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Raphael Bernier PhD

Associate Professor
Adjunct Professor, Psychology
Phone: (206) 685-7585
Fax: (206) 598-7815

Site: Center on Human Development and Disability
Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD)
1701 Columbia Road
Box 357920
Seattle, WA 98195
Link to CV
Link to Website


My broad research interests span many aspects of autism--from genetics and neuroscience to phenotypic characterization and intervention. More specifically, I am interested in bridging the gap in our understanding of the relationship between putative causal genetic events and the neurological underpinnings of deficits in social cognition. To this end, I have examined amygdala functioning through psychophysiology, explored face processing through fMRI and ERP technology, and delved deeply into imitation abilities and the mirror neuron system through EEG work, in an effort to more clearly define and characterize the autism phenotype. My interests between genetics, neuroscience, and behavior have converged in several of my ongoing studies in which I’ve used electrophysiology to examine distinct genetic subtypes as well as family members of individuals with ASD. Ultimately, my aim is for my research to inform my clinical practice in work with individuals with developmental disorders.

My current work spans several areas including genetic mechanisms in ASD, phenotypic characterization of genetically defined subtypes of ASD, and connectivity in social cognition circuitry in ASD. As the Principal Investigator for the UW Simons Simplex Collection, Simons Variation in Individuals Project, and Autism Genome Project, and the Clinical Director of the ACE Center Extended Family Study of Autism, Genomic Hotspots of Autism and Next Generation Gene Discovery in Autism studies, I have focused on the ascertainment and characterization of large samples of individuals with autism for gene discovery focusing on the identification of autism susceptibility genes. As the Principal Investigator of the Mirror Neuron Study of Autism, Social Connectivity in Autism study, and Co-Principal Investigator on the Endophenotypes in Twins with Autism study, I have focused on the application of electrophysiology to increase our understanding of social cognition (and the corresponding deficits in autism) at the neurophysiological level. Other current work focuses on the role of culture in autism, the broader autism phenotype, and the cognitive profile in autism.

For more information about these research studies and other opportunities, please contact me at 206-685-7585.

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