Research Symposium

Formerly Known as the Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium



The Research Symposium takes place each year at AACAP’s Annual Meeting. The purpose of the Research Symposium is to bring to the practicing clinician and academician a review and discussion of advanced scientific techniques and how they are now, or very soon will be, relevant to the contemporary clinical practice of child and adolescent psychiatry. This is an educational session meant to emphasize scientific topics of greatest interest to child and adolescent psychiatrists including recent findings in research treatment, neuroimaging, genetics, and more.   

Participation in the Research Symposium is open to active researchers across disciplines whose work addresses child and adolescent mental health. Representatives from parent advocacy groups, federal parties, and members of industry or private corporations are also encouraged to attend. 


2022 Research Symposium

A Real Treat: Advances in Implementation and Treatment Trial Methodology and Design for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Co-chairs: Leslie A. Hulvershorn, MD, and Daniel P. Dickstein, MD

  • MOBILITY: Lessons Learned From a Large Pragmatic Pediatric Psychiatry Trial Conducted Before and During COVID-19
    Melissa P. DelBello, MD, MS
  • Harnessing Implementation Science to Realize the Promise of Evidence-Based Practices in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Rinad S. Beidas, PhD
2021 Research Symposium

Leveraging National Data Sources to Rapidly Identify the Early Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Co-chairs: Bonnie T. Zima, MD, MPH, and Rasim Diler, MD

  • Association Between Statewide School Closure and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality in the United States
    Katherine Auger, MD, MSC
  • Children's Mental and Behavioral Health Before, During, and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Rebecca Leeb, PhD
2020 Research Symposium

Developments In Irritability: An Old Phenotype With New Frontiers
Chair: Abidemi Adegbola, MD

  • Why Bullies Attack: Insights into the Neural Circuitry of Aggression
    Scott Russo, PhD
  • Irritability: Translational Opportunities and Challenges
    Ellen Leibenluft, MD
2019 Research Symposium

Advances in the Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Translating Findings to the Clinic
Co-chairs: Ellen J. Hoffman, MD, PhD, and David Cochran, MD, PhD

  • The Revolution Has Begun: Autism, Genomics, and the Advancing Science of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
    Matthew State, MD, PhD
  • Harnessing an Autism Genomic Revolution in the Here and Now: Personalized Medicine, Risk-Based Counseling, and What to Do About Polygenic Risk
    John N. Constantino, MD
2018 Research Symposium

Opioids: From the Receptor to the Clinic
Chair: Leslie Hulvershorn, MD

  • Molecular Pharmacology of Opioids: Chronic Stress and Developmental Exposures
    Charles Chavkin, PhD
  • Opioid Use Disorders in Youth: NIDA Research Advances and Implications
    Geetha Subramaniam, MD
2017 Research Symposium

Opioids: Social Neuroscience and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Priorities at NIMH
Chair: Manpreet K. Singh, MD

  • Combining Electrophysiology and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Study Social Visual Cognition
    David Leopold, PhD
  • Advancing Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research: A View from the NIMH
    Shelli Avenevoli, PhD
2016 Research Symposium

Chair: Moira A. Rynn, MD

  • Development of Human Emotion Regulation Neurobiology and the Role of the Caregiver
    Nim Tottenham, PhD
  • Caregiver Presence Modifies Neural Networks Processing of Trauma in Infancy
    Regina M. Sullivan, PhD
2015 Research Symposium

Chairs: Neal Ryan, MD, and Bradley Peterson, MD

  • Anxiety, Cognition and Habit: A Memory Systems Perspective
    Mark G. Packard, PhD
  • The Role of Exome Sequencing and Other New Genetic Tests in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Arthur L. Beaudet, MD
2014 Research Symposium

Chairs: Bennett Leventhal, MD, and Neal D. Ryan, MD

  • Serotonin and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Clues to a 50 Year Old Mystery
    Randy D. Blakely, PhD
  • Genetic Mechanisms Controlling the Development of the Forebrain
    John L.R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD
2013 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium

