Dr. Jean A. Frazier, M.D., is the Robert M. and Shirley S. Siff Chair in Autism and
Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
As Co-Director of the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI), Dr.
Frazier directs a broad research program that addresses a variety of scientific problems
relevant to advancing the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of individuals with
neurodevelopmental disorders such as early onset bipolar disorder (BPD), schizophrenia
and autism. The CANDI team studies all three diagnostic groups since there is often
overlap in the clinical symptoms, genetics, and the neuroimaging findings of these
disorders and in the clinical interventions used to treat them. Research with each
diagnostic group of children informs the work done with the other diagnostic groups. For
example, children with autism can have mood dysregulation when asked to shift activities
and a significant subset can suffer from a comorbid bipolar disorder or depressive
disorder. Children with schizophrenia can also look like they have bipolar disorder with
psychotic features and figuring out the diagnostic boundaries can be challenging. By
studying all three groups of children, Dr. Frazier hopes to find biomarkers that might be
specific to each diagnosis. In addition, she hopes to find biomarkers that may be less
specific to diagnosis but more pertinent to disorders of neurodevelopment in general. The
overarching goal is for Dr. Frazier's research efforts to lead to improved care of
children and families affected by these disorders.
CANDI is involved in a variety of research pursuits including genetic studies,
intervention studies and neuroimaging efforts. Dr. Frazier collaborates with a number of
investigators both locally and nationally in order to tackle difficult questions. The
neuroimaging studies use technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to
investigate the development of brain structure and function. Using these techniques Dr.
Frazier's team hopes to characterize normal development and advance the
understanding of issues surrounding mental illness and atypical development and their
Contributions to Books
Aggression (with Bruce Meltzer and Martha Castro), Pediatric Psychopharmacology: Principles and Practice (2010)
Presentations and Posters