Denise Wilfley

Denise Wilfley

Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences​
Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry (School of Medicine)
Scott Rudolph University Professor
PhD, University of Missouri
Postdoctoral Training, Stanford University
MA, University of Missouri
BS, University of Central Missouri
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    • Washington University School of Medicine
    • Department of Psychiatry, CB 8134
    • 660 South Euclid Avenue
    • St. Louis, MO 63110
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    Dr. Wilfley's program of research centers on the causes, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders and obesity among children, adolescents, and adults.

    Current programs of research include: (1) the classification, characterization, assessment, and risk factors of eating and weight-related disorders; (2) the development of effective treatments for individuals suffering from eating disorders and obesity; and (3) the development of innovative and cost-effective methods for early intervention and prevention of eating disorders and obesity.  Dr. Wilfley’s pioneering work at the intersection of eating disorders and obesity has been integral to the formal recognition of binge eating disorder and to establishing the efficacy of interventions for recurrent binge eating syndromes. She also has developed evidence-based treatments for children and families that reduce obesity, improve nutrition and physical activity, and enhance psychosocial outcomes. She collaborates with multi-sector stakeholders to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based treatments into community settings, and she is a leader in the use of technology for addressing gaps in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders. Finally, Dr. Wilfley has an extensive track record in not only directing clinical research programs but also in training the future generation of clinical researchers.

    Selected Publications

    • Jones M, Luce KH, Osborne MI, Taylor K, Cunning D, Celio Doyle A, Wilfley DE, Taylor CB: Randomized, controlled trial of an internet-facilitated intervention for reducing binge eating and overweight in adolescents. Pediatrics. 2008; 121(3): 453-462.
    • Wilson GT, Wilfley DE, Agras WS, Bryson SW: Psychological treatments of binge eating disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010; 67(1): 94-101.
    • Wilfley DE, Vannucci A, White EK: Early intervention of eating- and weight-related problems. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. 2010; 17(4): 285.
    • Rieger E, Van Buren DJ, Bishop M, Tanofsky-Kraff M, Welch R, Wilfley DE: An eating disorder-specific model of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-ED): Causal pathways and treatment implications. Clin Psychol Rev. 2010; 30(4): 400-10.
    • Lock J, Brandt H, Woodside B, Agras S, Halmi K, Johnson C, Kaye W, Wilfley DE: Challenges in conducting a multi-site randomized clinical trial comparing treatments for adolescent anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders (in press).
    • Wilfley DE, Kolko RP, Kass AE: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Weight Management and Eating Disorders: Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America (in press).


    • Visiting Professorship Recipient, National Cheng Kung University Taiwan, R.O.C. (1994)
    • Visiting Professorship Recipient, University of Newcastle, Australia (1995)
    • Visiting Professor, University of Oslo, Norway (1998)
    • FIRST Independent Research Award, NIH
    • Fellow, Academy for Eating Disorders
    • Fellow, The Obesity Society
    • K24 Midcareer NIH Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (2004-present)
    • Scholar, Institute for Public Health, Washington University School of Medicine
    • Pfizer Visiting Professorship Recipient, Baylor University, Houston, Texas (2010)
    • Aubuchon Obesity and Behavioral Health Fund Recipient (2009)
    • Secretary/Treasurer, The Obesity Society - Pediatric Obesity Section (2010-present)