Meet the Director

Prior to becoming the Director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at UT Southwestern Medical Center, John A. Sweeney, Ph.D., served as director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine and as a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Sweeney's research program pursues investigations in the broad areas of basic and clinical cognitive neuroscience. His basic psychological research investigates brain systems that process different kinds of visual information in order to make decisions about how, where, and when to take adaptive behavioral action. This work is central to addressing the question of how perception, behavioral plans, and current environmental context are integrated and translated into action. Such work is fundamental to understanding alterations in these processes in neuropsychiatric disorders.

His clinical studies follow three tracks:

  1. Investigating the neural basis of neurobehavioral deficits in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders.
  2. Developing biomarkers for tracking effects of novel therapies targeting specific brain systems or behavioral processes.
  3. Investigating genetic risks for brain disorders using dense phenotyping strategies for resolving heterogeneity in complex disorders. He uses neurocognitive, neurophysiological, and neuroimaging tools in this research.