Kimberley McAllister, Ph.D. - IDDRC Investigator

A. Kimberley McAllister, Ph.D.

Professor & Associate Director, UC Davis Center for Neuroscience
Center for Neuroscience
1544 Newton Court
Davis, CA 95618 

Phone: 530-752-8114 / Fax: 530-757-8827

Areas of Interest

Developmental Neurobiology, Autism, Schizophrenia, Neuroimmunology, Synapse Formation, Synaptic Plasticity


Dr. McAllister’s research is focused on studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of synaptic connections in the cerebral cortex during development and in neurodevelopmental disorders. Many of the genes that have been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, encode synaptic proteins that are studied n the McAllister Lab. In addition, Dr. McAllister is also interested in understanding the role for immune molecules on neurons in regulating brain development and how they mediate the effects of environmental risk factors in neurodevelopmental disorders. Current projects are focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying the roles for neuroligin and Shank proteins in synapse dynamics during early cortical development, the role for cytokines and major histocompatibility complex I molecules in limiting synapse formation and in mediating the effects of maternal immune activation on brain development, and in targeting recently identified cytokine receptors in the brain for development of new diagnostic tools and therapies for neuro-immune-based psychiatric disorders.

Current IDDRC Projects

  • PENDING: Immune signaling in the developing brain in mouse models of ASD, Simons Foundation Innate Immune System Impact Award

Recent Representative Publications

McAllister AK (2014) Major histocompatibility complex I in brain development and schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry. 75(4):262-8.

Elmer, BM, Estes ML, Barrow SL, and McAllister AK (2013) MHCI requires MEF2 transcription factors to negatively regulate synapse density during development and in disease. J Neurosci. 33:13791-804.

Garay PA, Hsiao EY, Patterson PH, and McAllister AK (2012) Maternal immune activation causes age- and region-specific changes in brain cytokines in offspring throughout development. Brain Behav Immun. 31:54-68.

Glynn MS, Elmer BM, Garay PA, Liu X-B, El-Sabeawy FE, Needleman LN, and McAllister AK. (2011) Class I MHCI molecules negatively regulate the initial establishment of cortical connectivity. Nature Neuroscience 14:442-451.

Needleman LN, Liu XB, Jones EG and McAllister AK (2010) MHC class I molecules are present both pre- and postsynaptically in the visual cortex during postnatal development and in adulthood., PNAS USA 107:16999-7004.