Geraldine Dawson

Geraldine Dawson

Director, Duke Center for Autism & Brain Development

William Cleland Distinguished Professor

External Address: 
2608 Erwin Road, Room 3126, Duke University Med Center, Durham, NC 27705
Internal Office Address: 
Box 3527 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710


Geraldine Dawson is the William Cleland Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, where she also is a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience.  Dawson also is the Director of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, an NIH Autism Center of Excellence, which is an interdisciplinary research program and clinic, aimed to improve the lives of those diagnosed with autism through research, education, clinical services, and policy. She directs the Duke Autism Clinic. Dawson received a Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and completed a clinical internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Dawson's work focuses on improving methods for early detection and intervention for autism, understanding brain function in autism, and validation of autism EEG biomarkers. She co-developed the Early Start Denver Model, an empirically-validated early autism intervention that is used worldwide. She collaborates with colleagues in the departments of computer science and engineering, pediatrics, and biostatistics to develop novel digital health approaches to autism screening and outcome monitoring. 

Dawson previously served as Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, President of the International Society for Autism Research, and was appointed by the US Secretary of Health as a member of the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which develops the federal strategic plan for autism research, services, and policy. Dawson is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was Founding Director of the University of Washington (UW) Autism Center and the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development. Dawson was awarded the American Psychological Association Distinguished Career Award (Div53); Association for Psychological Science Lifetime Achievement Award; Clarivate Top 1% Cited Researcher Across All Scientific Fields; NIH Top Research Advances of the Year Award (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020); Autism Society of America Award for Research Contributions; Autism Society Medical Professional of the Year; and Autism Society Award for Valuable Service. Dawson is a Fellow of the International Society for Autism Research, the American Psychological Society, and the American Psychological Association, and is an Associate Editor on editorial boards of four scientific journals. 

Education & Training

  • Clinical Internsship with speciality in Developmental Disabilities, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California - Los Angeles 1979 - 1980

  • Ph.D., University of Washington 1979

Selected Grants

Stratifying the Heterogeneity of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Impact of Co-Occurring Anxiety and ADHD awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2021 to 2026

Novel Approaches to Infant Screening for ASD in Pediatric Primary Care awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2024

Duke CTSA (TL1) Year 5 awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2018 to 2023

Tailoring treatment targets for early autism intervention in Africa awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2019 to 2022

Co-occurring ADHD in young children with ASD: Precursors, detection, neural signatures, and early treatment awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2022

Digital Behavioral Outcome Measures for Autism awarded by Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (Co-Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2022

Marcus Foundation Phase II MSC ASD awarded by The Marcus Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2022

A High-Performance 3T MRI for Brain Imaging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Major User). 2021 to 2022


Howard, J., and G. Dawson. “The early start denver model (ESDM).” Interprofessional Care Coordination for Pediatric Autism Spectrum Disorder: Translating Research into Practice, 2020, pp. 357–68. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-46295-6_23. Full Text

McPartland, J. C., et al. “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Encyclopedia of Mental Health: Second Edition, 2016, pp. 124–30. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-397045-9.00230-5. Full Text

Filipek, P. A., et al. “The screening and diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders.” The Science of Mental Health: Volume 2: Autism, 2013, pp. 11–56.

Dawson, G., and L. Sterling. “Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development, vol. 1–3, 2008, pp. 137–43. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-012370877-9.00016-5. Full Text

Dawson, G., and K. Toth. “Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Developmental Psychopathology: Second Edition, vol. 3, 2006, pp. 317–57. Scopus, doi:10.1002/9780470939406.ch8. Full Text

Minshew, N. J., et al. “Neuropsychology and neurophysiology of autism spectrum disorders.” Understanding Autism: From Basic Neuroscience to Treatment, 2006, pp. 379–415.

