David Amaral at the Open House

Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D.

Director, UC Davis MIND Institute and Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817


Phone:  916-703-0234
E-mail:  ljabbeduto@ucdavis.edu  

Dr. Abbeduto’s research at the UC Davis MIND Institute focuses on the development of language across the lifespan in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. His current projects focus on the factors accounting for variation in the course of language in children, adolescents, and young adults with fragile X syndrome, autism, or Down syndrome. These projects seek to identify the behavioral, biological, and environmental influences that shape language in these conditions.

Other projects focus on the development of methods to optimize language development through parent-mediated interventions and the role of telehealth technology in the delivery of these interventions.  Dr. Abbeduto’s research has been funded virtually continuously by the National Institutes of Health since 1984.  He is the editor of the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which is the flagship journal of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  Dr. Abbeduto is also Director of the NIH-funded Interdisciplinary Training Conference on Developmental Disabilities, which is designed to foster an interdisciplinary approach to research on neurodevelopmental disorders in the next generation of scientists.

Education

B.A., Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1975
M.A., Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1979
Ph.D., Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1982

Dr. Abbeduto's publications and academic activities »

David Amaral, Ph.D.Beneto Foundation Chair and Director of Research, MIND Institute; University of California Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Center for Neuroscience, School of Medicine; Core Investigator, California National Primate Research Center
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

Phone:  916-703-0225
E-mail:  dgamaral@ucdavis.edu

David G. Amaral, Ph.D. received his undergraduate education at Northwestern University and graduated with a degree in Psychology. He then moved to the University of Rochester where he received a joint Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Psychology. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Washington University. He then moved to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where he remained for 13 years. During this period he was also an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego.

Dr. Amaral joined the University of California, Davis in 1995 as a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Center for Neuroscience. He is also a staff scientist at the California National Primate Research Center. Dr. Amaral was named the Beneto Foundation Chair and Research Director of the MIND (Medical Investigations of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute in 1998. The MIND Institute is dedicated to understanding the biological bases of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders with the goal of developing preventative measures and innovative treatments.

Dr. Amaral’s laboratory pursues research programs dealing with the neurobiology of primate social behavior and with the development and neuroanatomical organization of the primate and human amygdala and hippocampal formation. He has also carried out a longstanding program designed to understand the organization of brain regions involved in memory. His research now also includes postmortem studies of the autistic brain and magnetic resonance imaging studies of children with autism spectrum disorders. As Research Director of the MIND Institute, he is currently coordinating a comprehensive and multidisciplinary analysis of children with autism called the Autism Phenome Project to define biomedical characteristics of different types of autism. This project will lead to more effective, hypothesis driven research on the causes of each type of autism and ultimately to more effective treatments. Dr. Amaral has also spearheaded efforts to establish animal models of autism and has been evaluating the potential immune basis of certain forms of autism.

Dr. Amaral has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 25 years and has received two prestigious MERIT awards from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Amaral has received research awards from the McKnight Foundation, the Sloan Foundation and more recently from the Macarthur and McDonnell Foundations. He has successfully launched a peer-reviewed journal, Hippocampus and has been Editor-in-Chief of the International Brain Research Organization’s journal, Neuroscience. He has co-edited an authoritative book on the hippocampal formation aptly called, The Hippocampus book.  He has recently been named a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator.

Beginning in 2009, Dr. Amaral was appointed to the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institute of Mental Health. In May of 2009, he was elected President of the International Society of Autism Research that holds the annual International Meeting for Autism Research and publishes the journal Autism Research. In July 2009, he was awarded the title of University of California Distinguished Professor as acknowledgment of a meritorious academic and research career. In the fall of 2009, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He recently co-edited the book Autism Spectrum Disorders with Geri Dawson and Daniel Geschwind published by Oxford University Press that was published in May of 2011.

Education

B.A., Psychology, Northwestern University, 1972
Ph.D., Neurobiology and Psychology, University of Rochester, 1977

Dr. Amaral's publications and academic activities »

Kathleen Angkustsiri, M.D.Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Section of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0278
E-mail:  kangkustsiri@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Kathleen Angkustsiri is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician with interests in neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorders, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS), and fragile X syndrome.  She completed her B.A. in Psychology and Human Biology at Stanford University and received her M.D. from New York University School of Medicine.  Dr. Angkustsiri trained in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, and she completed her fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of California, Davis in 2009.  She is involved in research on dysmorphology in children with autism spectrum disorders, behavioral characteristics of children with 22q11.2DS, and clinical trials.

