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Current Studies

Williams syndrome is gaining wider popularity in the research field due to its unique characteristics and to the wealth of information it is providing to the Human Genome project.

It is impossible to provide a comprehensive list of active research projects.  However, a list of many studies is available through the WS Registry.  There are also several research centers around the United States specializing in characteristics of Williams syndrome.

For more information, contact any of the researchers below, or contact the WS Registry with inquiiries on specific research topics that may not be listed here.


The WSA is happy to review applications for research into all aspects of Williams syndrome.  Prior to submitting applications please review the WSA Research Guidelines.  All applications should be submitted to the WSA Research Advisory Committee


Universty of Nevada School of Medicine 

  • Dr. Colleen Morris 
    conducts studies relating to the "genetics" of WS. Dr. Morris and her team are responsible for the initial discovery of the elastin deletion in WS and continue to work to define the possible other causes of WS (gene inversions) as well as determining the roles of the approximately 20 additional genes in the WS critical area on chromosome #7.

University of Louisville 

  • Dr. Carolyn Mervis 
    conducts clinical research studies primarily devoted to the cognitive processes in WS. Her team is conducting longitudinal studies of Language and Cognition in WS, as well as studies of language in very young children and the relationships between language, cognition and adaptive behavior in Williams syndrome.

The University of Utah 

  • Dr. Julie R. Korenberg
    conducts research into understanding the genetic underpinnings of Williams syndrome, and advancing development of better treatments.

Yale School of Medicine 

  • Dr. Robert Schultz 
    conducts clinical research into the facial recognition skills of children and adults with WS.

Johns Hopkins University 

  • Dr. Barbara Landau 
    conducts studies into the cognitive processes of adults with WS. Present studies focus on spatial language, and object/motion perception.

Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Salk Institute 

  • Dr. Ursula Bellugi 
    conducts research with children and adults with WS. Primary focus area is communication. The Salk team studies facial perception in very young children, differences between language and spatial skills in children of ages 7-12, behavior, and visuospatial and social ability in teens and adults. They also study the musicality of individuals with WS in collaboration with Dr. Dan Levitin at McGill University, and a comprehensive study of WS across all disciplines in collaborations with geneticists and Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and neurologists at Harvard University.

Vanderbilt University 

  • Dr. Elisabeth Dykens 
    has conducted extensive studies into anxiety in teens and adults with Williams syndrome and is currently looking at Behavioral concerns and the use of music to see how they might interfact.

The Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario, Canada 

  • The Chromosome 7 Project 
    is part of the Human Genome project and is currently underway at The Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. More information can be found at the Chromosome 7 Project 

Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Dr. Barbara Pober 
    is conducting studies which will help describe the characteristics (medical and cognitive) of WS in adults.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

  • Bonnie Klein-Tasman, PhD
    conducts research about the development of approaches to reduce anxiety and fear in children with Williams syndrome.

Michigan State University

  • Marisa H. Fisher, PhD, BCBA-D
    Assistant Professor, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Psychology, & Special Education

    Conducts studies on characteristics of internet use of individuals with Williams syndrome.