Sridhar, Aksheya, et al. “Patterns of Intervention Utilization Among School-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Findings from a Multi-Site Research Consortium.Res Autism Spectr Disord, vol. 94, June 2022. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2022.101950. Full Text

Wilson, Blake S., et al. “Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Otolaryngology and the Communication Sciences.J Assoc Res Otolaryngol, vol. 23, no. 3, June 2022, pp. 319–49. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s10162-022-00846-2. Full Text

Barkley, Russell A., and Geraldine Dawson. “Higher Risk of Mortality for Individuals Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Demands a Public Health Prevention Strategy.Jama Pediatr, vol. 176, no. 4, Apr. 2022, p. e216398. Pubmed, doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.6398. Full Text

Shic, Frederick, et al. “The autism biomarkers consortium for clinical trials: evaluation of a battery of candidate eye-tracking biomarkers for use in autism clinical trials.Mol Autism, vol. 13, no. 1, Mar. 2022, p. 15. Pubmed, doi:10.1186/s13229-021-00482-2. Full Text

Major, Samantha, et al. “Shorter average look durations to dynamic social stimuli are associated with higher levels of autism symptoms in young autistic children.Autism, Dec. 2021, p. 13623613211056428. Pubmed, doi:10.1177/13623613211056427. Full Text

Tenenbaum, Elena J., et al. “Distance from Typical Scan Path When Viewing Complex Stimuli in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and its Association with Behavior.J Autism Dev Disord, vol. 51, no. 10, Oct. 2021, pp. 3492–505. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s10803-020-04812-w. Full Text Open Access Copy

Engelhard, Matthew, et al. “Patterns of Health Services Use Before Age 1 in Children Later Diagnosed With ADHD.J Atten Disord, vol. 25, no. 12, Oct. 2021, p. 1639. Pubmed, doi:10.1177/1087054720914352. Full Text

McCracken, James T., et al. “Corrigendum to "Drug development for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Progress, challenges, and future directions. [European Neuropsychopharmacology Volume 48, July 2021, Pages 3-31]".Eur Neuropsychopharmacol, vol. 50, Sept. 2021, pp. 133–34. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2021.07.090. Full Text

Perochon, Sam, et al. “A scalable computational approach to assessing response to name in toddlers with autism.J Child Psychol Psychiatry, vol. 62, no. 9, Sept. 2021, pp. 1120–31. Pubmed, doi:10.1111/jcpp.13381. Full Text



Sikich, Linmarie, et al. “BUILDING PROGRAMS THAT INCREASE ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH, WHILE EXPANDING THE EVIDENCE BASE TO ENHANCE ACCESS AND IMPROVE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT.” Journal of the American Academy of Child &Amp; Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 59, no. 10, Elsevier BV, 2020, pp. S119–20. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2020.08.021. Full Text

Carpenter, Kimberly L. H., et al. “RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SENSORY PROCESSING DIFFERENCES AND CLINICAL FEATURES OF CHILDREN WITH ASD.” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 58, no. 10, ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2019, pp. S151–S151. Wos, doi:10.1016/jaac.2019.08.037. Full Text

Carpenter, Kimberly L. H., et al. “1.14 GRAPH CURVATURE AS A METHOD FOR DISCERNING ROBUSTNESS IN BRAIN NETWORKS IN ASD.” Journal of the American Academy of Child &Amp; Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 58, no. 10, Elsevier BV, 2019, pp. S151–S151. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2019.08.036. Full Text

Ressler, B., et al. “Meeting the demands of msc production for clinical studies.” Cytotherapy, vol. 21, no. 5, Elsevier BV, 2019, pp. S81–82. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jcyt.2019.03.496. Full Text

Li, Yitong, et al. “On Target Shift in Adversarial Domain Adaptation.” International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, 2019.

Egger, Helen L., et al. “23.1 Autism and Beyond: Lessons From an Iphone Study of Young Children.” Journal of the American Academy of Child &Amp; Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 57, no. 10, Elsevier BV, 2018, pp. S33–34. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2018.07.145. Full Text

Murias, Michael, et al. “1.31 The Utility of Electroencephalogram (EEG) Beta Power as a Moderator of Treatment Response in ASD Clinical Trials Involving Young Children.” Journal of the American Academy of Child &Amp; Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 57, no. 10, Elsevier BV, 2018, pp. S145–S145. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2018.09.046. Full Text

Bovery, Matthieu D. M. J., et al. “5.18 A Scalable Off-the-Shelf Framework for Measuring Children’s Direction of Attention in ASD.” Journal of the American Academy of Child &Amp; Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 57, no. 10, Elsevier BV, 2018, pp. S233–S233. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2018.09.313. Full Text