dawsonGeraldine Dawson became Autism Speaks first Chief Science Officer in January of 2008. She serves as the scientific leader of Autism Speaks, working with the scientific community; stakeholders, and science staff, to shape, expand, and communicate the foundation's scientific vision and strategy. From 2000-07, Geraldine founded and directed University of Washington Autism Center's multi-disciplinary clinical services program, which is the largest of its kind in the northwestern United States.

A strong advocate for families, Geraldine has testified before the U.S. Senate on behalf of individuals with autism and played a key role on the Washington State Autism Task Force.
Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Geraldine Dawson was Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Washington and Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center, which has been designated an NIH Center of Excellence since 1996.

While at the University, she led a multi-disciplinary autism research program focusing on genetics, neuroimaging, diagnosis, and treatment. Her own research has been in the areas of early detection and treatment of autism, early patterns of brain dysfunction (electrophysiology), and more recently, development of endophenotypes for autism genetic studies. Geraldine has co-edited or authored a number of books about autism spectrum disorder and brain development and has been widely published in academic journals.