Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Duke University School of Medicine
Geraldine Dawson is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Duke Clinical Program on Autism Diagnosis and Treatment at Duke University. She is also Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. Dawson is President-Elect of the International Society for Autism Research and a member of the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which develops the federal strategic plan for autism research, services, and policy. She is a licensed practicing clinical psychologist and scientist, having published >200 articles and 8 books on early detection and treatment of autism and brain development. Her laboratory pioneered the use of event-related potentials to study very early brain function in young children with autism and conducted research that established that autism symptoms were present in the first year life. With Sally Rogers, she developed the Early Start Denver Model, an empirically-validated comprehensive intervention for toddlers with autism. Her research demonstrating that early intervention can normalize brain activity in children with autism was recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2012. From 2008-2013, Dawson was Research Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and served as the first Chief Science Officer for Autism Speaks, the largest autism science and advocacy organization, where she oversaw $25-30 million of annual research funding. From 1996-2008, Dawson was Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington and Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center where she directed three consecutive interdisciplinary NIH Autism Center of Excellence research programs on genetics, neuroimaging, early diagnosis, and treatment, and oversaw the University of Washington Autism Treatment Center, which provides interdisciplinary clinical services for individuals with autism from infancy through young adulthood. Dawson is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and American Psychological Association, and on editorial boards of four scientific journals. Dawson’s awards include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Psychological Science and Autism Society of America Awards for Valuable Service and Research Contributions. Her work has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a Top Advance in Autism Research in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. She received a Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and completed a clinical internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.