Janet Lainhart, M.D.

Professor - Tenure Track

Dr. Lainhart’s research focuses on understanding brain growth, development, and maturation in individuals with autism from childhood into mid-adulthood.

Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinics

UW Directory
Janet Lainhart
UW Health
Provider Profile
Waisman Center
Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic
Waisman Center
Faculty Profile

Dr. Lainhart is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and a Faculty member of the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She completed her undergraduate work at Michigan State University, medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and residency training in Pediatrics, General Psychiatry, and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is Board Certified in Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Pediatrics. She was on the Faculty at Johns Hopkins and the University of Utah before moving to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012.

Her academic career, including her outpatient practice, resident teaching, and research, has focused on Autism Spectrum Disorder and co-occurring neuropsychiatric conditions for over the past 20 years.

She is particularly focused on trying to understand what goes awry in brain development in autism that leads to not only difficulties and disabilities, but also unique abilities. She envisions a future when the clinical care of children, adolescents, and adults with autism will be informed by the biology of the disorder specific to each affected individual.


Dr. Lainhart’s research focuses on understanding brain growth, development, and maturation in individuals with autism from childhood into mid-adulthood. She leads a multidisciplinary research team, ISLA (Interdisciplinary Science to Learn about Autism), that uses longitudinal high-resolution brain scanning, neuropsychological and clinical assessments, and genomic information to determine changes in the brain that are related to autism and linked to clinical symptoms, course, and outcome. The goal of this research is to identify biomarkers of autism that can be used in determining the causes of autism and the brain mechanisms involved, and aid in early diagnosis, preventive interventions, and treatment.


Specialties: 

  • Psychiatry
  • Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • The Psychiatry of Autism: ASD diagnosis and co-occurring conditions

Publications: