GCB Masthead
GCB Center PersonnelGCB Faculty l Affiliate Faculty Walter E. Kaufmann, M.D.
Director, Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Director, Fragile X Research Program, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Professor, Departments of Pathology, Neurology, Pediatrics,
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and Radiology & Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Dr. Kaufmann received his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Chile’s combined College/Medical School Program, where he also completed the greater part of a PhD program in Neurobiology and Behavioral Sciences. After an internship and residency at hospitals in Santiago, he came to Boston for a Research Fellowship at Beth Israel’s Dyslexia Neuroanatomical Laboratory. At Children’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Kaufmann served a residency in Anatomic Pathology and also worked as an Assistant in the Developmental Disabilities Clinic. Following this, Dr. Kaufmann came to Baltimore to hold a residency and fellowship in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After completing his training in Pathology, Dr. Kaufmann joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology, spending four years working with Dr. Paul Worley and others in the Department of Neuroscience on genes involved in cortical and hippocampal developmental plasticity using molecular and neuroanatomical techniques. In the following years, in connection with his affiliation with Kennedy Krieger Institute, his research has evolved into integrating molecular, neurobiological, neuroimaging, and clinical aspects of the most common genetic disorders associated with intellectual disability. Dr. Kaufmann directs the Fragile X Syndrome Research Program and Clinic, as well as the Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, which encompasses research activities on Down syndrome, Rett syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and disorders of cholesterol metabolism linked to autism. Dr. Kaufmann is currently a member of the Psychiatric/General Medical Interface Study Group as part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-V). He also serves as a member of the Scientific Review Board and the Medical Advisory Board for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF), and as the Coordinator of RettSearch, the international consortium of Rett syndrome clinical researchers. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Steering Committee and the Chair of the Membership and Infrastructure Committee of the Fragile X Clinic and Research Consortium of North America (FXCRC) and has been newly appointed as a member of the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Committee of the National Fragile X Foundation (NFXF).

Elaine Tierney, M.D.
Co-Director, Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Director of Psychiatry, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Director of the Autism Metabolic Research Program, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Dr. Tierney received her B.A. from the University of Florida and her MD at the University of South Florida in 1989. After completing a Transitional Residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and a General Psychiatry Residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, she accepted a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is a pediatric and adult psychiatrist with a special interest in autism, genetic, metabolic, and neurological disorders that cause behavioral disturbances. Dr. Tierney is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, the Maryland Psychiatric Society, and the Maryland Regional Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She has served as the Medical Director of both KKI's Neurobehavioral Unit and its Center for Autism and Related Disorders, and currently serves as the Director of Psychiatry at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Dejan B. Budimirovic, M.D.
Pediatric Psychiatrist, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Dr. Budimirovic received his medical training at the Belgrade University School of Medicine. After completing residencies in adult and child psychiatry at Harvard and New York University, Dr. Budimirovic was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. While at Yale, he cultivated a research interest in psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents. Dr. Budimirovic joined the medical staff of Kennedy Krieger in November of 2004. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the subspecialty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Budimirovic is an active member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association.

Irena Bukelis, M.D.
Research Coordinator

Irena Bukelis performed her undergraduate and graduate training at Kaunas Medical University in Lithuania, receiving a medical doctorate. She serves as both a research coordinator and research associate for the studies on Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome and abnormalities of cholesterol metabolism in autism spectrum disorders. Her interests are behavioral phenotypes, autism spectrum disorders, and metabolic disorders. She is also a graduate student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she is majoring in health science. She currently manages the Cholesterol in ASD: Characterization and Treatment clinical trial.

Heather Schneider
Psychology Associate, Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, Kennedy Krieger Institute

Heather Schneider received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Loyola College in Maryland after graduating with highest honors from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a degree in Psychology and Sociology. She then came to Kennedy Krieger as a Clinical Assistant in the Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU). In her five years at KKI, Heather has served as a Behavioral Data Specialist and Clinical Specialist in the NBU, and most recently as a Psychology Associate in the Department of Neuropsychology, where she is also a Research Assistant. Heather’s research activities focus on the classification of conduct disorder, ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder.

Leann Rosenberg
Fragile X Clinic Coordinator, Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, Kennedy Krieger Institute

Leann received her B.S. in Psychology and Mathematical Sciences from Loyola University Maryland in May of 2010. She began working in the department of Developmental Cognitive Neurology as a Research Assistant in June of 2010. In April 2011, she started working as the Fragile X Clinic Coordinator at the Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior. She is currently involved with scheduling patient appointments and managing clinic matters.

Marie Andachter
Research Assistant and Study Coordinator, Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, Kennedy Krieger Institute

Marie received her B.A. in Psychology from Salisbury University in May of 2004. She began working in the Neurobehavioral Inpatient Unit at Kennedy Krieger Institute in June 2004. In August 2009, she started working as a Research Assistant at the Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior. She is currently the study coordinator for a study involving Autism Spectrum Disorder in Down Syndrome, the Gene Expression study, the Clinical Trials in Down syndrome study, and a study on Epigenetic Influences in Idiopathic Autism.

Mohsin Javid
Research Assistant and Study Coordinator, Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, Kennedy Krieger Institute

Mohsin received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in May of 2010. In October 2010, he started working as research assistant at the Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior. His current research activities focus on testing animal behavior paradigms that target the amygdala in fragile X syndrome. He is also the study coordinator for the multi-site "Creating a Pediatric Imaging-Genomics Data Resource" study.

Victor Talisa
Research Aide, Center for Genetic Disorders of Cognition & Behavior, Kennedy Krieger Institute

Victor received his B.A. in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in May of 2009. In November 2009, he started as a full-time research volunteer specializing in data management and database development. He is currently involved in implementing updates and improvements to the primary website of RettSearch, the international consortium of Rett syndrome clinical researchers.