Education

B.A., Psychology, Stanford University, 1998
M.D., Medicine, New York University, 2003
Residency, Children’s Hospital and Research Center at Oakland, 2006
Fellowship, University of California Davis Medical Center, 2009

Dr. Angkustsiri's publications and academic activities »

Paul Ashwood, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

 

Phone:  916-703-0405
E-mail:  pashwood@ucdavis.edu

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.

Education

B.Sc., Pharmacology, University College London, 1992
M.Sc., Toxicology and Pathology, Imperial College London, 1994
Ph.D., Immunology, Kings College London, 2001

Dr. Ashwood's publications and academic activities »

Melissa Bauman, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine 
UC  Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0377
E-mail:  mdbauman@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Bauman completed her undergraduate education at Colorado College where she received a B.A. in Psychology.  She graduated from the UC Davis Neuroscience doctoral program in 2003 and completed her postdoctoral training through the MIND Institute’s Interdisciplinary Autism Research Training Program.  Dr. Bauman joined the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences’ faculty in January of 2008.  She is interested in utilizing her background in neuroscience and her training in autism research to develop animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders.  Her current research focuses on understanding how changes in the prenatal environment, in particular the mother’s immune system, may alter the brain/behavior development of offspring.

Education

B.A., Psychology, Colorado College, 1998
Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, 2003

Dr. Bauman's publications and academic activities »

Robert F. Berman, Ph.D.Professor, Vice Chair and Director of Research, Department of Neurological Surgery, School of Medicine 
University of California Davis
1515 Newton Court
Davis, CA 95618

 

Phone:  530-754-5102
E-mail:  rfberman@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Berman, a neuroscientist whose research focuses on cellular mechanisms of brain injury, is currently examining the effects of neonatal toxin exposure on brain development and behavior.  This research is carried out in collaboration with the Center for Children’s Environmental Health.  His laboratory recently developed a set of behavioral testing procedures for evaluating social behaviors in rodents, an essential step in the development of useful models for the study of neurodevelopmental disorders like autism. Dr. Berman is also a member of the NeuroTherapeutics Research Institute (NTRI) at UC Davis that is studying the genetic disorder Fragile X-associated Tremor Ataxia (FXTAS).  Dr. Berman’s laboratory is using transgenic mice to model FXTAS in order to understand the underlying pathophysiology and to test novel therapeutics to improve neurological outcome in FXTAS.  Dr. Berman’s research and training activities have been funded by the NIH for the past 30 years, and his research is currently funded by NINDS and NIEHS.  He is currently Director of Research for the Neurotrauma Research Laboratories at UC Davis.

Education

B.A., Microbiology, University of Utah, 1970
M.S., Physiological Psychology, University of Utah, 1974
Ph.D., Physiological Psychology, University of Utah, 1976
Postdoctoral Training, Neuroscience, Univ. North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 1977-1979

Dr. Berman's publications and academic activities »

Verónica Martínez Cerdeño, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine, 
Shriners Hospital of Northern California
2425 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817   

 

 

Phone:  916-453-2163
Email:  vmartinezcerdeno@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Martínez Cerdeño received a B.S. in 1998, from Complutense University, Spain. In 2002, received her Ph.D. from the Autónoma University of Madrid, Spain. After completing doctorate in Neuroscience, Dr. Martinez Cerdeño completed her postdoctoral training at Columbia University in New York, at UCSF in San Francisco, and at the MIND Institute at UC Davis Medical Center.

Currently, Dr. Martínez Cerdeño serves as Associate Professor at the Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UC Davis. She also is a Faculty member of the Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine at Shriners Hospital of Northern California/UC Davis Medical Center where she joined in 2008.

Dr. Martínez Cerdeño is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, Cajal Club, International Society for Stem Cell Research, American Association for the Advancement of Science, European Researchers Abroad, International Society for Autism Research, Spanish Society of Neuroscience, and European Society of Neuroscience.

Celia Chang, M.D.Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
UC Davis Health
ACC Building
4860 Y Street, Suite 0100
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

E-mail:  chwchang@ucdavis.edu 

Celia H. Chang offers comprehensive diagnostic and consultative services for children suffering from diseases and congenital disorders of the nervous and neuromuscular systems, including epilepsy, movement disorders, muscular dystrophies and muscle weakness.

