The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Meghan R. Swanson

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

The neurobiology of infant communication, infant-caregiver communication, infant brain and behavior development in autism spectrum disorder and fragile x syndrome

Curriculum Vitae


Email: [email protected]
Phone: 972-883-2058
Office: GR_4.802C
Campus Mail Code: GR41
Website: The Infant Neurodevelopment & Language Research Lab (The Baby Brain Lab)


Acquiring spoken language is one of the major achievements of the first two years of an infant’s life. Yet, the structural neural systems that support the acquisition of these skills in infants have been underexplored, and charting early language skills in infants at-risk for neurodevelopmental disorders is only recently coming into focus. Dr. Swanson’s research focuses on developing infant models of language neurobiology. She also uses day-long home language recordings to study how infants and their parents communicate and how this early communication shapes brain development and later language skills. Using a multi-method approach - including neuroimaging, eye-tracking, cognitive assessments, and home language recordings- her work takes an integrated approach at fully characterizing the developing child. Dr. Swanson applies these approaches to studying infants who develop typically, as well as those with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder and fragile x syndrome. These findings serve as a platform to provide key insight into communication interventions for infants at-risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Recent and Selected Representative Publications

Recent Articles in Peer-Refereed Journals

Swanson†, M.R., Wolff†, J.J., Shen, M.D., Styner, M., Estes, A., Gerig, G., McKinstry, R.C., Botteron, K., Piven∧, J., Hazlett^, H.C., for the IBIS Network (2018). Development of white matter circuitry in infants with fragile X syndrome. JAMA Psychiatry, 75(5), 1-9, doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0180. †shared first authors, ∧shared senior authors

Swanson, M.R., Shen, M.D., Wolff, J.J., Elison, J.T., Emerson, R., Styner, M., Hazlett, H.C., Truong, K., Watson, L., Paterson, S., Marrus, N., Botteron, K., Pandey, J., Schultz, R.T., Dager, S., Zwaigenbaum, L., Estes, A.M., Piven, J. for the IBIS Network (2017). Subcortical brain and behavior phenotypes differentiate infants who develop ASD versus language delay. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

Swanson, M.R., Shen, M.D., Wolff, J.J., Boyd, B., Clements, M., Rehg, M., Elison, J.T., Paterson, S., Parish-Morris, J., Chappell, J.C., Hazlett, H.C., Emerson, R.W., Botteron, K., Pandey, J., Schultz, R.T., Dager, S.R., Zwaigenbaum, L., Estes, A.M., Piven, J., for the IBIS Network. (2017). Naturalistic home language recordings reveal “hypervocal” infants at high familial risk for autism. Child Development, Early View Articles. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12777.

Swanson, M.R., & Piven, J. (2017). Neurodevelopment of autism: The first three years of life. In M. Casanov, A. El-Baz & J. S. Suri (Eds.). Autism Imaging and Devices (pp. 37-57). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group.

Hazlett, H.C., Gu, H., Munsell, B.C., Kim, S.H., Styner, M., Wolff, J.J., Elison, J.T., Swanson, M.R., Zhu, H., Botteron, K.N., Collins, L., Constantino, J.N., Dager, S.R., Estes, A.M., Evans, A.C., Fonov, V., Gerig, G., Kostopoulos, P., McKinstry, R.C., Pandey, J., Paterson, S., Pruett, J.R., Schultz, R.T., Shaw, D.W., Zwaigenbaum, L., Piven, J., for the IBIS Network. (2017). Early brain development in infants at high risk for autism spectrum disorder. Nature, 542(7641), 348-351. doi:10.1038/nature21369.