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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology


Christy Rossi

Dr. Rossi is not interested in taking a new graduate student for Fall 2021.

Areas of expertise/research interests

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Development of the embryonic nervous system

Current Research and Projects

I've been teaching in the psychology department at DU since 2012. I incorporate my degrees in neuroscience (Ph.D.) and psychology (B.A.), along with my research background in developmental neuroscience and autism spectrum disorders, into the courses I teach. My focus is on developing analytic and communication skills alongside discussions of course content, and I enjoy providing opportunities for active learning in my classes. Prior to coming to DU, I taught courses at the Metropolitan State University of Denver and the University of California, Davis.

Professional Biography

My postdoctoral research at the University of California, Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute in the laboratory of Dr. David Amaral focused on autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, my work helped characterize children with and without autism using neuroimmunological and neuroanatomical approaches. Recognizing the heterogeneity that exists among individual with autism, this work aimed to identify subtypes of autism spectrum disorder as part of the Autism Phenome Project.

My doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Kristin Artinger focused on the embryonic development of the nervous system. Using transplantation and explantation analysis, I identified tissue interactions and molecular environments important for the development of Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory neurons. Through lineage tracing experiments I studied the early origins of these neurons and how they relate to another population of embryonic cells, neural crest cells, which give rise to much of the peripheral nervous system.

Prior to my graduate work, I taught young children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders using applied behavior analysis in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.


PhD, Neuroscience, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 2008
BA, Psychology, University of Texas, 2000


  • Rossi, C.C., Van de Water, J., Fuentes, J., Amaral, D.G. (In press, 2013). "Brief Report: Antibodies Reacting to Brain Tissue in Basque Spanish Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder And Their Mothers." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
  • Rossi, C.C., Van de Water, J., Rogers, S.J. and Amaral, D.G. (2011). "Detection of plasma autoantibodies that react to brain tissue in young children with and without autism spectrum disorders." Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 25, 1123-1135.
  • Rossi, C.C., Kaji, T., and Artinger, K.A. (2009). "Transcriptional control of Rohon-Beard sensory neuron development at the neural plate border." Developmental Dynamics, 238(4), 931-943.
  • Rossi, C.C., Hernandez-Lagunas, L., Zhang, C., Choi, I.F., Kwok, L., Klymkowsky, M., Artinger, K.B. (2008). "Rohon-Beard sensory neurons are induced by BMP4 expressing non-neural ectoderm in Xenopus laevis." Developmental Biology, 314, 351-361.