Joanna A. Christodoulou, EdD

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Associate Professor, Director of the BEAM Lab
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Research: BEAM Lab
(617) 643-1482
Office Location: 
Center for Health & Rehabilitation Research, Building 79/96 – Office 208. Shouse 429.

Dr. Joanna A. Christodoulou is Associate 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. She integrates roles as clinician, developmental cognitive neuroscientist, and educator, focusing her work on:

  1. Identifying risk factors from school and home contexts associated with learning challenges
  2. Investigating effective identification of learning difficulties across clinical and research settings
  3. Optimizing intervention practices for struggling students

To explore these research areas, Dr. Christodoulou uses neuroimaging and behavioral tools and works with participants as young as four years old through adulthood. Her primary research focus has been on the development of reading and related skills, and approaches to harnessing individual variability to improve educational outcomes. In addition, Dr. Christodoulou studies the brain-behavior dynamic underlying reading and cognitive skills.

Dr. Christodoulou's work has been supported locally, nationally, and internationally. She was awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for research into Neurocognitive Underpinnings of Dyslexia and Dyscalcullia in 2016. She 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 the White House (2015) to discuss education neuroscience topics and implications for practice. She also received a Faculty Research Fellowship Grant by the Institute (2014) to investigate the impact of summer experiences on reading for students with language-based learning disabilities.

Research Interests

  • 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


Selected Publications

Christodoulou, J.A., Cyr, A., Murtagh, J., Chang, P., Lin, J., Guarino, A.J., Hook, P., & Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2017). Impact of intensive summer reading intervention for children with reading disabilities and difficulties in early elementary school. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 50(2), 115-127.

Romeo*, R., Christodoulou*, J.A., Halverson, K.K., Murtagh, J., Cyr, A.B., Schimmel, C., Chang, P., Hook, P.E., & Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2017). Socioeconomic status and reading disability: neuroanatomy and plasticity in response to intervention. Cerebral Cortex, 50(2), 115-127. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx131 PMID: 28591795

Christodoulou, J.A. (2017). Reading: Insights on a common skill from uncommon cases. In M.S. Schwartz & E.J. Pare-Blagoev (Eds.), Research in Mind, Brain and Education. New York: Routledge.

Katzir, T. Christodoulou, J.A., & DeBode, S. (2017). When left hemisphere reading is compromised: Comparing reading ability in children after left cerebral hemispherectomy and children with developmental dyslexia. Epilepsia, 57(10), 1602-1609. 

Luk, G., & Christodoulou, J. A. (2016). Assessing and Understanding the Needs of Dual-Language Learners. In N. Lesaux & S. Jones (Ed.), The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education: Linking Science To Policy for A New Generation of Pre-K (pp. 67-90). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Christodoulou, J.A., Del Tufo, S.N., Lymberis, J., Saxler, P.K., Ghosh, S.S., Triantafyllou, C., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., & Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2014). Brain bases of reading fluency in typical reading and impaired fluency in dyslexia. PLoS ONE 9(7): e100552. 

Christodoulou, J.A., Saxler, P., & Del Tufo, S.N. (2014). New frontiers in education neuroscience. In A. Holliman (Ed.), The Routledge International Companion to Educational Psychology (pp. 202-212). New York: Routledge.

Christodoulou, J.A., Walker, L.M., Del Tufo, S.N., Katzir, T., Gabrieli, J.D.E., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S. & Chang, B.S. (2012). Abnormal structural and functional connectivity in gray matter heterotopia. Epilepsia, 53(6), 1024-32.

Immordino-Yang, M.H., Christodoulou, J.A. & Singh, V. (2012). “Rest is not idleness”: Implications of the brain’s default mode for development and education. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 7(4), 352-364.


  • 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

Curriculum Vitae