Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center


Dapretto, Mirella, Ph.D.


Neuroimaging of language and developmental disorders


  • Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
  • Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
  • Associate Professor, Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART)
  • Member, Neuroscience IDP
  • Brain Research Institute


My main research interests focus on the neural representation of language and social cognition. Using neuroimaging techniques (functional MRI, and, more recently, structural MRI and event related potentials, ERP), my research seeks to

(1) delineate how brain maturation and the development of language and social cognition co-occur in the typically developing brain,

(2) qualify the patterns of brain dysfunction in developmental disorders such as autism, childhood onset schizophrenia, and dyslexia, and

(3) examine the neural basis of linguistic and communicative functions in the adult brain since studies on adults provide a normative developmental endpoint for our developmental investigations and can also address issues of brain plasticity.


  1. Gross, RS, Thaweethai, T, Rosenzweig, EB, Chan, J, Chibnik, LB, Cicek, MS et al.. Researching COVID to enhance recovery (RECOVER) pediatric study protocol: Rationale, objectives and design. PLoS One. 2024;19 (5):e0285635. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0285635. PubMed PMID:38713673 PubMed Central PMC11075869.
  2. Arutiunian, V, Santhosh, M, Neuhaus, E, Borland, H, Tompkins, C, Bernier, RA et al.. The relationship between gamma-band neural oscillations and language skills in youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their first-degree relatives. Mol Autism. 2024;15 (1):19. doi: 10.1186/s13229-024-00598-1. PubMed PMID:38711098 PubMed Central PMC11075235.
  3. Tsang, T, Green, SA, Liu, J, Lawrence, K, Jeste, S, Bookheimer, SY et al.. Salience network connectivity is altered in 6-week-old infants at heightened likelihood for developing autism. Commun Biol. 2024;7 (1):485. doi: 10.1038/s42003-024-06016-9. PubMed PMID:38649483 PubMed Central PMC11035613.
  4. Cakar, ME, Okada, NJ, Cummings, KK, Jung, J, Bookheimer, SY, Dapretto, M et al.. Functional connectivity of the sensorimotor cerebellum in autism: associations with sensory over-responsivity. Front Psychiatry. 2024;15 :1337921. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2024.1337921. PubMed PMID:38590791 PubMed Central PMC10999625.
  5. Cummings, KK, Jung, J, Zbozinek, TD, Wilhelm, FH, Dapretto, M, Craske, MG et al.. Shared and distinct biological mechanisms for anxiety and sensory over-responsivity in youth with autism versus anxiety disorders. J Neurosci Res. 2024;102 (1):e25250. doi: 10.1002/jnr.25250. PubMed PMID:37840458 PubMed Central PMC10843792.
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