Paul Ashwood, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817
Dr. Ashwood’s research program is directed at characterizing the role the immune system may play in some subjects with autism. There is a highly complex and interconnected interface between the immune and central nervous systems. The nervous and immune systems share some similarities. They are both highly networked systems that communicate by the release of chemical mediators with many of these mediators exerting effects on both systems. Products of the immune system can have actions that affect mood, sleep, behavior and neurodevelopment. Furthermore, cells of the immune system express receptors that can respond to neuropeptides and products released from the nervous system. In addition, recent studies of genetic linkages in autism have demonstrated that many possible gene abnormalities observed in autism could have important implications for the immune response. Dr. Ashwood is interested in exploring whether the health of one system is integral to the healthy development of the other. His efforts will be to fully characterize the immune response in children with autism, in particular the cellular immune response. Dr. Ashwood’s original research in his native England was the first to characterize gastrointestinal pathology observed in some cases of children with autism.
B.Sc., Pharmacology, University College London, 1992
M.Sc., Toxicology and Pathology, Imperial College London, 1994
Ph.D., Immunology, Kings College London, 2001