Joseph Piven, M.D.

Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Research Interests & Goals:
Joseph Piven, M.D. is currently the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology, and Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at the University of North Carolina. He received a medical degree from the University of Maryland and completed residencies in General, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed a John Merck Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Psychiatric Genetics at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and School of Public Health. Subsequently he joined the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa. At UNC Dr. Piven currently directs an NIH-funded T32 Post-Doctoral Research Training Program in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and the federally funded University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, in North Carolina. He currently directs an NIH-funded, multi-center Autism Center of Excellence (ACE), to examine early brain and behavior development in infants at high familial risk for autism. Other NIH research projects include studies of brain and behavior development in children with Fragile X Syndrome, as well as examining late life manifestations and issues in elderly individuals with autism.
My primary research focus is on pathogenesis, including brain and behavior mechanisms underlying the development of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. I direct a large-scale study of infants at risk for autism by virtue of having an older sibling with autism. The study examines brain and behavior changes as they unfold from 3 through 36+ months of age in infants at high and low risk for autism, including the ~ 20% who develop autism. Our work has included study of early developmental mechanisms e.g., visual orienting at 6 months of age in relationship to development of specific fiber tracks as well as more computer-based brain characterization and the relationship of brain and behavior to underlying genetic architecture. In addition to this focus on early development and pathogenesis, I have begun work on examining development throughout the life-span in autism, studying characteristics of autistic individuals over age 50.