David Hessl

David Hessl

Position Title
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science


Research Interests 
Dr. Hessl's clinical interests involve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral evaluation of children, adolescents and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders, especially those with fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and learning disabilities. He also has expertise in developmental psychopathology, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, in infants and young children. Dr. Hessl received his Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington in 1997, which included a clinical internship at Stanford University, and received postdoctoral fellowship training at the UC Berkeley Institute of Human Development during 1997-1998. Dr. Hessl directs the Translational Psychophysiology and Assessment Laboratory (T-PAL) at the MIND Institute to investigate the emotional psychophysiology of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and to develop novel outcome measures for clinical trials. His work currently concentrates on autism, fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, and fragile X premutation carriers, who are at risk for neurodegenerative disease. In addition, his lab is conducting clinical trials of cognitive training for individuals with fragile X and autism. He conducts collaborative studies with other researchers, investigating brain imaging, molecular genetics and neuropsychology in an effort to understand links between genetics, brain function and behavior.

Selected Publications 

Au J, Berkowitz-Sutherland L, Schneider A, Schweitzer JB, Hessl D, & Hagerman RJ (2014). A feasibility trial of Cogmed working memory training in fragile X syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Genetics 3(3).

Sansone SM, Schneider A, Bickel E, Berry-Kravis E, Prescott C, & Hessl D (2014). Improving IQ measurement in intellectual disabilities using true deviation from population norms. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 6(16), 1-14.

McCormick C, Hessl D, Macari SL, Ozonoff S, Green C, Rogers SJ (2014). Electrodermal and behavioral responses of children with autism spectrum disorders to sensory and repetitive stimuli. Autism Research 7(4), 468-480.

Ballinger EC, Cordeiro L, Chavez AD, Hagerman RJ, & Hessl D (2014). Emotion potentiated startle in fragile X syndrome.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities 44(10), 2536-2546.

Cohen S, Masyn K, Mastergeorge A, & Hessl D (2015). Psychophysiological responses to emotional stimuli in children and adolescents with autism and fragile X syndrome. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 44(2), 250-263. PMID: 24156344.

Schneider A, Leigh MJ, Adams P, Nanakul R, Chechi T, Olichney J, Hagerman RJ, & Hessl D (2013). Electrocortical changes associated with minocycline treatment in fragile X syndrome. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 27(10), 965-963. PMID: 23981511.

Wang JY, Hessl D, Schneider A, Tassone F, Hagerman RJ, & Rivera SM (2013). Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome: Influence of the FMR1 gene on motor fiber tracts in males with normal and premutation alleles. JAMA Neurology 70(8), 1022-1029. PMID: 23753897.

Berry-Kravis E, Hessl D, Abbeduto L, Reiss AL, Beckel-Michener A, & Urv TK (2013). Outcome measures for clinical trials in fragile X syndrome. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 34(7), 508-522. PMID: 24042082.

Leigh MJS, Nguyen DV, Mu Y, Winarni TI, Schneider A, Chechi T, Polussa J, Doucet P, Tassone F, Rivera SM, Hessl D, & Hagerman RJ (2013). A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of minocycline in children and adolescents with fragile X syndrome. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 34(3), 147-155. PMID: 23572165

Berry-Kravis EM, Hessl D, Rathmell B, Zarevics P, Cherubini M, Walton-Bowen K, Mu Y, Nguyen DM, Gonzalez-Heydrich J, Wang PP, Carpenter RL, Bear MF, & Hagerman RJ (2012). Effects of STX209 (arbaclofen) on neurobehavioral function in children and adults with fragile X syndrome: A randomized, controlled, Phase 2 trial. Science Translational Medicine, 4(152): 152ra127. PMID: 22993294

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. PMID: 21972117

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. PMID: 21783174

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. PMID: 21267642