Elena Leonidovna Grigorenko PhD

Emily Fraser Beede Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Psychology

Research Interests

Psychology; Learning disabilities; Neuropsychiatric genetics

Current Projects

  • Cognitive and linguistic adaptation of international adoptees in the US
  • Learning disabilities in harsh developmental environments and their relation to infection, intoxication, and poverty in Africa
  • Genes involved in language disorders in a genetically isolated population
  • Genes involved in learning disabilities and cognitive processing, with special emphasis on studying minority samples in the US
  • Interactions between genetic and environmental risk factors for conduct problems and the role of these factors in response to interventions in juvenile detainees

Research Summary

Dr. Grigorenko’s primary interest is in understanding the co-contribution of genetic and environmental risk factors to the manifestation of developmental and learning disabilities in children. She is especially interested in how children with special needs, such as those infected with intestinal parasites or diagnosed with autism, succeed by capitalizing on their strengths. Her work in this area has contributed to the field’s general understanding of the flexibility and malleability of human development. Dr. Grigorenko’s use of diverse methodologies, ranging from molecular genetics to cultural studies, enriches the field and provides more opportunities for understanding how children grow and mature. These methodologies include family designs (both behavioral and molecular-genetic) and educational intervention designs. To illustrate, her ongoing studies include research on international adoptees brought to the U.S. early in life; a study of rates of learning disabilities in harsh developmental environments with high rates of illness, intoxication, and poverty; and research on interactions between genetic and environmental risk factors for conduct problems. She is especially interested in studying risk factors for language and mathematics disabilities, autism, and violent criminal behaviors in pre-adolescent children.


Selected Publications

  • Chirkina, G. V., Grigorenko, E. L. (2014). Tracking citations: A science detective story. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 47, 366-373; DOI: 10.1177/0022219412471995.
  • Elliott, J., Grigorenko, E. L. (2014). The Dyslexia Debate. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Landi, N., Frost, S. F., Mencl, W. E., Preston, J. L., Jacobsen, L. K., Lee, M., Yrigollen, C., Pugh, K. R. & Grigorenko, E. L. (2013). The COMT Val/Met polymorphism is associated with reading related skills and consistent patterns of functional neural activation. Developmental Science, 16, 13- 23. PMID: 23278923 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC3655431, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01180.x.
  • Naumova, O. Yu., Lee, M., Rychkov, S. Yu., Vlasova, N. V., Grigorenko, E. L. (2013). Gene expression in the human brain: The current state of the study of specificity and spatio-temporal dynamics. Child Development, 84, 76-88. PMID: 23145569 PMCID: PMC3557706, DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12014.
  • Rakhlin, N., Kornilov, S. A., Palejev, D., Koposov, R., Chang, J., Grigorenko, E. L. (2013). The language phenotype of a small geographically isolated Russian-speaking population: Implications for genetic and clinical studies of developmental language disorder. Applied Psycholinguistics, 34, 971-1003, DOI: 10.1017/S0142716412000094.

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