Joan Kaufman, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center; Co-Director, Zigler Center Child Welfare Unit

Research Organizations

Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy

NIMH Research Training Program in Childhood-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Psychiatry: Connecticut Mental Health Center | VA National Center for PTSD

Research Summary

The Child and Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) Program focuses on two areas of investigation: 1) Studies in support of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative which aims to develop the necessary database to derive a new psychiatric nomenclature informed by neuroscience, genetics, and psychology; and 2) Research on risk and resilience in maltreated children. These two lines of research are synergistic and interrelated, with the study of maltreated children having a number of advantages for the RDoC project, including: the study of a subset of patients that are frequently treatment resistant to standard clinical interventions; examination of a relatively homogenous sample with the onset of psychopathology proposed to be associated with stress-related mechanisms; and well-established relevant animal models to facilitate translational research.

We utilize clinical assessment, neuroimaging (e.g., structural, fMRI fear conditioning paradigm, resting state connectivity), and genetics (e.g., polymorphisms, epigenetic markers) research methods, with many of the clinical assessments we obtain collected at a day camp devised specifically for our research purposes.

Selected Publications

  • Kaufman, J., Yang, B.Z., Douglas-Palumberi, H., Houshyar, S., Lipschitz, D. Krystal, J.H., & Gelernter, J. (2004). Social Supports and Serotonin Transporter Gene Moderate Depression in Maltreated Children. Proceeding National Academy of Science; 101:
  • DeSena, A.D., Murphy, R.A., Douglas-Palumberi, H., Blau, G., Kelly, B., Horwitz, S., Kaufman, J. (2005). SAFE Homes: Is it Worth the Cost? An Evaluation of the Connecticut Model of Intervention For Children who Enter Out-of-Home Care. Child Abuse
  • Weder, N. & Kaufman, J. (2012). Critical Periods Revisited: Implications for Interventions with Traumatized Children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(11): 1087-1089.
  • Yang, Bao-Zhu, Zhang, H., Ge, W., Weder, N., Douglas-Palumberi, H., Perepletchikova, F., Gelernter, J., & Kaufman, J. (2013). Child Abuse and Epigenetic Mechanisms of Disease Risk. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(2).

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Contact Info

Joan Kaufman, PhD
Mailing Address
Department of PsychiatryCongress Place
301 Cedar Street

New Haven, CT 06519