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. 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

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



Pollack, C., Wilmot, D., Centanni, T., Halverson, K., Imhof, A., Wade, K., Romeo, R., Capella, J., Frosch, I., D’Mello, A., Al Dahhan, N. Z., Gabrieli, J. D.E. & Christodoulou, J. A. (2021, August). Anxiety, motivation, and ability in math and reading in children with and without learning difficulties. Paper presented at the 19th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), [Virtual].

Al Dahhan, N.Z., Halverson, K., Peek, C., Wilmot, D., Romeo, R., Imhof, A., Wade, K., D’Mello, A. Sridha, A., Gabrieli, J.D.E., Christodoulou, J.A. (2020). Dissociating executive function and ADHD influences on reading ability in children with Dyslexia. Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Boston, MA.

Halverson, K., Meegoda, O., Beckius, H., Imhof, A., Katzir, T., & Christodoulou, J.A. (2018, November). Reading after hemispherectomy: Comparing children's reading ability with left or right hemisphere. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Boston, MA.

Imhof, A., D'Mello, A., Halverson, K., Wilmot, D., Romeo, R., Frosch, I., Sridhar, A., Gabrieli, J., & Christodoulou, J.A. (2018, November). Examining rates of comorbidity in Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & ADHD. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Boston, MA.

Meegoda, O., DeNovi, N., Pennebaker, M., Halverson, K., Romeo, R., Imhof, A., Wilmot, D., Centanni, T., Gabrieli, J. & Christodoulou, J.A. (2018, November). Reading miscue analysis in children with Dyslexia, comorbid Dyslexia/ADHD, & typical reading skills. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Boston, MA.

Mesite, L., Bhatia, P., Romeo, R., Gabrieli, J., & Christodoulou, J.A. (2018, November). Exploring relationships between socioeconomic status & reading measures in children with & without reading difficulties. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Boston, MA.

Mesite, L., McIntyre, J., & Christodoulou, J.A. (2018, November). Early reading development in children with & without Specific Learning Disabilities. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Boston, MA.

Selected Presentation Topics Offered for Professional Development

  • Neuroscience of reading: Development, difficulties, and intervention
  • Updating common myths among educators
  • Screening and assessment for reading difficulty
  • Summer reading: Insights for parents and educators and opportunities for struggling readers

Pollack, C., Wilmot, D., Centanni, T., Halverson, K., Imhof, A., Wade, K., Romeo, R., Capella, J., Frosch, I., D’Mello, A., Al Dahhan, N. Gabrieli, J.D.E., & Christodoulou, J.A. (2021). Anxiety, motivation, and competence in mathematics and reading for children with and without learning difficulties. Frontiers in Psychology/Education, 12, 704821. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.704821

Christodoulou, J.A., Halverson, K., Meegoda, O., Beckius, H., Moser, S., Imhof, A., Maguire, A. (2021). Literacy-related skills among children after left or right hemispherectomy. Epilepsy & Behavior, 121(Pt A), 107995. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107995

Al Dahhan, N.Z., Mesite, L., Feller, M.J., & Christodoulou J.A. (2021). Identifying reading disabilities: A survey of practitioners. Learning Disability Quarterly, 44(4), 235-247. doi:10.1177/0731948721998707

Romeo*, R., Christodoulou*, J.A., Halverson, K.K., Murtagh, J., Cyr, A.B., Schimmel, C., Chang, P., Hook, P.E., & Gabrieli, J.D.E. (2018). 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 

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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0100552 

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.

Contact Information

  • jchristodoulou@mghihp.edu
  • (617) 643-1482
  • Center for Health & Rehabilitation Research, Building 79/96 – Office 208. Shouse 429.