Desirée White

Desirée White

​Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Professor of Pediatrics (School of Medicine)
PhD, Washington University in St. Louis
MA, Washington University in St. Louis
BS, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
    View All People

    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
      CB 1125
      One Brookings Drive
      St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
    image of book cover

    ​The research of Professor White's Developmental Neuropsychology Laboratory focuses on cognitive development in children with disorders affecting frontal brain regions and associated white matter tracts. A population of particular interest is children with sickle cell disease, which is an underserved and understudied group at high risk for stroke.

    Children with phenylketonuria (a hereditary metabolic disease) represent another population of particular interest to White. The primary emphasis across pediatric populations is the development of executive abilities such as working memory, inhibitory control, and strategic processing. Neuroimaging correlates of cognition are examined using methods such as magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging. The effects of medical interventions on brain and cognition are also examined, such as hydroxyurea and blood transfusion for stroke prevention in children with sickle cell disease and sapropterin dihydrochloride for the treatment of phenylketonuria. 

    White is also Director of the Developmental & Behavioral Assessment Unit of the Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. This unit provides behavioral consultation and assessment services (e.g., assessment of cognitive, social, emotional, and adaptive function) to investigators conducting research with populations of children with or at risk for developmental disabilities (e.g., autism, fragile X syndrome, premature birth, stroke, traumatic brain injury). 

    Selected Publications

    Hawks, Z. W., Strube, M. J., Johnson, N. X., Grange, D. K., & White, D. A. (2018). Developmental trajectories of executive and verbal processes in children with phenylketonuria. Developmental Neuropsychology, 43, 207-218. PMID29432026

    Hood, A., Rutlin, J., Shimony, J. S., Grange, D. K., & White, D. A. (2017). Brain white matter integrity mediates the relationship between phenylalanine control and executive abilities in children with phenylketonuria. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disorders Reports, 33, 41-47. PMID27450369

    Hawks, Z., Shimony, J. S., Rutlin, J., Grange, D. K., Christ, S. E., & White, D. A. (2017). Pretreatment cognitive and neural differences between sapropterin dihydrochloride responders and non-responders with phenylketonuria. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports, 12, 8-13. PMID28271047

    Hood, A., Antenor-Dorsey, J. V., Rutlin, J., Hershey, T., Shimony, J. S., McKinstry, R. C., Grange, D. K., Christ, S. E., Steiner, R., & White, D. A. (2015). Prolonged exposure to high and variable phenylalanine levels over the lifetime predicts brain white matter integrity in children with phenylketonuria. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 114, 19-24.PMID25481106

    King, A., et al. (2014). Silent cerebral infarction, income, and grade retention among students with sickle cell. American Journal of Hematology, 89, 188-192. PMID25042018

    DeBaun, M. R., et al. (2014). Controlled trial of transfusions for silent cerebral infarcts in sickle cell anemia. New England Journal of Medicine, 371, 699-710.PMID25140956

    Camp, K., et al. (2014). Phenylketonuria Scientific Review Conference: State of the science and future research needs. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 112, 87-122PMID24667081

    Hood, A., Grange, D. K., Christ, S. E., Steiner, R., & White, D. A. (2014). Variability in phenylalanine control predicts IQ and executive abilities in children with phenylketonuria. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism,111, 445-451.  PMID24568837

    Antenor-Dorsey, J.A., Hershey, T., Rutlin, J., Shimony, J. S., McKinstry, R. C., Grange, D. K., Christ, S. E., & White, D. A. (2013). White mater integrity and executive abilities in individuals with phenylketonuria. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 109, 125-131. PMID23608077

    Araujo, G., Christ, S. E., Grange, D. K., Steiner, R. D., McKinstry, R. C., Coleman, C., Timmerman, E., & White, D. A. (2013). Executive response monitoring and inhibitory control in children with phenylketonuria: Effects of expectancy. Developmental Neuropsychology, 38, 139-152.  PMID23573793

    Christ, S. E., Moffitt, A. J., Peck, D., & White, D. A. (2013). The effects of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) treatment on brain function in individuals with phenylketonuria. Neuroimaging: Clinical, 3,539-547. PMID24371792

    White, D. A., Antenor-Dorsey, J.A., Grange, D. K., Hershey, T., Rutlin, J., Shimony, J. S., McKinstry, R. C., & Christ, S. E. (2013). White mater integrity and executive abilities following treatment with tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) in individuals with phenylketonuria.Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 110, 213-217. PMID23928118