Profile

Bennett Shaywitz

Charles and Helen Schwab Professor in Dyslexia and Learning Development at Yale University and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

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Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D. is the Charles and Helen Schwab Professor in Dyslexia and Learning Development at Yale University and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. As a physician-scientist Dr. Shaywitz performs cutting-edge neuroscience research to advance the neuroscience of dyslexia and cares for children and adults who are dyslexic. Both a child neurologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Shaywitz is dedicated to ensuring that scientific progress in dyslexia is translated into policy and practice. His research applies functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the neurobiology of reading and dyslexia in children and adults. These studies have been critical in identifying a neural signature for dyslexia, making a previously hidden disability visible, and for the first time demonstrating the brain basis for the lack of fluency in dyslexia. Recent research by Dr. Shaywitz examines differences in brain connectivity between dyslexic and typical reading children, revealing that in dyslexia brain connectivity is disrupted to the word-form area, an area critical to reading fluency, and that connectivity is disrupted between reading and attention systems. A recent paper published in the November 2015 issue of Journal of Pediatrics found that the “Achievement Gap in Reading is Present as Early as First Grade and Persists Through Adolescence.” Another recent study focuses on the development of vocabulary in dyslexic children and still another examines the economic and personal impact of dyslexia on adults. A study in progress examines the relationship between measures of adult literacy and the reading of those same adults as children. Additional studies in progress use fMRI to investigate the effects of a pharmacological agent, atomoxetine, on reading and attentional mechanisms in dyslexia. The author of over 350 scientific papers, Dr. Shaywitz’ honors include election to membership in the National Academy of Medicine within the National Academies and recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Washington University. Dr. Shaywitz was selected, along with Dr. Sally Shaywitz, as recipient of the Lawrence G. Crowley Distinguished Lectureship at Stanford University; along with Dr. Sally Shaywitz, the Liberty Science Center 2019 Genius Award “in recognition of your inspiring accomplishments and your pioneering work in advancing our understanding of dyslexia;” a 2018 profile in the Scientists at Work section of the New York Times; featured speaker at the GoogleX conference on the Future of Reading and lead story on CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley; The Annie Glenn Award at Ohio State University; the Distinguished Lectureship at Bank Street College of Education; and the Stoll Distinguished Lecture at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Shaywitz received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric training, including serving as Chief Resident and then a fellowship in Child Neurology, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.