Elena Leonidovna Grigorenko PhD

Emily Fraser Beede Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Psychology

Research Interests

Psychology; Learning disabilities; Neuropsychiatric genetics

Current Projects

  • Cognitive and linguistic adaptation of international adoptees in the US
  • Learning disabilities in harsh developmental environments and their relation to infection, intoxication, and poverty in Africa
  • Genes involved in language disorders in a genetically isolated population
  • Genes involved in learning disabilities and cognitive processing, with special emphasis on studying minority samples in the US
  • Interactions between genetic and environmental risk factors for conduct problems and the role of these factors in response to interventions in juvenile detainees

Research Summary

Dr. Grigorenko’s primary interest is in understanding the co-contribution of genetic and environmental risk factors to the manifestation of developmental and learning disabilities in children. She is especially interested in how children with special needs, such as those infected with intestinal parasites or diagnosed with autism, succeed by capitalizing on their strengths. Her work in this area has contributed to the field’s general understanding of the flexibility and malleability of human development. Dr. Grigorenko’s use of diverse methodologies, ranging from molecular genetics to cultural studies, enriches the field and provides more opportunities for understanding how children grow and mature. These methodologies include family designs (both behavioral and molecular-genetic) and educational intervention designs. To illustrate, her ongoing studies include research on international adoptees brought to the U.S. early in life; a study of rates of learning disabilities in harsh developmental environments with high rates of illness, intoxication, and poverty; and research on interactions between genetic and environmental risk factors for conduct problems. She is especially interested in studying risk factors for language and mathematics disabilities, autism, and violent criminal behaviors in pre-adolescent children.


Selected Publications

  • Rakhlin, N., Kornilov, S. A., Reich, J., Babyonyshev, M., Koposov, R., Grigorenko, E. L. (2011). The Relationship between syntactic development and theory of mind: Evidence from a small-population study of a developmental language disorder. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 24, 476-496.
  • Palejev, D., Hwang, W., Landi, N., Eastman, M., Frost, S. J., Fulbright, R. K., Kidd, J. R., Kidd, K. K., Mason, G. F., Mencl, W. E., Yrigollen, C., Pugh, K. R., Grigorenko, E. L. (2011). An application of the elastic net for an endophenotype analysis. Behavior Genetics, 41, 120-124. PMID: 21229297 [PubMed - in process]
  • Jukes, M. C. H., Grigorenko, E. L. (2010). Assessment of cognitive abilities in multiethnic countries: The case of the Wolof and Mandinka in the Gambia. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 77-97. PMID: 19857377.
  • Grigorenko, E. L., Urban, A. E., Mencl, E. (2010). Behavior, brain, and genome in genomic disorders: finding the correspondences. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 31, 602-609. PMID: 20814258.
  • Grigorenko, E. L., Geiser, C., Slobodskaya, H. R., & Francis, D. J. (2010). Cross-informant symptoms from CBCL, TRF, and YSR: Trait and method variance in a normative sample of Russian youths. Psychological Assessment, 22, 893-911. PMID: 21133549, [PubMed - in process].
  • Grigorenko, E. L., DeYoung, C. G., Eastman, M., Getchell, M., Haeffel, G. J., af Klinteberg, B., Koposov, R. A., Oreland, L., Pakstis, A. J., Ponomarev, O. A., Ruchkin, V. V., Singh, J. P., Yrigollen, C. M. (2010). Aggressive behavior, related conduct problems, and variation in genes affecting dopamine turnover. Aggressive Behavior, 36, 158-176. PMID: 20127808 [PubMed - in process].

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