James F. Leckman

James F. Leckman

Executive Cmte Member
Neison Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Pediatrics

James F. Leckman, M.D., Ph.D., is the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology at Yale. For more than 20 years he served as the Director of Research for the Yale Child Study Center. His peers have regularly selected him as one of the Best Doctors in America. Dr. Leckman is the author or co-author of over 450 original scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Leckman has a longstanding interest in Tourette syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His research on these disorders is multifaceted from phenomenology and natural history, to neurobiology to genetics, to risk factor research and treatment studies. Based on his work on OCD, Dr. Leckman has also been drawn to study normal patterns of evolutionarily conserved obsessive-compulsive behavior. A major focus has been on parenting and the role of the bio-behavioral systems that closely interconnect our affiliative and stress response bio-behavioral systems.

In October 2013, he chaired with Rima Salah and Catherine Panter-Brick the 15th Ernst Strüngmann Forum in Frankfurt, Germany. More than 40 international scholars across diverse fields—from child development to neuroscience and cultural anthropology explored the relevance of early child development to the pursuit of peace. Their deliberations highlighting directions for future research, and proposing novel approaches to translate knowledge into concrete action are summarized in volume entitled, Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press in 2014. He currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC). The mission of the ECPC is to create a legacy of sustained peace by drawing on the transformative power of early childhood development by building a global movement that values the role of young children and families as agents of change in peace building.

Books and Chapters:

  1. Leckman JF, Panter-Brick C, Salah R (eds). Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, 15, Julia Lupp, series editor. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014. 
  2. Peace Is a Lifelong Process: The Importance of Partnerships. Leckman JF, Panter-Brick C, Salah R. In: Leckman JF, Panter-Brick C, Salah R (eds): Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, Boston: MIT Press, pp. 3-17, 2014. 
  3. Ecology of Peace. Britto PR, Gordon I, Hodges W, Sunar D, Kagitcibbasi C, Leckman JF. In: Leckman JF, Panter-Brick C, Salah R (eds): Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, Boston: MIT Press, pp. 27-39, 2014. 
  4. Human biological development and peace: Genes, brains, safety and justice. Morgan B, Sunar D, Carter CS, Leckman JF, Fry DP, Keverne EB, Kolassa I-T, Kumsta R, Olds D. In: Leckman JF, Panter-Brick C, Salah R (eds): Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, Boston: MIT Press, pp. 95-127, 2014. 
  5. Mental health and early child development. Leckman JF, do Rosario MC, Ponguta LA.  In: Haddad AE (ed.) São Paulo Carinhosa, O que Grandes Cidadese Politicas Intersetoriais Podem Fazer pela Primeira Infância. Sao Paulo, SP, Secretaria Municipal de Cultura, pp. 26-41, 2016.

Special Issues and Editorials for Scientific Journals:

  1. Special issue: Towards a More Peaceful World: The Promise of Early Child Development Programs. Leckman JF, Britto PR (eds). New Directions Child Adolesc Development, 2018. 
  2. What are the Transgenerational Consequences of Maternal Childhood Adversity and Maternal Stress during Pregnancy? Leckman JFJ Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017 Nov;56(11):914-915
  3. Violence, health, and South-North collaboration: Interdisciplinary research in light of the 2030 Agenda. Lee BX, Leckman JF, Khoshnood K. Soc Sci Med. 2015 Dec;146:236-42.
  4. Editorial Commentary: Resilience in child development–interconnected pathways to wellbeing. Panter-Brick C, Leckman JFJ Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2013 Apr;54(4):333-6.
  5. Special issue: Violence and health: Current perspectives from the WHO Violence Prevention Alliance. Lee BX, Leckman JF, Mbwambo JKK (eds). Aggress Violent Behav, 2014; 19:609–615. 
  6. Variations in maternal behavior–oxytocin and reward pathways–peripheral measures matter?! Leckman JFNeuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Dec;36(13):2587-8
  7. Nurturing resilient children. Leckman JFMayes LC. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2007 Mar-Apr;48(3-4):221-3.