Education

UC Davis School of Medicine
Davis, California
M.D. 1993

UC Berkeley
Berkeley, California
B.A./B.S. 1989

Jacqueline N. Crawley, Ph.D.

Faculty member, UC Davis MIND Institute, Robert E. Chason Endowed Chair in Translational Research,Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
4625 2nd Avenue, Research 2, Room 1001A
Sacramento, CA 95617

Phone:  916-734-1129
E-mail:  crawley@ucdavis.edu   

Jacqueline N. Crawley, Ph.D. received her undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and graduated with a degree in biology.  Her dissertation research was completed in the departments of zoology and psychology at the University of Maryland in College Park. Postdoctoral research in neuropsychopharmacology was conducted at Yale University School of Medicine.  In 1979 she joined the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland to establish a behavioral neuroscience laboratory.  Her research program investigated animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s.  She has published over 260 peer reviewed papers, 104 chapters and reviews, 5 books, and was editor of the journal Neuropeptides.  Dr. Crawley’s sole-authored book, What’s Wrong With My Mouse? Behavioral Phenotyping of Transgenic and Knockout Mice, is in broad use by neuroscientists and the biomedical research community.

Beginning in 2000, Dr. Crawley’s interest in the genetics of autism led to a new focus on mutant mouse models of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.  The Crawley lab conducts behavioral phenotyping of mice with mutations in genes associated with autism, to understand the consequences of each genetic abnormality across developmental stages.  Her team innovated mouse behavioral assays with relevance to diagnostic symptoms including social approach, reciprocal social interactions, olfactory communication and ultrasonic vocalizations, motor stereotypies and repetitive behaviors, which have been widely adapted by many laboratories worldwide for investigations of animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders.  Comprehensive behavioral phenotyping studies conducted by her group include mice with mutations in the autism risk genes engrailed2, fmr1, neuroligin1, neuroligin3, neuroligin4, shank1, shank3, as well as oxytocin, vasopressin 1b, 16p11.2 deletions, and inbred strains. 

Dr. Crawley joined the University of California Davis in 2012 as a MIND Institute faculty member and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  To discover effective therapeutics for the core symptoms of autism, the Crawley team is currently pursuing preclinical translational studies in mouse models with the most robust autism-relevant phenotypes, to identify pharmacological interventions that reverse and prevent autism-relevant behaviors.

Education

B.A., Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1967-71
Ph.D., Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 1971-76
Postdoctoral, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 1976-79

Dr. Crawley's publications and academic activities (PDF) »

Megan Dennis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
School of Medicine
451 Health Sciences Drive
Davis, CA 95616
Phone:  530-752-1357
Email:  mydennis@ucdavis.edu
Twitter: @meganamsu

Dr. Dennis’s research at the UC Davis Genome Center and MIND Institute uses genome sequencing to pinpoint genes contributing to innovative human phenotypes and their role in disease, primate evolution, population diversity, and gene regulation. Of particular interest are genes duplicated since the human-chimpanzee divergence, which are largely understudied as they are difficult to assess using standard genetic methods. This includes developing novel sequencing methods to capture complex genomic variation.

Going beyond genetic studies, her group also employs experimental methods using human cell lines and zebrafish to quickly and robustly assay function of genes related to neurological disease on cellular phenotypes and neurological development. Her group focuses on improving diagnostics and elucidating the underlying mechanisms of neurological disorders including autism, intellectual disability, and epilepsy.

Education

B.S., Biochemical Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 2004
Ph.D., Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 2009

Faye Dixon, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist, Clinic Director, UC Davis MIND Institute ADHD Clinic.  UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0265
E-mail:  fdixon@ucdavis.edu   

Dr. Dixon is a licensed clinical psychologist with 25 years of experience in clinical work and research in child psychopathology, specifically the areas of depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD and learning differences in children.  Dr. Dixon joined Dr. Julie Schweitzer’s ADHD Program at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine in 2008.  Currently, she serves as a diagnostic and assessment consultant for the MINT (Mapping Impulsivity’s Neurodevelopmental Trajectory) and LEIA (Lisdexamfetamine Effect in ADHD) studies. 

In addition Dr. Dixon is the Clinic Director of the MIND Institute's ADHD clinic and coordinates the ADHD Parent Education Group. She is a member of the UC Davis Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Volunteer Clinical Faculty). She also has spent many years educating and training psychology graduate students, interns, and post-doctoral fellows as well as medical students, residents and child psychiatry fellows.

