Skip to main content

Mark Shen

Assistant Professor


Assistant Professor


Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities – Carrboro

Education and Training:

BA, Brown University
MA, Psychology, San Diego State University
PhD, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of California-Davis MIND Institute
Post-doctoral Fellowship, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, UNC-Chapel Hill
NIH Career Development Award (K12 BIRCWH)

Research Statement:

Dr. Shen is a translational neuroscientist whose research integrates neuroimaging, genetics, and clinical assessment in infants and toddlers to study the early onset of neurodevelopmental disorders. He is an assistant professor at UNC School of Medicine, with dual appointments at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) and Department of Psychiatry. Prior to his research career, he worked for six years doing clinical work as a behavioral treatment provider to children with autism. As a graduate student, Dr. Shen published the first MRI study to longitudinally measure brain growth trajectories in infants prior to their diagnosis of autism. As a postdoc, he replicated and validated these findings in an independent, multi-site study of infants who developed autism. This research was recognized by Autism Speaks as one of the “Top 10 Papers of 2017”. Five of his papers have been nominated by the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (NIH IACC) as finalists for the NIH annual report of “the most significant advances in autism research”. In 2018, Dr. Shen was awarded the Young Investigator of the Year by the International Society for Autism Research.

Dr. Shen was recently awarded an NIH-funded career-development award (K12) to start his own laboratory and support a multidisciplinary research program on the early pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, Fragile X syndrome, and Angelman syndrome. His current research objective is to integrate multiple approaches (neuroimaging, genetics, and clinical assessment) to identify early markers and therapeutic targets for these conditions. Dr. Shen also collaborates with basic scientists to translate neuroimaging findings in children to mechanistic studies in animal models. 

Dr. Shen serves in several positions for the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), including founding officer of the INSAR Early Career Committee (supporting junior faculty autism researchers worldwide) and founding member of the INSAR Community Advisory Committee (advocating for the autism family/stakeholder community). He serves on the Executive Committee of the Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) Network, an NIH Autism Center of Excellence (


PubMed Researchgate logo Google Scholar

Mark Shen