Articles on Parenting and/or Early Child Development:

  1. Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development. Britto PR, Lye SJ, Proulx K, Yousafzai AK, Matthews SG, Vaivada T, Perez-Escamilla R, Rao N, Ip P, Fernald LCH, MacMillan H, Hanson M, Wachs TD, Yao H, Yoshikawa H, Cerezo A, Leckman JF, Bhutta ZA; Early Childhood Development Interventions Review Group, for the Lancet Early Childhood Development Series Steering Committee. Lancet. 2017 Jan 7;389(10064):91-102
  2. A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Perceived Infant Outcomes at 18-24 Months: Neural and Psychological Correlates of Parental Thoughts and Actions Assessed during the First Month Postpartum. Kim P, Rigo P, Leckman JFMayes LC, Cole PM, Feldman R, Swain JE. Front Psychol. 2015 Nov 20;6:1772.
  3. Practitioner review: Engaging fathers–recommendations for a game change in parenting interventions based on a systematic review of the global evidence. Panter-Brick C, Burgess A, Eggerman M, McAllister F, Pruett K, Leckman JFJ Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2014 Nov;55(11):1187-212.
  4. Neural plasticity in fathers of human infants. Kim P, Rigo P, Mayes LC, Feldman R, Leckman JF, Swain JE. Soc Neurosci. 2014;9(5):522-35.
  5. Oxytocin and social motivation. Gordon I, Martin C, Feldman R, Leckman JFDev Cogn Neurosci. 2011 Oct;1(4):471-93.
  6. Breastfeeding, brain activation to own infant cry, and maternal sensitivity. Kim P, Feldman R, Mayes LC, Eicher V, Thompson N, Leckman JF, Swain JE. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2011 Aug;52(8):907-15.
  7. The plasticity of human maternal brain: longitudinal changes in brain anatomy during the early postpartum period. Kim P, Leckman JFMayes LC, Feldman R, Wang X, Swain JE. Behav Neurosci. 2010 Oct;124(5):695-700
  8. Prolactin, Oxytocin, and the development of paternal behavior across the first six months of fatherhood. Gordon I, Zagoory-Sharon O, Leckman JF, Feldman R. Horm Behav. 2010 Aug;58(3):513-8.
  9. Oxytocin and the development of parenting in humans. Gordon I, Zagoory-Sharon O, Leckman JF, Feldman R. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Aug 15;68(4):377-82.
  10. Maternal brain response to own baby-cry is affected by cesarean section delivery. Swain JE, Tasgin E, Mayes LC, Feldman R, Constable RT, Leckman JFJ Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2008 Oct;49(10):1042-52.
  11. Perceived quality of maternal care in childhood and structure and function of mothers’ brain. Kim P, Leckman JFMayes LC, Newman MA, Feldman R, Swain JE. Dev Sci. 2010 Jul;13(4):662-73.
  12. Swain JE, Mayes LC, Leckman JF: Parent-Infant Attachment Systems Neural Circuits, Genes, and Early-Life Programming. In: Reflecting on the Future of Psychoanalysis: Mentalization, Internalization and Representation Eds. Jurist EJ, Slade A and Bergner S. Karnac Press New York, 2009.
  13. Parental representations and subclinical changes in postpartum mood. Mayes LC, Leckman JFInfant Ment Health J. 2007 May;28(3):281-295.
  14. Primary parental preoccupation: circuits, genes, and the crucial role of the environment. Leckman JF, Feldman R, Swain JE, Eicher V, Thompson N, Mayes LC. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2004 Jul;111(7):753-71. Epub 2004 Feb 4. Review.
  15. Early parental preoccupations and behaviors and their possible relationship to the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Leckman JFMayes LC, Feldman R, Evans DW, King RA, Cohen DJ. Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 1999;396:1-26.
  16. Preoccupations and behaviors associated with romantic and parental love. Perspectives on the origin of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Leckman JFMayes LC. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 1999 Jul;8(3):635-65. Review.

