Fred Volkmar, MD

Irving B. Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Psychology

Research Departments & Organizations

Yale School of Medicine

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

Asperger Syndrome; Autistic Disorder; Child Psychiatry; Neuropsychology; Psychiatry and Psychology

Research Summary

Our research focuses on neurobiology and treatment of autism and related disorders in individuals of all ages (infants through adults). We are interested in mechanisms (brain and genetics) as well as treatment.

Specialized Terms: Autism and related disorders; Asperger's disorder; Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD); Social development; Diagnosis; Neuropsychology

Extensive Research Description

Our research has focused on understanding some aspects of the fundamental nature of autism. In particular we are attempting to understand the nature of the social difficulties (autism) that are at the heart of autism and how these relate to the seemingly paradoxical oversensitivity to the nonsocial environment (unusual sensitivities and interests, difficulties with change and novelty). Given the wide range of expression in autism and related disorders we study various groups (from babies to adults, from very cognitively impaired to very cognitively able individuals). We also employ a range of methods including eye tracking, functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging, and genetic approaches among others. Our work has shown fundamental differences in the way individuals with autism process social interaction. Using innovative experimental approaches we have now extended this work to infants and younger children using visual and auditory tasks. We have recently undertaken a major prospective study of infants at risk for autism in an attempt to better understand how the disorder is manifest early in development. A long standing interest has been in developing better guidelines to diagnosis of autism and related conditions (we were the main coordinators of the DSM-IV field trial for autism). We have also been very interested in developing new methods to screen for and diagnose autism in the first months of life.

  • Prospective study of infants at risk for autism
  • Follow-up studies of autism
  • Treatment studies
  • Extending outreach to communities/families

Clinical Trials

Conditions Study Title
Child Development & Autism Understanding Neurodevelopment in Autism

Activities

  • Child Study Netherlands (2008)

    Dr. Volkmar collaborates with colleagues at the University of Utrecht, University of Groningen, and the Korzak Foundation on various child study issues.

  • Autism Research & Child Study Italy (2007)

    The autism research and clinical faculty of the Child Study Center are engaged in a collaboration with the University of Sienna in developing a new master's program for educators wishing to specialize in the treatment of autism.

Selected Publications

  • Limited attentional bias for faces in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders.

    Chawarska K, Volkmar F, Klin A. Limited attentional bias for faces in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. Archives Of General Psychiatry 2010, 67:178-85. 2010

  • Functional impact of global rare copy number variation in autism spectrum disorders.

    Pinto D, Pagnamenta AT, Klei L, Anney R, Merico D, Regan R, Conroy J, Magalhaes TR, Correia C, Abrahams BS, Almeida J, Bacchelli E, Bader GD, Bailey AJ, Baird G, Battaglia A, Berney T, Bolshakova N, Bölte S, Bolton PF, Bourgeron T, Brennan S, Brian J, Bryson SE, Carson AR, Casallo G, Casey J, Chung BH, Cochrane L, Corsello C, Crawford EL, Crossett A, Cytrynbaum C, Dawson G, de Jonge M, Delorme R, Drmic I, Duketis E, Duque F, Estes A, Farrar P, Fernandez BA, Folstein SE, Fombonne E, Freitag CM, Gilbert J, Gillberg C, Glessner JT, Goldberg J, Green A, Green J, Guter SJ, Hakonarson H, Heron EA, Hill M, Holt R, Howe JL, Hughes G, Hus V, Igliozzi R, Kim C, Klauck SM, Kolevzon A, Korvatska O, Kustanovich V, Lajonchere CM, Lamb JA, Laskawiec M, Leboyer M, Le Couteur A, Leventhal BL, Lionel AC, Liu XQ, Lord C, Lotspeich L, Lund SC, Maestrini E, Mahoney W, Mantoulan C, Marshall CR, McConachie H, McDougle CJ, McGrath J, McMahon WM, Merikangas A, Migita O, Minshew NJ, Mirza GK, Munson J, Nelson SF, Noakes C, Noor A, Nygren G, Oliveira G, Papanikolaou K, Parr JR, Parrini B, Paton T, Pickles A, Pilorge M, Piven J, Ponting CP, Posey DJ, Poustka A, Poustka F, Prasad A, Ragoussis J, Renshaw K, Rickaby J, Roberts W, Roeder K, Roge B, Rutter ML, Bierut LJ, Rice JP, Salt J, Sansom K, Sato D, Segurado R, Sequeira AF, Senman L, Shah N, Sheffield VC, Soorya L, Sousa I, Stein O, Sykes N, Stoppioni V, Strawbridge C, Tancredi R, Tansey K, Thiruvahindrapduram B, Thompson AP, Thomson S, Tryfon A, Tsiantis J, Van Engeland H, Vincent JB, Volkmar F, Wallace S, Wang K, Wang Z, Wassink TH, Webber C, Weksberg R, Wing K, Wittemeyer K, Wood S, Wu J, Yaspan BL, Zurawiecki D, Zwaigenbaum L, Buxbaum JD, Cantor RM, Cook EH, Coon H, Cuccaro ML, Devlin B, Ennis S, Gallagher L, Geschwind DH, Gill M, Haines JL, Hallmayer J, Miller J, Monaco AP, Nurnberger JI, Paterson AD, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GD, Szatmari P, Vicente AM, Vieland VJ, Wijsman EM, Scherer SW, Sutcliffe JS, Betancur C. Functional impact of global rare copy number variation in autism spectrum disorders. Nature 2010, 466:368-72. 2010

  • Social skills interventions for individuals with autism: evaluation for evidence-based practices within a best evidence synthesis framework.

    Reichow B, Volkmar FR. Social skills interventions for individuals with autism: evaluation for evidence-based practices within a best evidence synthesis framework. Journal Of Autism And Developmental Disorders 2010, 40:149-66. 2010

  • Diffusion tensor imaging in autism spectrum disorders: preliminary evidence of abnormal neural connectivity.

    Jou RJ, Jackowski AP, Papademetris X, Rajeevan N, Staib LH, Volkmar FR. Diffusion tensor imaging in autism spectrum disorders: preliminary evidence of abnormal neural connectivity. The Australian And New Zealand Journal Of Psychiatry 2011, 45:153-62. 2011

See list of PubMed publications

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