Alessandra M. Passarotti, PhD


Institute for Juvenile Research and Center for Cognitive Medicine M/C 913
912 South Wood St.
Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone: (312) 355-0109
Office Fax: (312) 413-0063
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Assistant: Erin Harral, (312) 413-1710, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Passarotti, A.M., Banich, M.T., Sood, R.K., & Wang, J. (2002). A generalized role of interhemispheric interaction under attentionally-demanding conditions: Evidence from the auditory and tactile modalities. Neuropsychologia, 40, 1082-1096.

Paul, B.M., Stiles J., Passarotti, A.M., Bavar. N., and Bellugi U. (2002). Face and Place processing in Williams Syndrome: Evidence for selective dorsal stream deficit. NeuroReport, 13 (9) 115-1119.

Passarotti, A.M., Paul, B.M., Bussiere, J., Buxton R., Wong E., and Stiles J. (2003). Development of Face and Location Processing: A fMRI Study. Developmental Science, 6 (1), 100-117.

Passarotti, A.M., Smith, J., DeLano, M. and Huang, J. (2007) “Developmental Differences in the Neural Bases of the Face Inversion Effect Show Progressive Tuning of Face-selective Regions To the Upright Orientation”. NeuroImage, 34 (4), 1708-1722.

Pavuluri MN, Passarotti A. Emotion Processing in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics (in press).

Pavuluri MN, Passarotti A, Harral E, Sweeney JA. An fMRI Study of the Neural Correlates of Incidental versus Directed Emotion Processing In Pediatric Bipolar Disorder (in review).

AM Passarotti, MN Pavuluri & JA Sweeney. Neurophysiological Correlates of Response Inhibition Deficits in Pediatric Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatric Bipolar Conference, March 2008, Cambridge, MA (Abstract).

Alessandra M. Passarotti, PhD

Assistant Professor in Psychiatry

Dr. Passarotti is associated with the Institute for Juvenile Research at UIC and the Center for Cognitive Medicine. She obtained her PhD in Biological Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she gained an extensive background in cognitive neuroscience, and conducted research at The Beckman Institute examining attention processes, hemispheric specialization and interhemispheric interaction in adults and school-age children. She also underwent a 1-year practicum in clinical neuropsychology at UIUC. She then specialized in pediatric fMRI and brain development as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego.


  • IJR
  • CCM
  • Pediatric Translational Research in Affective and Cognitive Neuroscience and Treatment Laboratory


Dr. Passarotti has worked both with healthy and clinical populations such as children with Bipolar disorder, ADHD, Phenylketonuria, and Williams’ syndrome. She is interested in developing neurocognitive models of child development. To this end, she uses cognitive and fMRI paradigms to address the fundamental question of how the child cognition and brain mature into an adult stage, and what are the neural bases of certain developmental syndromes.


Dr. Passarotti’s research can be broadly divided into three interrelated areas, which examine the neurophysiological correlates of both cognitive and emotional development:

  • Examination of the development of the neural underpinnings of face processing and face emotion processing. Previous fMRI research conducted by Dr. Passarotti suggests prolonged neural development of the face processing circuitry, and progressive specialization of the right hemisphere and fusiform gyrus for this function, that extends well into adolescence. Current studies further examine the development of face processing strategies, and contributions of prefrontal cortex and amygdala to face emotion processing.
  • Examination of the biological bases of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. In collaboration with Dr. M. Pavuluri and Dr J. Sweeney Dr. Passarotti is examining the neural substrate of face emotion processing, response inhibition, and language functions in adolescents with bipolar disorder and ADHD, compared to healthy controls. Together with the research team led by Dr Pavuluri in the “Pediatric Translational Research in Affective and Cognitive Neuroscience and Treatment Laboratory” she is also studying the effects of pharmacological treatment such as Lamotrigine (Lamictal), Risperidone, and Divalproex Sodium on cognitive and emotional functioning in bipolar adolescents.
  • Examination of the development of attention and executive functions. Dr Passarotti is interested in examining how development of brain specialization and inter-regional communication contribute to more efficient attention processes and strategies. She previously found that efficient interhemispheric interaction via the corpus callosum (the main cortical commissure in the brain, which reaches full neural maturation in late adolescence) increases the overall attentional capacity of the brain, across different sensory modalities. She is now extending some of her paradigms to the developmental domain to study the contributions of interhemispheric interaction to attention development. She is also currently examining the neural and cognitive bases of response inhibition in pediatric bipolar disorder and ADHD.
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