David Hessl, Ph.D. - IDDRC Investigator

David Hessl, Ph.D.Director, Translational Psychophysiology and Assessment Laboratory (T-PAL), MIND Institute. Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2273
Sacramento, California 95817

Phone: 916-703-0249 / Fax: 916-703-0244
E-mail: drhessl@ucdavis.edu

Areas of Interest

Fragile X syndrome, Fragile X Premutation, FXTAS, Autism, Down syndrome, Intellectual Disabilities


David Hessl is the Director of the Translational Psychophysiology and Assessment Laboratory (T-PAL) and Co-Director of the Neurobehavioral Analysis Core of the IDDRC. Dr. Hessl’s research is focused broadly on elucidating the behavioral, cognitive and physiological basis of fragile X-associated disorders and autism, and on the development of novel outcome measures for treatment studies. Current projects are focused on identifying markers of neurodegeneration in premutation carriers, evaluation of the efficacy of cognitive training and behavioral treatment for children with fragile X syndrome, and development and validation of cognitive tests for use as outcome measures in clinical trials for fragile X and Down syndromes, and other forms of intellectual disabilities.

Current IDDRC Projects

  • Trajectories and Markers of Neurodegeneration in Carriers of the Fragile X Premutation, NIMH/NIH, R01 MH078041
  • Cognitive Training for Fragile X Syndrome, John Merck Fund Developmental Disabilities Translational Research Grant

Recent Representative Publications

Sansone SM, Schneider A, Bickel E, Berry-Kravis E, Prescott C, & Hessl D (In press). Improving IQ measurement in intellectual disabilities using true deviation from population norms. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Sansone SM, Widaman KF, Hall SS, Reiss AL, Lightbody A, Kaufmann WE, Berry-Kravis E, Lachiewicz A, Brown EC, & Hessl D (2011). Psychometric study of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist in fragile X syndrome and implications for targeted treatment. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 42(7), 1377-1392.

Hessl D, Wang JM, Schneider A, Koldewyn K, Le L, Iwahashi C, Tassone F, Hagerman PJ, & Rivera SM (2011). Deficient FMRP underlies amygdala dysfunction in carriers of the fragile X premutation. Biological Psychiatry, 70(9), 859-865.

Farzin F, Scaggs F, Hervey C, Berry-Kravis E, & Hessl D (2011). Reliability of eye tracking and pupillometry measures in individuals with fragile X syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(11), 1515-1522.

Hessl D, Cordeiro L, Yuhas J, Campbell A, Ornitz E, Berry-Kravis E, Chruscinski E, Hervey C, Long JM, & Hagerman RJ (2009). Prepulse inhibition in fragile X syndrome: Feasibility, reliability and implications for treatment. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 150B(4) 545-553.