Education

B.A., College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio, 1976
M.A., American University, Washington, DC, 1987
Ph.D., American University, Washington, DC, 1989

Dr. Dixon's publications and academic activities »

Catherine Fassbender, Ph.D.Associate Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis MIND Institute and UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0265
E-mail:  cfassbender@ucdavis.edu     

Dr. Fassbender graduated from the Trinity College Dublin, Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, graduate program in 2005, under the mentorship of Drs. Hugh Garavan and Ian Robertson. Her graduate work involved investigating cognitive control processes in the typically developing brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She then joined Dr. Julie Schweitzer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, where she began to investigate cognitive control in children and adolescents with ADHD. In 2007 she moved to the UC Davis MIND Institute and Department of Psychiatry where she continued researching cognitive control in ADHD. More recently she has begun investigating cognitive impairments in individuals with ADHD and substance dependence with Dr. Salo at the UC Davis Imaging Research Center. Dr. Fassbender became a member of the MIND Institute faculty in 2012. She is a cognitive neuroscientist who’s interests include understanding the neural correlates of cognitive control processes in the typically developing brain, in ADHD and in substance abuse, through the use of behavioral, functional neuroimaging and electrophysiological methods. Dr. Fassbender’s goal is to better understand the cognitive impairments in ADHD in order to inform targeted treatments and to identify patterns of brain and behavior function that will inform the early identification of individuals vulnerable to substance dependence with the goal of prevention.

Education

B.A., Psychology, University College Dublin, Ireland, 2000
Grad. Dip., Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 2002
Ph.D., Cognitive Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 2005

Dr. Fassbender's publications and academic activities (PDF) 

Cecilia Giulivi, Ph.D.Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine; Member of the MIND Institute; member of the UC Davis Cancer Center 
3009 VM3B
Davis, CA 95616

 

 

Phone:  530-752-1038
E-mail:  cgiulivi@ucdavis.edu 

Dr. Giulivi joined the University of California, Davis in 2004 as an Associate Professor and since 2007 as a Professor. She has been a member of the MIND Institute since 2011. Dr. Giulivi has a strong background and experience in the area of mitochondria bioenergetics and free radical biochemistry. This is reflected in more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals in the chemistry-biochemistry field of mitochondria and free radicals. She worked on mitochondrial biochemistry since her undergraduate years, and more recently, her focus has been at understanding the underlying mechanisms that result in dysfunction of mitochondria in several pathophysiological situations such as autism, essential amino acid deficiency, type-2 diabetes, fragile X, and Huntington’s disease.

After receiving her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Buenos Aires in 1989, Dr. Giulivi went on to do a post doc at the University of Southern California. After completing research there in the department of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology she was promoted to the position of Assistant Professor. She then moved to the University of Minnesota in 1998 to serve as an Associate Professor in their Department of Chemistry, before moving here to UC Davis in 2004. 

Dr. Giulivi has been a Member of Executive Board for Mitochondria in Physiology and a Member of the Editorial Board for the Journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine since 2004. In 2011 she was appointed as a Reviewer in the Medical Research Council, as well as ad-hoc reviewer for several NIH study sections including MIST, NGDB, and others. Previously she has served on the council for the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine Research. She received Autism Science’s Top 10 Achievement Award for 2010, for groundbreaking work on identifying mitochondrial dysfunction in children with autism. 

Education

Biochemistry (professional degree), University of Buenos Aires, 1985; Summa Cum Laude.
Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, 1989

Dr. Giulivi's publications and academic activities (PDF) »

Paul J. Hagerman, M.D., Ph.D.Distinguished Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Investigator, MIND Institute, UC Davis School of Medicine 
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue, 4455 Tupper Hall
Davis, CA 95616

 

