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Lauren McGrath

Assistant Professor School of Education

Additional Positions at AU

Dr. McGrath's research focuses on neuropsychological, genetic, and environmental risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly learning disabilities. Her work is cross-disciplinary, integrating perspectives and methods from neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, child clinical psychology, and education. Current studies focus on the ways in which multiple neurocognitive risk factors combine and interact to increase risk for learning disabilities and related disorders.


Postdoc, Harvard Medical School, Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital

Ph.D. Child Clinical Psychology, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Denver

M.A. Child Clinical Psychology, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Denver

B.S. Neuroscience, B.A. Psychology, Brandeis University

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CAS - School of Education
Gray - 217
Contact Info
(202) 885-2726

Send email to Lauren McGrath

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Take the Neuromyths Brain Challenge

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

Full publication list here.  Click title for full text of selected publications:

Learning disabilities and related neurodevelopmental disorders:

A multiple deficit model of Reading Disability and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Searching for shared cognitive deficitsMcGrath, L. M., Pennington, B. F., Shanahan, M. A., Santerre-Lemmon, L. E., Barnard, H. D., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C., Olson, R. K. (2011).  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 547-557.

Etiology and neuropsychology of comorbidity between RD and ADHD: The case for multiple-deficit models.  Willcutt, E. G., Betjemann, R. S., McGrath, L. M., Chhabildas, C., Pennington, B. F. (2010).  Cortex, 46, 1345-61.

Gene x Environment Interactions in Reading Disability and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  Pennington, B. F., McGrath, L. M., Barnard, H., Rosenberg, J., Smith, S. D., Willcutt, E. G., Friend, A., DeFries, J. C., Olson, R. K. (2009).  Developmental Psychology, 45, 77-89.

Children with comorbid Speech Sound Disorder and Specific Language Impairment are at increased risk for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. McGrath, L. M., Hutaff-Lee, C., Scott, A., Boada, R., Shriberg, L., & Pennington, B. F. (2008).  Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 151-163.

Gene x Environment interactions in speech sound disorder predict language and preliteracy outcomes. McGrath, L. M., Pennington, B. F., Willcutt, E. G., Boada, R., Shriberg, L. D., Smith, S. D. (2007).  Development & Psychopathology, 19, 1047-1072.

Neuropsychology and genetics of speech, language, and literacy disorders. Peterson, R. L., McGrath, L. M., Smith, S. D., Pennington, B. F. (2007).  Pediatric Clinics of North America, 54, 543 - 561.

Breakthroughs in the search for dyslexia candidate genes. McGrath, L. M., Smith, S. D., Pennington, B. F. (2006).  Trends in Molecular Medicine, 12, 333-341.

Executive dysfunction and its relationship to language ability in verbal school-age children with autism. Joseph, R. M., McGrath, L., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2005).  Developmental Neuropsychology, 27, 361-378.


Genetic and environmental risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders:

Copy Number Variation in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Tourette Syndrome: A Cross-Disorder Study. McGrath, L. M., Yu, D., Marshall, C., Davis, L. K., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Li, B., ... & Cook, E., Pauls, D.L., Wang, K., Scharf, J. (2014). Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(8), 910-919.

Genetic predictors of risk and resilience in psychiatric disorders: A cross-disorder genome-wide association study of functional impairment in major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. McGrath, L. M., Cornelis, M.C., Lee, P.H., Robinson, E.B., Duncan, L.E., Barnett, J.H., Huang, J., Gerber, G., Sklar, P., Sullivan, P., Perlis, R.H., Smoller, J.W. (2013). Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet, 162(8), 77-788.

Bringing a developmental perspective to anxiety genetics. McGrath, L. M., Weill, S., Robinson, E.B., Macrae, R., Smoller, J.W. (2012).  Dev Psychopathol. Nov; 24(4): 1179-93.

A Latent Modeling Approach to Genotype-Phenotype Relationships: Maternal Problem Behavior Clusters, Prenatal Smoking, and MAOA GenotypeMcGrath, L. M., Mustanski, B., Metzger, A., Kistner-Griffin, E., Pine, D., Cook, E., Wakschlag, L. (2012).  Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 15 (4), 269-282. 

Grants and Sponsored Research

2014-2015, American University Faculty Research Support Grant, Project: Disentangling the cognitive web of developmental learning and behavioral disorders. 

2011-2013, National Institute of Mental Health, post-doctoral NRSA, T32 MH16259-32, Harvard Medical School, Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological and Social Psychiatry, Project: Developmental Approaches to the Genetics of Anxiety Disorders

2007-2008, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, pre-doctoral NRSA, F31 DC008726, University of Denver, Project: Genetic Interactions in Developmental Dyslexia

2007-2008, American Psychological Association, Dissertation Research Award, Project: Gene x Environment Interactions in Developmental Dyslexia  


Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

2012, Mysell Award finalist, Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry

2011, Anxiety Disorders Association of America Travel Award

2010, World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics Early Career Travel Award

2007, Harry Gollob Award, University of Denver

2005, International Neuropsychological Society Fellowship to attend the Vivian Smith Advanced Studies Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Xylocastro, Greece

2004, John Merck Biology of Developmental Disabilities Summer Institute Fellowship

2001, Reis and Sowul Family Prize in Neuroscience, Brandeis University

1999, 2000, Howard Hughes Summer Fellowship, Brandeis University

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