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Joan Kaufman, Ph.D.

Joan Kaufman, Ph.D.

Headshot of Joan Kaufman
  • Director of Research, Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress, Kennedy Krieger Institute
  • Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research Interests

Child Abuse; Adverse Child Experiences; Psychiatric Assessment more



  • Director of Research, Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress, Kennedy Krieger Institute
  • Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Departments / Divisions



  • B.A.; Tufts University (Massachusetts) (1981)
  • Ph.D.; Yale University (Connecticut) (1990)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

My primary research focuses on two areas of investigation:

  1. Research on risk and resilience in maltreated children and other vulnerable populations; and 
  2. Studies on child psychiatric diagnoses, including 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.

These two lines of research are interrelated and synergistic, with the study of maltreated individuals bringing several advantages to 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 mechanistic translational research. 

My investigations have utilized clinical assessment, neuroimaging, and genetic and epigenetic research methods, with the goal of understanding the effects of early adversity on later development and factors that modify outcomes.  My work has embraced a broad spectrum of perspectives, from neurobiology to social policy

Selected Publications

Wymbs NF, Orr C, Albaugh MD, Althoff RR, O'Loughlin K, Holbrook H, Garavan H, Montalvo-Ortiz JL, Mostofsky S, Hudziak J, Kaufman J. Social supports moderate the effects of child adversity on neural correlates of threat processing. Child Abuse Negl. 2020 Feb 14;102:104413. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104413.PMID: 32065988 Kaufman, J.

Montalvo-Ortiz, J.L., Holbrook, H., O'Loughlin, K., Orr, C., Kearney, C., Yang, B.-Z., Wang, T., Zhao, H., Althoff, R., Garavan, H., Gelernter, J., Hudziak, H., 2018. Adverse Childhood Experiences, Epigenetic Measures, and Obesity in Youth. Journal of Pediatrics, 202: 150-156. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.06.051; PMID: 30177354

Townsend, L, Kobak, K., Kearney, C., Milham, M., Andreotti, C., Escalera, J., Alexander, L., Gill, M.K., Birmaher, B., Sylvester, R., Rice, D., Deep, A., Kaufman, J. (2020). Development of Three Web-Based Computerized Versions of the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (KSADS-COMP) Child Psychiatric Diagnostic Interview: Preliminary Validity Data. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Feb;59(2):309-325. doi:10.1016/j.jaac. PMID: 31108163

Kaufman, J. (in press). A Child’s Right to Family, Lancet Psychiatry.

Montalvo-Ortiz, J.L, Bordner, K.A., Carlyle, B.C., Gelernter, J., Simen, A.A., Kaufman, J. (2016). The role of genes involved in stress, neural plasticity, and brain circuitry in depressive phenotypes: Convergent findings in a mouse model of neglect. Brain and Behavioural Research,15;315:71-4

Contact for Research Inquiries

Kennedy Krieger Institute
1741 Ashland Avenue
Room 434
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 443-923-5953

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