Phone:  530-754-7266
E-mail:  pjhagerman@ucdavis.edu

Paul J. Hagerman, M.D., Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and a MIND Institute investigator at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine. He obtained both his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine. Following a three-year Leukemia Society Fellowship at UC San Diego, Dr. Hagerman joined the faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he remained for twenty years prior to joining the UC Davis faculty in 2001. 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), reported their discovery of a neurological disorder involving tremor and gait ataxia, which they later named fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). They also discovered that FXTAS represents a new class of inclusion disorder, with numerous intranuclear inclusions found throughout the brains of affected individuals. FXTAS is now known to be one of the most common single-gene forms of neurodegeneration. Since it has features of both Parkinsonism and dementia, FXTAS represents a model system for understanding the pathogenesis of those more common, sporadic disorders. Remarkably, FXTAS is caused by smaller CGG-repeat expansions of the same gene (FMR1) that gives rise to fragile X syndrome, albeit by an entirely separate mechanism: excess “toxic” FMR1 mRNA for FXTAS; gene silencing and absence of FMR1 protein in fragile X syndrome. Dr. Hagerman is currently on the scientific advisory board of the National Fragile X Foundation and is Director of the NeuroTherapeutics Research Institute (NTRI), which is funded through the “Roadmap Initiative” from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Hagerman’s other NIH support has been through the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Child Health and Development. He is most grateful for the support he has received from families for his work on fragile X disorders.

Education

B.A., Chemistry, University of Oregon, 1971
M.D., Ph.D., Biochemistry and Medicine, Stanford University, 1977

Dr. Hagerman's publications and academic activities »

Randi J. Hagerman, M.D.Medical Director, UC Davis MIND Institute, Distinguished Professor, Endowed Chair in Fragile X Research, Department of Pediatrics, UC Davis School of Medicine 
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2221
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0247
E-mail:  rjhagerman@ucdavis.edu  

Dr. Randi Hagerman is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and the Medical Director of the MIND Institute at UC Davis.  She is internationally recognized as both a clinician and researcher in the fragile X field.  Dr. Hagerman received her M.D. from Stanford University where she also carried out her Pediatric residency.  She completed a Fellowship in Learning and Disabilities and Ambulatory Pediatrics at UC San Diego and, subsequently, spent the next 20 years from 1980 to 2000 at the University of Colorado where she headed Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.  She co-founded the National Fragile X Foundation in 1984 in Colorado and developed a world-renowned fragile X research and treatment center.  In 2000, Professor Hagerman moved to UC Davis to be the Medical Director of the MIND Institute.  Dr. Hagerman and her team discovered the Fragile X-associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS) which is a neurological disorder that affects older male and rare female carriers of fragile X.  Dr. Hagerman’s research involves genotype-phenotype correlations in fragile X and she carries out this research in collaboration with her husband, Paul Hagerman, M.D., Ph.D.  Professor Randi Hagerman has written over 200 peer-reviewed articles and numerous book chapters on neurodevelopmental disorders.  She has written several books on fragile X including a 3rd Edition of Fragile X Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Research which was published in 2002 by Johns Hopkins University Press.  Dr. Hagerman has received numerous awards for her research in fragile X syndrome including the Jerrett Cole Award from the National Fragile X Foundation for unselfish dedication to work with fragile X children and adults, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Award for Science including Medicine, the IASSID Distinguished Achievement Award for Scientific Literature, the 2005 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award from UC Davis, and the 2006 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Mentoring at UC Davis.  In 2004, to honor both Randi and Paul Hagerman in recognition of their work in FXTAS, the National Fragile X Foundation established the Hagerman Award.  This award recognizes research accomplishments in the field of FXTAS and is given at the bi-annual International Conference on Fragile X.  In 2008, the National Fragile X Foundation again honored Dr. Hagerman with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Hagerman has worked internationally to establish fragile X clinical programs and research programs throughout the world.  Dr Hagerman is currently carrying out multiple targeted treatment trials in FXS and in autism including a controlled trial of Arbaclofen, minocycline, ganaxolone, mGluR5 antagonists developed by Roche and another by Novartis, and sertraline. She is also the PI of a controlled trial of memantine in older fragile X premutation carriers with FXTAS.

Education

B.S., Zoology, University of California, Davis, 1971
M.D., Medicine, Stanford University, 1975 

Dr. Hagerman's publications and academic activities »

Robin L. Hansen, M.D.Director of Clinical Programs, UC Davis MIND Institute; Professor and Chief of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine; Director, Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (CEDD)
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0248
E-mail:  rlhansen@ucdavis.edu    

Dr. Hansen is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician/researcher with vast experience in diagnosing and treating children with neurodevelopmental problems such as pervasive developmental disorder, autism, learning disorders, and attention deficits. She heads a multidisciplinary clinic that diagnosis children, plans/initiates intervention strategies, and works closely with patient families. Her clinical research has focused on children’s temperament and its effects on parenting, long-term effects of prenatal drug exposure, and etiologic diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorders such as autism, including clinical characteristics, biologic markers and gene-environment interactions. Dr. Hansen has developed services for families affected by parental substance abuse, infant mental health, and children in foster care in Sacramento County. She has been an advocate for children at high risk for developmental/behavioral disorders, through her research and her community service at the local, state and national level.

