Elena Grigorenko, PhD

Research Departments & Organizations

Child Study Center

Program in Neurodevelopment and Regeneration

Global Health Studies

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

Child Development; Chronic Disease; Epidemiology; Global Health; Learning Disorders; Psychology; Public Health; Russia; Saudi Arabia; Zambia

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.

Specialized Terms: Psychology; Learning disabilities; Neuropsychiatric genetics

Extensive Research Description

  • 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


  • Zambia, disabilities Zambia (2010)

    Reading Disabilities in Zambian children

  • Russia, developmental disorders Russia (2010)

    Genetic Bases of Developmental Language Disorders

  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia (2010)

    Etiological Bases of Giftedness

  • Education Quality for All Ghana (2008)

    This was a large-scale project designed to evaluate types and quantities of children with special educational needs both in and out of school in Ghana, as well as to assist in developing policies for providing services for these children. The project has been completed.

Selected Publications

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Nicole Landi

Contact Info

Elena Grigorenko, PhD
Mailing Address
Child Study CenterPO Box 207900
230 South Frontage Road

New Haven, CT 06520-7900

Curriculum Vitae