Robert Hendren, DO

Professor of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Robert Hendren is a psychiatrist who focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and pharmacological and biomedical treatments.

His research has spanned a variety of illnesses, from autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to eating and impulse control disorders. In 2001 he became director of the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, where he developed a strong clinical trials program that has tested many new treatments for autism.

Since coming to UCSF in 2009 as director of child and adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Hendren has conducted many clinical studies, including an innovative trial to determine if there is a genomic profile that can predict the response of autistic children to the drug risperdone. He is also gauging the biological effects of alternative treatments such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, Omega-3s and hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) on individuals with autism.

Despite research and administrative pressures, Dr. Hendren continues to practice as a clinician, seeing patients with serious emotional disorders on a weekly basis. “New technology means we can understand the neurodevelopmental processes that lead to disorders like autism,” he says. “We can identify autism earlier, make targeted interventions earlier, alter the course of the disorder—and maybe even lead to a future where kids no longer have that diagnosis.”