Dr. Hagerman is a molecular geneticist with a principal interest in understanding the basis for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.
In particular, the Hagerman lab has made a number of important observations related to the mechanism of gene expression of the fragile X (FMR1) gene, mutations of which are responsible for Fragile X Syndrome,
the leading heritable form of mental impairment and leading known cause of autism.
In 2001, Dr. Hagerman and his wife, Dr. Randi Hagerman (Medical Director of the MIND Institute and clinical director of the CENE California node), reported their discovery of a neurological disorder involving tremor and gait ataxia,
which they later named fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS).