Katarzyna Chawarska named the Beede Professor of Child Psychiatry

Katarzyna Chawarska
Katarzyna Chawarska (photo by Robert Lisak)

Katarzyna Chawarska, recently appointed as the Emily Fraser Beede Professor of Child Psychiatry, is a leading expert in research on identifying early diagnostic markers and novel treatment targets in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Chawarska directs the National Institutes of Health Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) at the Yale Child Study Center.  The ACE program aims to identify neural signatures of ASD during fetal, neonatal, and school-age period and evaluate their relevance to prediction of outcomes, to isolate cellular and molecular risk and protective factors for ASD, and to test the efficacy of a novel intervention targeting an early marker of autism. 

Chawarska’s work has led to numerous publications on early behavioral and neurobehavioral markers of social impairments and comorbid disorders in ASD in infants at risk for ASD due to familial liability and in  young children affected by the disorder. Her lab has focused, amongst other topics, on studying the role of atypical social attention in the emergence of autism during prodromal and early syndrome stages of the disorder. She has also been examining early emotional development in autism and its contribution to social disability and comorbid conditions. 

In her clinical practice, she specializes in early diagnosis of ASD as well as developmental follow-up of infants at risk for ASD due to familial factors (e.g., having an older sibling with ASD), genetic factors (e.g., having a syndrome related to ASD such as Fragile X), or due to prenatal or perinatal complications such as premature birth. She is also strongly dedicated to training the next generation of clinicians and researchers in the field of developmental disabilities, as well as promoting early detection of ASD, both nationally and internationally. 

A graduate of Jagiellonian University (Poland), Chawarska earned an M.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Yale. She began her academic career as an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine. In addition to her new appointment, she serves as a professor of pediatrics and professor of statistics and data science. She also holds a position of an affiliated research scientist in the Haskins Laboratories, Inc. Her administrative appointments include director of the Yale Toddler Developmental Disabilities Clinic and of the Social and Affective Neuroscience of Autism Lab.

Chawarska’s research has been supported by grants from federal agencies and private foundations, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, and the National Alliance for Autism Research, and Autism Speaks, among other organizations. She is the consulting editor of the Journal Clinical Psychological Science, and has served on the boards of the International Society for Autism Research, Baby Siblings Research Consortium, and the advisory board of the Autism Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Hadassah Medical Center, among other entities.