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.


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.

Researcher Services

Researcher Areas

  • Developmental Neuropsychology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Pediatric Stroke

Research Departments

Research Divisions


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Buranahirun C, Walsh KS, Mrakotsky C, Croteau SE, Rajpurkar M, Kearney S, Hannemann C, Wilkening GN, Shapiro KA, Cooper DL. Neuropsychological function in children with hemophilia: A review of the Hemophilia Growth and Development Study and introduction of the current eTHINK study. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2020 Jan; 67(1):e28004. View abstract
  2. Mrakotsky C, Augustine DW, Watson C, Canavan J, Rivkin M, Snapper S. O-003 The Brain as Extraintestinal IBD Manifestation: Are Brain and Cognitive Differences in Pediatric Crohn's Disease Associated with Immune Gene Expression? Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2017 Feb; 23 Suppl 1:S1-S2. View abstract
  3. 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. View abstract
  4. Keethy D, Mrakotsky C, Szigethy E. Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease and depression: treatment implications. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2014 Oct; 26(5):561-7. View abstract
  5. 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. View abstract
  6. 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. View abstract
  7. 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. View abstract
  8. 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. View abstract
  9. 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. View abstract
  10. 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. View abstract
  11. 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. View abstract
  12. 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. View abstract
  13. 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. View abstract
  14. 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. View abstract
  15. 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. View abstract
  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 epilepsy and ADHD. Journal of Epilepsy and Behavior. 2007; 10(3):384-8. PMID: 17368109. View abstract
  17. 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. View abstract
  18. 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. View abstract
  19. 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. View abstract
  20. 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. View abstract
  21. 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. View abstract
  22. Mrakotsky C, Heffelfinger AK. Neuropsychological assessment. Luby JL, editor. Handbook of Preschool Mental Health. 2006; 283-310. View abstract
  23. Evans AC; Brain Development Cooperative Group . The NIH MRI study of normal brain development. Neuroimage. 2006; 30(1):184-202. PMID: 16376577.. View abstract
  24. Mrakotsky C, Waber DP. Chemotherapy agents for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Bellinger D, editor. Human Developmental Neurotoxicology. 2006; 131-147. View abstract
  25. Heffelfinger AK, Mrakotsky C. Cognitive development. Luby JL, editor. Handbook of Preschool Mental Health. 2006; 45-60. View abstract
  26. 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. View abstract
  27. Kaufmann L, Mrakotsky C, Proksch K. . Entwicklungsneuropsychologie (Developmental neuropsychology). Lerner H, Pusswald G, Kryspin-Exner I, editors. Lehrbuch der Klinischen Neuropsychologie. 2006; 373-384. View abstract
  28. 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. View abstract
  29. 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.. View abstract
  30. 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. View abstract
  31. 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). View abstract
  32. 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. View abstract
  33. 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. View abstract
  34. 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. View abstract
  35. 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. View abstract
  36. 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. View abstract
  37. Mrakotsky C. Spatial cognition, face perception, and affect recognition in preschool depressive syndromes. A neuropsychological framework of social information processing [doctoral dissertation]. 2001. View abstract
  38. 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. View abstract