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Christine Mrakotsky, PhD

Christine Mrakotsky PhD
Psychology Research
Hospital Title:
Attending in Pediatric Neuropsychology
Academic Title:
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:
Developmental NeuropsychologyMagnetic Resonance ImagingInflammatory bowel diseasePediatric Stroke
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Research Overview

Dr. Christine Mrakotsky studies the impact of neuroendocrine and neuroimmune factors on brain health and development in pediatric chronic illness. Her lab utilizes neurobehavioral assessment as well as structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Dr. Mrakotsky’s current research focuses on cognitive and brain development in pediatric Crohn’s disease, in particular, the effects of inflammation on white and gray matter development and neuropsychological function (i.e. memory, executive functions and mood). Further studies also include the neurotoxic effects of treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, as well as the acute and long term outcome of pediatric stroke. The Mrakotsky Lab employs advanced neuroimaging tools, neuropsychological assessment, and multiplex cytokine assays in both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, and collaborates closely with the Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Department of Neurology Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disorders Program, as well as the Fetal-Neonatal Neuroimaging Developmental Science Center.

About Christine Mrakotsky

Dr. Mrakotsky is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Attending in Pediatric Neuropsychology at Boston Children’s Hospital, Cerebrovascular Disorders and Stroke Program, Department of Neurology.
She received her PhD from the University of Vienna, Austria, and completed a postdoctoral clinical fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at Boston Children's Hospital, followed by research training and career development awards from both Boston Children’s Hospital and the NIH. She is the recipient of the NIH Mitchell Max Award for Research Excellence and Harvard Medical School Shore Scholar. Dr. Mrakotsky is also a licensed psychologist and health service provider in both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in Austria.