Chairs: Bennett Leventhal, MD, and Neal D. Ryan, MD

  • The Brain Adapts All Life Long
    Floyd E. Bloom, MD
  • The Legacy of Childhood Malnutrition: Mental Health Over the Life Span
    Janina Galler, MD
2012 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium

Social Context in Development
Chairs: Bennett L. Leventhal, MD, and Neal D. Ryan, MD

  • Lessons from Songbirds about Basal Ganglia Circuits, Social Context, and Learning
    Allison J. Doupe, MD, PhD
  • Lessons from Children About Health Disparities, Social Context, and Methodological Quandaries
    Nancy E. Adler, PhD
2011 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium

Phenotypes, Genetics, Imaging, and Networks
Chairs: Neal D. Ryan, MD, and Bennett Leventhal, MD

  • Recent Progress in Gene Identification for Selected Neurologic Disorders: Relevance to Psychiatry
    Kathleen R. Merikangas, PhD
  • Imaging, Genetics, Psychiatry and the Mouse
    Jason P. Lerch, PhD
  • Recent Advances in Neurodevelopmental Imaging in Children and Adolescents: Structural Connectivity and Health Neurodevelopment
    Kelly Botteron, MD
2010 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium

Stress, Anxiety, and the Developing Brain
Chairs: Neal D. Ryan, MD, and Bennett Leventhal, MD

  • Fearful Brains
    Joseph E. LeDoux, PhD
  • Risk for Anxiety during Adolescence: Insights from Human Imaging to Mouse Genetics
    B.J. Casey, PhD
  • Diverse Mechanisms of Sex and Stress Hormone Action throughout the Brain: The Significance of Structural and Functional Plasticity
    Bruce S. McEwen, PhD
2009 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium

Symposium Contributions of Genetics and Experience in Shaping the Development of Brain and Behavior
Chairs: Neal D. Ryan, MD,; David Shaffer, FRCPsych,; and Bennett Leventhal, MD

  • The Critical Role of Early Experience in the Development of Brain and Behavior: A Study of Spatial Hearing in Barn Owls
    Eric I. Knudsen, PhD
  • The Importance of Early Life Experience on Behavioral Affect Regulation
    Judy L. Cameron, PhD
  • The Clinical-Basic Research Interface Leading to New Insights into Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Pat Levitt, PhD
2008 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium

Genetics and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Dynamic Interplay of Phenotype, Genotype, and Treatment
Chairs: David Shaffer, FRCP, FRCPsych,; Edwin Cook, MD;, and Bennett Leventhal, MD

  • Epidemiology and Genetics: refining and redefining early onset psychiatric disorders
    Richard D. Todd, MD
  • Fragile X, from synaptic structure to a possible treatment-related biomarker
    William T. Greenough, PhD
  • Diabetes Mellitus: A Model for Genetic Studies of Autism and Other Childhood Psychiatric Disorders
    Graeme Bell, PhD
2007 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium

Genetic and Epigenetic Influences on Brain Development and Behavior, and Their Importance for Understanding Childhood Psychiatric Disorders
Chairs: Bradley S. Peterson, MD,; Jean A. Frazier, MD, and; Bennett L. Leventhal, MD

  • Genetic Control of Prefrontal Cortex Development
    John L. R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD
  • Genetic and Genomic Studies of Patterning in the Human Cerebral Cortex
    Chris Walsh, MD, PhD
  • Variations in Maternal Care Produces Stable Phenotypic Variation in Stress Responses Associated with Epigenetic Programming of Transcriptional Sites
    Michael Meaney, PhD
  • Genomics and the Future of Medicine: Beyond the Human Genome Project
    Eric S. Lander, PhD
2006 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium
  • Structural and Functional Plasticity in the Adult and Developing Brain
    Fred H. Gage, MD
2005 Founders of the Research Initiative Symposium
  • Human Genetics, Molecular Genetics, and Neuroimaging Approaches to Developmental Psychopathology
    James Kennedy, MD,; Jay Gingrich, MD, PhD,; Daniel S. Pine, MD, and; Bennett Leventhal, MD