Dr. Joanna A. Christodoulou is Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Director of the Brain, Education, and Mind (BEAM) Lab in the Center for Health and Rehabilitation Research. Dr. Christodoulou's lab conducts research on the brain-behavior links underlying reading development and difficulties, and their link to academic skills including math and attention. She has been trained as a clinician, developmental cognitive neuroscientist, and educator, and she holds additional appointments at MIT as Research Affiliate and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as Adjunct Lecturer. She earned a doctorate from Harvard in Human Development and Psychology, as well as masters degrees in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard and in Child Development from Tufts.

Dr. Christodoulou was awarded the Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award by the Learning & the Brain Foundation and the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society (2014). She joined a select group of researchers at Obama's White House (2015) to discuss education neuroscience topics and implications for practice. She also received Faculty Grants from the MGH Institute to investigate the impact of summer experiences on reading for students with language-based learning disabilities and the impact of COVID-19 on reading and socio-emotional correlates. She partners with schools, districts, policymakers, organizations, families, students, and other stakeholders to understand and improve reading opportunities for all students.

Dr. Christodoulou's recent research topics include:

  • Summer slide, glide, or gain: The effects of socioeconomic status and reading disability on summer reading outcomes (Funded by NIH)
  • Brain bases of reading and math disability (Funded by NSF)
  • Literacy-related skills among children after left or right hemispherectomy (In collaboration with The Brain Recovery Project)
  • Reading development during COVID-19: Examining social-emotional competencies as protective factors (Funded by MGH IHP)
  • BS, Biology-Psychology and Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA
  • MA, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University, Medford, MA
  • EdM, Mind, Brain, and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
  • EdD, Human Development and Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
  • Assessment
  • At-Risk Youth
  • Child Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Individual Differences
  • Language Development
  • Learning Development & Disorders
  • Literacy Development & Disorders
  • Neuroscience
  • Reading Development
  • Reading Intervention

Current projects address the following goals:

  • Improving our understanding of reading, math, and attention, as well as dyslexia, dyscalculia (math disability) and ADHD
  • Using behavioral tools and neuroimaging tools to better understand brain and behavior relationships
  • Investigating effective intervention approaches for struggling learners
  • Harnessing individual variability to improve educational outcomes

Contact Information

Awards and Honors

Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, 2023

The purpose of this award is to honor a distinguished MGH Institute of Health Professions (IHP) faculty member who has a sustained distinctive program of research that is recognized nationally and internationally for; 1) creating new knowledge that significantly impacts the scientific basis of his or her field of practice, and 2) advances the research mission of the IHP.