Relevant Awards and Presentations:

  1. Raune Prize, for an outstanding scientist carrying out research on the causes, pathophysiology, treatment, or prevention of severe child psychiatric illness. National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD), 2007
  2. John F. Kenward Memorial Lecturer, University of Chicago, November 2010
  3. Visiting Professor, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 2011-
  4. Lionel Hersov Visiting Lecturer in Glasgow, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland, Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, UK, 2012
  5. Visiting Professor, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, 2012-2016
  6. State-of-the-Art Lecturer, International Congress, International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, Paris, July 2012
  7. Visiting Professor, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany, 2012
  8. Plenary Speaker, 17th meeting of the Israel Society for Biological Psychiatry, Kibbutz HaGoshrim, March 2013
  9. Plenary Speaker, 24th meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, Boston, MA, April 2013
  10. Plenary Speaker, 10th Annual Research Training Seminar – Fondazione Child, Bocca di Magra, Italy, June 2013
  11. Plenary Speaker, Launch of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium, United Nations, New York, NY September 2013
  12. Co-chair of the 15th Ernst Strüngmann Forum, “Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families,” Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, Frankfurt, Germany, October 2013
  13. Keynote address, M8 Alliance World Health Summit Regional Meeting – Latin America, São Paulo, Brazil. Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, April 2014
  14. Organizer and speaker at the week-long Yale Global Health Leadership Institute, Forums for Change 2014, Brazil: Investing early in healthy children, New Haven, August 2014.
  15. Featured speaker at Luncheon UN High-level Forum on The Culture of Peace, organized by Yale University, the Early Childhood Peace Consortium, and UNICEF, New York, NY, September, 2014
  16. Keynote address, Simpósio International de Desenvolvimento da Primeira Infancia, São Paulo, Brazil, November 2014
  17. Plenary Speaker, Founding Forum of the Arab Network for Early Childhood, Amman, Jordan, December 2014
  18. Speaker at the UN Committee on the Family, New York, NY, March 2015
  19. Agnes Purcell McGavin Award for a Distinguished Career Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, Toronto, Canada, May 2015
  20. Plenary Speaker, Global symposium – Growing up in Conflict: the impact of children’s mental health and psychosocial well –being, organized by UNICEF and the government of the Netherlands, The Hague, Netherlands, May 2015
  21. Keynote address, Early Childhood Peace Consortium, organized by Mother and Child Education Foundation (AÇEV), Yale University and UNICEF Istanbul, Turkey, June 2015
  22. Paulina F. Kernberg Memorial Lecture, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, November 2015
  23. Invited Speaker by Executive Director of UNICEF to address the Country Representatives of Group of Friends at UNICEF Headquarters, New York, NY, April 2016
  24. Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Meet the Scientist Webinar Series, Primary Prevention in Child Psychiatry: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, May 2016 https://bbrfoundation.org/meet-the-scientist-may-2016
  25. Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association, Atlanta, Georgia, May 2016
  26. Invited Panelist, High–Level Meeting Hosted by the Swedish and Italian Missions to the UN and The World Childhood Foundation USA on Solutions to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for Children, New York, NY, September 2016
  27. Keynote address, Associação Brasileira de Psiquiatria (Brazilian Association of Psychiatry) annual meeting, São Paulo, Brazil, November 2016
  28. Speaker at the International Peace Research Association. Freetown, Sierra Leone, December, 2016.
  29. Grand rounds presentation on Primary Prevention in Child Psychiatry: The Transformative Power of Children and Families at Stanford University, March 2017.
  30. Plenary speaker at the Global Reporting Institute on Early Childhood Experience and the Developing Brain, Columbia University School of Journalism, New York, NY, March 2016.
  31. Host and speaker at the Yale UNICEF Conference on Refugee Children– organized by the Yale undergraduates who are members of the Yale UNICEF Club, New Haven, CT, April, 2017.
  32. Plenary speaker at a symposium on Early Childhood Development Programmes for Peace Building in Conflict-Affected Countries and Region, Belfast Northern Ireland, UK, May 2016.
  33. The Women’s Board Lecture in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Pathways to Peace and Violence Prevention: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, Rush University, Chicago, November, 2017 
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