Education

B.A., Human Biology, Stanford University, 1973
M.D., Medicine, University of California, Davis, 1977

Dr. Hansen's publications and academic activities »

David Hessl, Ph.D.Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0249
Email:  drhessl@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Hessl's clinical interests involve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral evaluation of children, adolescents and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders, especially those with fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and learning disabilities. He also has expertise in developmental psychopathology, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, in infants and young children. Dr. Hessl received his Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington in 1997, which included a clinical internship at Stanford University, and received postdoctoral fellowship training at the UC Berkeley Institute of Human Development during 1997-1998. Dr. Hessl directs the Translational Psychophysiology and Assessment Laboratory (T-PAL) at the MIND Institute to investigate the emotional psychophysiology of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and to develop novel outcome measures for clinical trials.  His work currently concentrates on autism, fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, and fragile X premutation carriers, who are at risk for neurodegenerative disease. He also conducts collaborative studies with other researchers, investigating brain imaging, molecular genetics and neuropsychology in an effort to understand links between genetics, brain function and behavior.

Education

B.A., Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989
M.S., Child Clinical Psychology, University of Washington, 1995
Ph.D., Child Clinical Psychology, University of Washington, 1997

Dr. Hessl's publications and academic activities »

Fereydoun Hormozdiari, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility
451 Health Science Dr.
Davis, CA 95616

 

Phone:  530-754-9725
Email:  fhormozd@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Hormozdiari’s research at the UC Davis Genome Center and MIND institute is centered on developing and utilizing combinatorial and machine learning methods to study various aspects of human and primate genomes. Mainly his research group is focused on developing methods to predict and study genetic causes of (neuro)developmental disorders. His particular interest is in discovery of genes and genetic variations contributing to these disorders in the context of functional pathways and modules.

His current projects are discovery and studying genetic structural variation in developmental disorders, developing models to predict contribution of rare variants on autism and building methods for early prediction of these disorders using genetic variants. The ultimate goal of his lab is not only to be able to accurately predict these disorders based on the observed genetic variants, but also learn the biological mechanism behind them.

Education

B.S.c, Computer Engineering, Sharif University, 2004
M.S.c, Computer Science, Simon Fraser University, 2007
Ph.D., Computer Science, Simon Fraser University, 2011

Dr. Hormozdiari's publications and academic activities »

Lee-Way Jin, M.D., Ph.D.Associate Professor, Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0392
Email:  lwjin@ucdavis.edu  

Dr. Jin is a neuropathologist and neuroscientist with expertise in the molecular analysis of brain diseases and in brain banking. He is currently the principal investigator of the NIA-funded Neuropathology Core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UC Davis. He is also the UC Davis principal investigator of the “University of California Pediatric Neuropathology Consortium,” with the mission to collect and study cells and brain tissues from patients with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, fragile X syndrome, and Rett syndrome. Dr. Jin also conducts basic science research in his laboratory. His scientific goals include identifying potential cellular and molecular therapeutic targets in Rett syndrome, a genetic form of autism spectrum disorder, and (2) designing and testing small molecule compounds specific for these targets that may have a potential for future Rett syndrome and autism therapy. His current research focus is on glial cell abnormalities in Rett syndrome as well as neuropathology of fragile X syndrome.

Education

M.D., Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, 1985
Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego, 1993

Janine M. LaSalle, Ph.D.Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, UC Davis Genome Center, UC Davis MIND Institute
Medical Microbiology and Immunology
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

 

