaches for optimizing the education of children with ADD in public schools. The ultimate goal of this research, whether focused on genes, brain circuitry, psychosocial influences on behavior, or on combinations of these, is to improve both the immediate health and the developmental trajectory of children in our care.

Bridging Gaps in Follow-up Appointments After Hospitalization and Youth Suicide

View the article to read more.

Research Highlights


Clicking on researcher names brings you to their personal webpage. If you need additional information, please email Waynitra Hall (

Statistical genetic studies of addiction, autism, schizophrenia and related quantitative risk factors

Research Director, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Brain development in autism, schizophrenia, and epilepsy using animal models and human stem cells

Stress, brain development and mechanisms conferring risk and resilience to serious psychopathology and suicidality in youths

Chair, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Pediatric mood and anxiety disorders, Sickle Cell Disease and psychiatric conditions, HIV and psychiatric conditions, neuroimmunology and mood disorders

Genomic and behavioral bases for pediatric obesity and associated eating disorders; behavioral and pharmacological treatment of pediatric obesity and binge eating disorder

Maternal depression, preventive interventions, developmental psychopathology for at-risk youth, mental health disparity

Assessment and treatment of ADHD; dissemination and implementation of mental health evidence-practices in schools

Associate Director, Neonatal Follow-up Programs-Focus on early childhood including community based projects to prevent expulsion and suspension of young children from chilldcare, interventions to encourage language and literacy, and optimizing participation in early intervention, childcare, and preschool

Director, Lifespan Brain Institute, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Neurodevelopmental studies of brain and behavior in psychosis

Neurodevelopmental and family outcomes of childhood cancer, psychosocial intervention in childhood cancer

Food selectivity phenotyping and treatment in children with autism spectrum disorder; clinical supports for children with limited abilities participating in neuroimaging research

Dr. Lawson's research focuses on the implementation of evidence-based mental health interventions in school settings. She has a particular interest in supporting teachers' use of evidence-based practices for managing disruptive behavior.

Therapeutic implications of the roles of gender and social cognition in aggression

Family-school-health system collaboration, school mental health, integrated behavioral health in primary care, improving access to evidence-based care for underserved communities

Identifying normative developmental processes within a cultural context, and identifying social determinants of mental health in infancy and early childhood

Development of language and social cognition in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, using NLP, machine-learning, and infrared eye tracking

Development of mobile health strategies to better understand and improve treatment adherence in adolescents and young adults with cancer.  Recipient of CHOP's 2020 Distinguished Research Trainee Award.

Developmental disabilities including autism and genetic syndromes, quantitative phenotyping, outcome measure development, cognitive neuroscience/imaging

Eating disorders in children and adolescents, use of acceptance based behavioral treatment, the role of executive functioning and hormones in anorexia

Developing novel computational methods to characterize heterogeneity in Autism and related disorders, using quantitative phenotyping and brain imaging

Brain function and treatment of attention and cognitive control in autism, ADHD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders

Director of Psychosocial Research, Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Prevention and treatment of youth depression, developmental psychopathology

Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perlman School of Medicine- Interventions for pediatric sleep and behavior concerns in primary care and in partnership with community organizations; identifying socio-ecological factors related to sleep health disparities