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles
  1. Mrakotsky C, Anand R, Watson C, Vu C, Matos A, Friel S, Rivkin M, Snapper S. O-018 New Evidence for Structural Brain Differences in Pediatric Crohn's Disease: Impact of Underlying Disease Factors. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2016 Mar; 22 Suppl 1:S6-7.
  2. Keethy D, Mrakotsky C, Szigethy E. Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease and depression: treatment implications. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2014 Oct; 26(5):561-7.
  3. Gonzalez-Heydrich J, Hsin O, Gumlak S, Kimball K, Rober A, Azeem MW, Hickory M, Mrakotsky C, Torres A, Mezzacappa E, Bourgeois B, Biederman J. Comparing stimulant effects in youth with ADHD symptoms and epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2014 Jul; 36:102-7.
  4. Szigethy EM, Youk AO, Benhayon D, Fairclough DL, Newara MC, Kirshner MA, Bujoreanu SI, Mrakotsky C, Bousvaros A, Srinath AI, Keljo DJ, Kupfer DJ, DeMaso DR. Depression subtypes in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 May; 58(5):574-81.
  5. Mrakotsky C, Forbes PW, Bernstein JH, Grand RJ, Bousvaros A, Szigethy E, Waber DP. Acute cognitive and behavioral effects of systemic corticosteroids in children treated for inflammatory bowel disease. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 Jan; 19(1):96-109.
  6. Thompson RD, Craig AE, Mrakotsky C, Bousvaros A, DeMaso DR, Szigethy E. Using the Children's Depression Inventory in youth with inflammatory bowel disease: support for a physical illness-related factor. Compr Psychiatry. 2012 Nov; 53(8):1194-9.
  7. Mrakotsky CM, Silverman LB, Dahlberg SE, Alyman MC, Sands SA, Queally JT, Miller TP, Cranston A, Neuberg DS, Sallan SE, Waber DP. Neurobehavioral side effects of corticosteroids during active treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children are age-dependent: report from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ALL Consortium Protocol 00-01. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2011 Sep; 57(3):492-8.
  8. Gonzalez-Heydrich J, Whitney J, Waber D, Forbes P, Hsin O, Faraone SV, Dodds A, Rao S, Mrakotsky C, Macmillan C, Demaso DR, de Moor C, Torres A, Bourgeois B, Biederman J. Adaptive phase I study of OROS methylphenidate treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2010 Jul; 18(3):229-37.
  9. Mrakotsky C, Ballou S, Ghodoussipour S, Waber D, Grand R. The Effects of Corticosteroids and Inflammation on Memory in Pediatric Crohn’s Disease: A Longitudinal Pilot Study. Central Society fo Clinical Research/Midwestern Section American Federation for Medical Research Combined 2009 Meeting. 2009.
  10. Mrakotsky C, Bousvaros A, Ballou S, Soelling G, Waber D, Grand R. Corticosteroids, Immune Factors and Memory in Pediatric Chronic Illness: First Results on the Long-Term Effects of Steroids. International Neuropsychological Society, Abstract Handbook. 2009.
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  12. Luby JL, Mrakotsky C, Stalets MM, Belden A, Heffelfinger A, William M, Spitznagel E. Risperidone in Preschool Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Advances in Preschool Psychopharmacology (Eds: JL Luby, MA Riddle). 2009; 87-99.
  13. MacMillan CM, Withney JE, Korndörfer SR, Tilley CA, Mrakotsky C, Gonzalez-Heydrich JM. Comparative clinical responses to risperidone and divalproex in patients with pediatric bipolar disorder. J Psychiatr Pract. 2008 May; 14(3):160-9.
  14. Waber DP, De Moor C, Forbes PW, Almli CR, Botteron KN, Leonard G, Milovan D, Paus T, Rumsey J; Brain Development Cooperative Group. The NIH MRI study of normal brain development: performance of a population based sample of healthy children aged 6 to 18 years on a neuropsychological battery. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2007; 13(5):729-46. PMID: 17511896.
  15. Gonzalez-Heydrich J, Dodds A, Whitney J, MacMillan C, Waber D, Faraone SV, Boyer K, Mrakotsky C, DeMaso D, Bourgeois B, Biederman J. Psychiatric disorders and behavioral characteristics of pediatric patients with epilepsy and ADHD. Journal of Epilepsy and Behavior. 2007; 10(3):384-8. PMID: 17368109.
  16. Gonzalez-Heydrich J, Dodds A, Whitney J, MacMillan C, Waber D, Faraone SV, Boyer K, Mrakotsky C, DeMaso D, Bourgeois B, Biederman J. Psychiatric disorders and behavioral characteristics of pediatric patients with both epilepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Epilepsy Behav. 2007 May; 10(3):384-8.
  17. Mrakotsky C, Masek B, Biederman J, Raches D, Hsin O, Forbes P, de Moor C, DeMaso DR, Gonzalez-Heydrich J. Prospective open-label pilot trial of mirtazapine in children and adolescents with social phobia. J Anxiety Disord. 2008; 22(1):88-97.
  18. Mrakotsky C. Göttingen: Hogrefe Publishers. 2007; pp.25-44. . Concepts of developmental neuropsychology (Konzepte der Entwicklungsneuro-psychologie). Kaufmann L, Nürk HC, Konrad K, Willmes K. Kognitive Entwicklungsneuropsychologie. 2007; 25-44.
  19. Luby J, Mrakotsky C, Stalets MM, Belden A, Heffelfinger A, Williams M, Spitznagel E. Risperidone in preschool children with autistic spectrum disorders: an investigation of safety and efficacy. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2006 Oct; 16(5):575-87.
  20. Rao S, Boyer K, Bergin A, Madsen J, MacMillan C, Korndörfer S, Mrakotsky C, DeMaso D, Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich J. . Behavioral and Emotional Functioning in Patients with Epilepsy Treated with Vagal Nerve Stimulator: A Naturalistic Follow-Up Study[abstract]. International Neuropsychological Society, Astract Handbook. 2006.
  21. Mrakotsky C, Heffelfinger AK. Neuropsychological assessment. Luby JL, editor. Handbook of Preschool Mental Health. 2006; 283-310.
  22. Evans AC; Brain Development Cooperative Group . The NIH MRI study of normal brain development. Neuroimage. 2006; 30(1):184-202. PMID: 16376577..
  23. Mrakotsky C, Waber DP. Chemotherapy agents for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Bellinger D, editor. Human Developmental Neurotoxicology. 2006; 131-147.
  24. Heffelfinger AK, Mrakotsky C. Cognitive development. Luby JL, editor. Handbook of Preschool Mental Health. 2006; 45-60.
  25. Kubinger KD, Litzenberger M, Mrakotsky C. Practiced intelligence testing based on a modern test conceptualization and its reference to the common intelligence theories. Learning and Individual Differences. 2006; 16:175-193.
  26. Kaufmann L, Mrakotsky C, Proksch K. . Entwicklungsneuropsychologie (Developmental neuropsychology). Lerner H, Pusswald G, Kryspin-Exner I, editors. Lehrbuch der Klinischen Neuropsychologie. 2006; 373-384.
  27. Mrakotsky C, Bousvaros A, Kenney E, Carpenter H, Szigethy E, Waber D, Grand R.(2006) . Executive functions and memory in children treated for inflammatory bowel disease: Impact of steroids vs. disease factors [abstract]. International Neuropsychological Society, Abstract Handbook. 2006.
  28. Mrakotsky C, Bousvaros A, Chriki L, Kenney E, Forbes P, Szigethy E, Waber D, Grand R. Impact of acute steroid treatment on memory, executive function, and mood in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease [abstract]. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition. 2005; 41(4):540-541..
  29. Luby JL, Mrakotsky C, Heffelfinger A, Brown K, Spitznagel E. Characteristics of depressed preschoolers with and without anhedonia: evidence for a melancholic depressive subtype in young children. Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Nov; 161(11):1998-2004.
  30. Mrakotsky C, Silverman L, Levy D, Miller T, Waber D. Neurobehavioral side effects of steroid treatment in children with leukemia [abstract]. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 2004; 10(2).
  31. Luby JL, Heffelfinger A, Mrakotsky C, Brown K, Hessler M, Spitznagel E. Alterations in stress cortisol reactivity in depressed preschoolers relative to psychiatric and no-disorder comparison groups. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003 Dec; 60(12):1248-55.
  32. Luby JL, Mrakotsky C, Heffelfinger A, Brown K, Hessler M, Spitznagel E. Modification of DSM-IV criteria for depressed preschool children. Am J Psychiatry. 2003 Jun; 160(6):1169-72.
  33. Luby JL, Heffelfinger AK, Mrakotsky C, Brown KM, Hessler MJ, Wallis JM, Spitznagel EL. The clinical picture of depression in preschool children. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Mar; 42(3):340-8.
  34. Luby JL, Mrakotsky C. Depressed preschoolers with bipolar family history: a group at high risk for later switching to mania? J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2003; 13(2):187-97.
  35. Luby JL, Heffelfinger AK, Mrakotsky C, Hessler MJ, Brown KM, Hildebrand T. Preschool major depressive disorder: preliminary validation for developmentally modified DSM-IV criteria. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2002 Aug; 41(8):928-37.
  36. Mrakotsky C. Spatial cognition, face perception, and affect recognition in preschool depressive syndromes. A neuropsychological framework of social information processing [doctoral dissertation]. 2001.
  37. Mrakotsky C. Intelligenzdiagnostikum fuer das Vorschulalter: Entwicklung einer Testbatterie fuer 5jaehrige als Ergaenzung zum AID. (Intelligence scale for the preschool age: Development of a cognitive battery as supplement to the AID scale)[Master's Thesis]. 1996.
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