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Research

The Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is at the forefront of pediatric psychiatric disorders research. Our top researchers focus on several psychiatric disorders commonly seen in pediatric groups, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), major depressive disorder, conduct disorder, and autism spectrum disorders.

Michael C. Stevens, PhD, a leader in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience, examines trajectories of neural network development, relationships between structural and functional neural network integration, and how abnormalities in systems-level brain connectivity contribute to the pathophysiology of psychiatric illnesses. He has spent his clinical research career examining brain function in psychiatric disorders using neuroimaging and neuropsychological research methods. Dr. Stevens’ research interests include:

  • Abnormalities of brain functional connectivity as risk factors or treatment targets for psychiatric disorders
  • Developmental cognitive neuroscience
  • Identification of disease endophenoptypes for genetic studies
  • Neuroimaging brain response to novel psychiatric treatments

Currently, Dr. Stevens oversees the Clinical Neuroscience & Development Laboratory at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living that uses neuroimaging (both fMRI and structural neuroimaging) and other neurobiological research techniques (EEG, genetics, neuropsychological assessment) to address cognitive and clinical neuroscience questions in childhood psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Stevens’ research is broadly aimed at better understanding the neurobiological basis of many different neuropsychiatric illnesses. He is the principal investigator on several NIH- and privately-funded projects studying the genetic and neural basis of AD/HD, conduct disorder, adolescent depression, and traumatic brain injury, and is an active contributor and collaborator on many of his colleagues’ NIH-funded grants.

Although he has varied interests in the types of psychopathology he studies, his career activities have been generally focused on understanding developmental aspects of psychopathology. His research program to date can be broadly described as the study of neurobiological risk for psychiatric illness, differentiating clinically similar psychiatric disorders that arise in childhood on the neurobiological level (including identifying predictive endophenotypes for genetic association studies), and studying the interaction of neurobiological abnormalities and maturation.

In addition, Dr. Stevens has made significant conceptual contributions in the past several years to understanding neural network connectivity in neurodevelopmental psychiatric illnesses and cognitive development.

Learn more about the many studies currently available for children, adolescents, adults and their family members at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, or call 860.545.7800.

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