Dr Shafali Spurling Jeste, MD

  • Chief, Division of Neurology
  • Co-Director, Neurological Institute
  • Las Madrinas Chair Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics (USC Keck)

Dr. Jeste is a behavioral child neurologist specializing in autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. She is Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the USC Keck School of Medicine, and the Las Madrinas Chair, Chief of Neurology and Co-Director of the Neurological Institute at CHLA. After earning a BA in philosophy from Yale University in 1997 and her MD from Harvard Medical School in 2002, Dr. Jeste completed a residency in child neurology and a fellowship in behavioral child neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She joined the faculty at UCLA in 2010, and then moved to CHLA in 2021. 

Dr. Jeste’s research is focused on developing methods to improve precision in the diagnosis and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Her lab studies neurodevelopmental disorders from early infancy through late childhood. Dr. Jeste has designed innovative studies in early predictors of autism in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) that integrate biomarkers with behavior to define atypical development prior to the onset of autism. This work in TSC has led to the first randomized controlled clinical trial of behavioral intervention for these infants and has paved the way for other early intervention trials in rare genetic syndromes. Dr. Jeste’s research is directly inspired by her clinical work. To address the many gaps in medical care for rare genetic forms of neurodevelopmental disorders, she developed the Neurogenetics and Developmental Disabilities Clinic at CHLA. Dr. Jeste’s work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Simons Foundation.

She holds several national and international leadership positions including the Board of Directors of the American Brain Foundation, Board of Directors of the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the Board of Directors of the International Society for Autism Research, and she recently served as the Chair of the International Baby Siblings Research Consortium. In 2019 she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for her innovations in research in early predictors and intervention for genetic neurodevelopmental disorders.