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Denis Sukhodolsky, PhD

Professor in the Child Study Center

Contact Information

Denis Sukhodolsky, PhD

Office Location

Mailing Address

  • Child Study Center

    PO Box 207900, 230 South Frontage Road

    New Haven, CT 06520-7900

    United States

Research Summary

Denis Sukhodolsky is Professor in the Yale Child Study Center. His research concerns the efficacy and biomarkers of behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder, irritability, Tourette Syndrome, and related neurodevelopmental disorders. This work has been supported by grants from NIMH, NICHD, DoD CDMRP, and Simons Foundation. Currently, he is a principal investigator of clinical trials of behavior therapy for anxiety in school-age children with autism and another clinical trial of behavior therapy for irritability and aggressive behavior in adolescents with autism. He is also a Yale site PI of the ACE network study of gender differences and neural signatures of optimal outcomes in ASD during adolescence and young adulthood. In addition to his research, Dr. Sukhodolsky is a licensed and board-certified clinical psychologist working with children and their families at the Yale Child Study Center.

Extensive Research Description

Behavior therapy for irritability and aggression in adolescents with autism (AR190136). This clinical trial will test the effectiveness of a novel behavioral intervention for irritability and aggression (BTIA) in adolescents with autism complicated by disruptive behaviors such as anger outbursts and low frustration tolerance.  BTIA consists of 15 ninety-minute weekly sessions that are  conducted with the teens and their parents by experienced therapists. The goal of BTIA is to help adolescents on the autism spectrum acquire emotion regulation and problem-solving strategies for managing frustration.  Funded by the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, this 4-year clinical trial will enroll 126 participants in the age range from 12 to 18 years with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and co-occurring behavioral difficulties. Study participants are randomly assigned to BTIA  or a supportive psychotherapy control condition and outcome measures are conducted before, during and after treatment by a blinded rater. 

Neural mechanisms of CBT for anxiety in autism (R01 HD083881). This is a randomized controlled trial of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) versus Psychological education and Supportive Therapy (PST) for anxiety in children, ages 8 to 14, with autism and moderate to severe anxiety. The study utilizes fMRI to identify CBT-invoked changes in levels of activity/functional connectivity within the neural circuits involved in emotion regulation and social perception.

Multimodal developmental neurogenetics of females with ASD (R01 MH100028). This is a multi-site, longitudinal study of sex differences in ASD at the levels of gene structure and expression, neural dynamics, brain function and connectivity. The ACE network has curated an unprecedented sex-balanced, age-, IQ- and severity-matched cohort of cognitively-able school-age boys and girls with ASD, and age- and IQ-matched typically developing children and unaffected siblings. The second five-year period of this ACE network study is conducted to understand neurodevelopmental sex differences in ASD during transition to adulthood.  


Research Interests

Aggression; Anger; Autistic Disorder; Behavior Therapy; Tourette Syndrome; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Psychotherapy; Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Public Health Interests

Biomarkers; Clinical Trials; Mental Health

Selected Publications

Clinical Trials

ConditionsStudy Title
Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchBrain Imaging Study of Emotion Regulation in Children
Child Development & Autism; Children's Health; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchComprehensive Therapy for Irritability in Teenagers with Autism Study
Children's Health; Men's Health; Mental Health & Behavioral Research; Women's HealthACE Multisite Study of Adolescent & Adult Transitions
Children's HealthA Short-Term Longitudinal Study of the Brain Mechanisms of Childhood Irritability
Child Development & Autism; Children's Health; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchCBT for Anxiety in Children With Autism
Child Development & Autism; Genetics - Adult; Genetics - Pediatric; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchPivotal Response Treatment for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (PRT)
Child Development & Autism; Children's Health; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchNeurofeedback for Tourette Syndrome