Research Areas


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are increasingly being recognized as having their onset in (early) childhood. Mood disorders currently being studied by Children's Research Institute investigators including attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and pediatric bipolar disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

The team at Children's Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) includes psychologists, speech-language pathologists, child psychiatrists, pediatricians, neurologists, and behavioral neuroscientists. These specialists not only diagnose and treat autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but do innovative research on the needs of children with ASD, rapidly translating their findings into new ways to help children living with autism.

Brain Injury, Recovery, and Protection

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of acquired brain damage and one of the leading causes of death and disabilities in children. Brain damage is caused not only by the initial injury to the brain, but by the gradual death of key nerve cells, which often follows the injury days or even weeks later.

Developmental Neurobiology

Children’s Research Institute and the Center for Neuroscience Research are studying neural stem cells and the development and dysfunction of the social brain.


The Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Program (CPEP), under the direction of William Davis Gaillard, MD, is one of the largest multidisciplinary epilepsy programs in the country. CPEP provides clinical care and conducts research into the origins, impact, and treatment of epilepsy in children.

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Children’s scientists and physicians work together to study all aspects of healthy brain development, and to learn more about how intellectual disabilities impact the brain’s function and growth.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) and Neurooncology (Brain Tumors)

Brain tumors are the most common solid tumor in children, occurring in nearly 2,500 new patients every year. They are also the leading cause of cancer-related death in children. The Neuro-Oncology Program at Children’s National is a world leader in childhood brain tumor research and treatment.

Perinatal Hypoxia and Hyperoxia

Preterm birth is a major pediatric public health concern. Today, as many as one to two percent of all live births are preterm; the survival rate of these infants is 85 to 90 percent, however as many as 30-50 percent of children that survive preterm birth have a high incidence of cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, and other cognitive handicaps.

Sensory Processing

We utilize our senses to understand the world around us, often seamlessly integrating information from different senses to create a robust representation of the world. This essential function of the nervous system requires precise neuronal connectivity, much of which is established early in development.

Spina Bifida and Neural Tube Defects

Neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly are some of the most common structural malformations in humans with poorly understood environmental and genetic causes.