About Margaret Pulsifer, PhD

Dr. Pulsifer received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed her postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She has been a full-time neuropsychologist in the Psychology Assessment Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital since 2003. She is Director of Pediatric Clinical Services and the Director of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellowship at the MGH Psychology Assessment Center. She is actively involved in clinical, research, and teaching responsibilities. Clinically, she conducts neuropsychological evaluations with children with medical, genetic and developmental disorders and with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is actively involved in a number of research projects, including a funded multi-site study investigating the long-term neuropsychological outcome of pediatric brain tumor survivors following proton radiation therapy, a multi-site NIH funded study examining Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in adults with Down syndrome, and a multi-site NIH funded study investigating neuropsychological and expressive language functioning in children with Down syndrome and severe obstructive sleep apnea following placement of a hypoglossal nerve stimulator. She is also involved in a funded natural history study of cognitive and behavioral functioning in individuals with Down syndrome as well as two clinical trials with children diagnosed with cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy or with Tay-Sachs disease. She has published over 65 peer reviewed journal articles and was recently a Guest Editor of a special issue in Brain Sciences entitled “Down syndrome: Neuropsychological phenotype across the lifespan”. She is currently an Associate Professor in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining Mass General, she was an Assistant Professor and the Chief of Pediatric Psychology in the Division of Child Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Pulsifer has been on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress for over 10 years.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Mass General Psychology Assessment Center
One Bowdoin Square
7th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-724-3726

Medical Education

  • Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute

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Dr. Pulsifer is actively involved in a number of funded research projects at MGH. Her research interests include: 1) examining the long-term neurocognitive and behavioral effects of proton radiation therapy with children and young adults diagnosed with brain tumors, 2) investigating biomarkers and early onset cognitive/behavioral decline in adults with Down syndrome, 3) investigating the natural history of cognitive, adaptive and behavioral functioning in individuals with Down syndrome, and 4) examining the impact of hypoglossal nerve stimulator on cognitive, language and behavioral functioning in individuals, aged 10 to 21 years, with Down syndrome and severe obstructive sleep apnea.


  • Select Publications:

    • Numis AL, Major P, Montenegro MA, Muzykewicz DA, Pulsifer MB & Thiele EA. Identification of Risk Factors for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Tuberous Sclerosis, Neurology 2011.
    • Walder D, Sherman J. & Pulsifer M.B. Neurodev Assessment in Early Childhood. In Evidence-Based Prac in Infant & Early Child. Psych. Rubinson F, Mowder B. & Yasik A. Eds. Wiley Sons 2009.
    • Kopp CM, Muzykewicz DA, Staley BA, & Thiele EA. Behavior prob in children with Tuberous Sclerosis and parental stress, Epil & Beh 2008.
    • Pulsifer MB, Butz A, Foran M & Belcher H. Prenatal Drug Expos: Effects on Cog Funct at Age 5. Clinical Peds 2008.
    • Lyczkowski DA, Pulsifer MB, Conant KD, Jarrett DY, Grant E, Kwiatkowski DJ & Thiele EA.Intrafamilial Phenotypic Variability in Tuberous Sclerosis. Jour Child Neur 2007.
    • Winterkorn EB, Pulsifer MB & Thiele EA. Cognitive Prognosis of Patients with Tuberous Sclerosis. Neurology 2007.
    • Pulsifer MB, Winterkorn EB, & Thiele EA. Psychological Profile of Adults with Tuberous Sclerosis. Epil & Beh 2007.
    • Pulsifer MB, Brandt J, Salorio C, Vining E, Carson B & Freeman J. Cog outcome of hemispherectomy in 71 children. Epilepsia 2004.
    • Pulsifer MB, Radonovich K, Belcher H & Butz A. Intelligence & school readiness in preschool children with prenatal drug expos. Child Neuropsych 2004.
    • Pulsifer MB, Salorio C & Niparko J. Devel, audio & speech percep in children after cochlear implant surgery. Arch Ped & Adol Med 2003.

    Ventura LM, Grieco JA, Evans CL, Kuhlthau KA, MacDonald SM, Tarbell NJ, Yock TI, Pulsifer MB. Executive functioning, academic skills, and quality of life in pediatric patients with brain tumors post-proton radiation therapy. J Neuro-oncology. 2018; 137:119-126. doi.org/10.1007/s11060-017-2703-6. PMID: 29214403.

    Pulsifer MB, Duncanson H, Grieco J, Evans C, Delgado Tseretopoulos I, MacDonald S, Tarbell N, Yock T. Cognitive and adaptive outcomes after proton radiation for pediatric patients with brain tumors. Int J Radiation Oncology Biology Physics 2018; 102(2):391-398. doi:1016/ijrobp.2018.05.069. PMID: 30108004.Pulsifer MB, Evans CL, Hom C, Krinsky-McHale SJ, Silverman W, Lai F, Lott I, Schupf N, Wen J, Rosas HD and the Alzheimer?s Disease in Down Syndrome (ADDS) Consortium. Language skills as a predictor of cognitive decline in adults with Down syndrome. Alzheimer?s & Dementia; 2020 Aug 12(1):1-11. doi:10. 1002/dad2. 12080; PMID 32875055.

    Pulsifer MB, Grieco JA, Burstein SM, Parsons MW, Gardner MM, Sherman JC. The development and implementation of teleneuropsychology in an academic lifespan neuropsychology center: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 2021 Aug, 13:1-12 doi: 10.1080/13803395.2021.1963683.

    Grieco JA, Hartnick CJ, Skotko BG, Yu PK, and Pulsifer MB. Preliminary neurocognitive results post hypoglossal nerve stimulation in patients with Down syndrome. Laryngoscope 2021 Dec, 131(12):2830-2833. doe: 10.1002/lary.29808.

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