John N. Constantino, MD

Blanche F Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry (Child Psychiatry)

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

Our various research projects have included work on the prevention of child maltreatment and its consequences, the promotion of healthy social development in young children and the genetic structure of inherited disorders of social development, including the autism spectrum disorders. The scientific contributions include the development of effective methods for engaging disadvantaged urban families in efforts that prevent child maltreatment and promote infants’ earliest social attachments. Our work has identified biochemical markers (measurable in infancy) of risk for antisocial development, and has pioneered the development of rapid quantitative methods for measuring inherited aspects of social impairment. These methods are currently used world-wide, and have been instrumental in disentangling nature-nurture effects on a broad array of social developmental disorders (including autism, conduct disorder, and personality disorder). Further, this work has opened new pathways to the discovery of genes that confer risk for these disorders, as well as new opportunities for the development of specific interventions to prevent and treat them.