Phone:  530-754-7598
Email:  jmlasalle@ucdavis.edu  

Dr. LaSalle is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, Davis, with memberships in the Genome Center, Rowe Program in Human Genetics, and the MIND Institute.  Dr. LaSalle serves on the editorial board of the journal Human Molecular Genetics and Molecular Autism, scientific advisory boards of the International Rett Syndrome Foundation and Dup15q Alliance Foundation.  The research focus in Dr. LaSalle’s laboratory is on epigenetics of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, Rett syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Angelman syndrome, and 15q duplication syndrome.  Dr. LaSalle’s laboratory has developed multiple innovative approaches for epigenetic investigations using genetic mouse models, neuronal cultures, and postmortem human brain.  Dr. LaSalle’s laboratory has been successful in the use of genomic and epigenomic technologies to investigate the role of MeCP2 in the pathogenesis of Rett syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. Dr. LaSalle is the chair of the Genetics Graduate Group, and a member of three other graduate groups, including Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cellular Developmental Biology, Neuroscience, and Biophysics  Her graduate students and postdoctoral fellows have received several prestigious awards from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Autism Speaks.  Dr. LaSalle’s laboratory has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1999 and is currently funded by NICHD, NINDS, NIEHS, and the Prader-Willi Foundation.

Education

B.S., Biology, Randolph-Macon College, 1988
Ph.D., Immunology, Harvard University, 1993

Dr. LaSalle's publications and academic activities » 

Ingrid Leckliter, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist, Developmental Neuropsychology
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817 

 

 

Phone:  916-703-0255
Email:  inleckliter@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Leckliter, a specialist in developmental neuropsychology, has more than 20 years of experience providing clinical services to children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. At the UC Davis MIND Institute and Children's Hospital, she serves children who are affected by a broad range of conditions, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, disorders on the autism spectrum; learning disorders; and other conditions resulting from adverse developmental and environmental risk factors such as prenatal exposure to teratogens and child abuse and neglect. Learning disorders are an area of particular interest to her and she is currently developing a Learning Disorders Clinic at the MIND Institute. Dr. Leckliter is committed to helping families understand their child's unique strengths and cope with their child's special needs. This process enhances the child and parent relationship, thereby supporting the child's emotional coping skills, and his or her functioning in society.

Education

B.A., Centre College of Kentucky, Danville, Kentucky, 1979
M.A., Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 1981
Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 1984

Dr. Leckliter's publications and academic activities »

Pamela J. Lein, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine; Chair, UC Davis Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group
1089 Veterinary Medicine Dr. (VM3B)
Davis, CA   

Phone:  530-752-1970
Email:  pjlein@ucdavis.edu

 

Dr. Lein is a developmental neurobiologist with research interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which environmental stressors modulate neurodevelopment. Her current research focuses on: (1) interactions between genetic alterations in ryanodine receptors and environmental factors that modulate calcium signaling that alter normal patterns of neuronal connectivity in the developing brain; (2) novel biomarkers and medical countermeasures for organophosphorus anticholinesterase-induced neurotoxicity; and (3) the influence of neuroimmune interactions on neuronal morphogenesis and synapse formation.  The ultimate goal this research is to identify environmental stressors that can be readily controlled to decrease the incidence and/or severity of neurodevelopmental disorders.  Dr. Lein has developed a well-funded, collaborative and interdisciplinary research program with colleagues across the university, as well as nationally and internationally.  She is the Chair of the Graduate Group in Pharmacology and Toxicology at UC Davis, and a member of the MIND Institute.

Education  

B.S., Biological Sciences, Cornell University, 1981
M.S., Environmental Health, East Tennessee State University, 1983
Ph.D., Pharmacology and Toxicology, State University of New York, Buffalo

Dr. Lein's publications and academic activities (PDF) »

Steven J. Luck, Ph.D.

UC Davis Center for Mind & Brain, Professor, UC Davis Department of Psychology
UC Davis Center for Mind & Brain
267 Cousteau Place
Davis, California 95618

 

 

Phone:  530-752-3025
E-mail:  sjluck@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Luck’s research consists of three interconnect themes.  One strand of research focuses on understanding attention and working memory in typically developing individuals across the lifespan. Dr. Luck has recently shown that individual differences in the capacity of working memory in adults are strongly predictive of differences in overall intellectual function, and that this system undergoes a rapid period of development during infancy.  A second strand of research focuses on understanding cognitive deficits in atypically developing children and in adults with neurological and psychiatric disorders.  The goal of this work is to determine the specific cognitive and neural systems that are impaired so that targeted treatments can be developed.  The final strand of work in Dr. Luck’s lab focuses on developing and promoting the use of state-of-the-art methods for recording electrical activity from the human brain, which are particularly useful for monitoring cognitive processes in preverbal infants and very young children.  In addition to serving on the MIND Institute faculty, Dr. Luck is the director of the UC Davis Center for Mind & Brain. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he is the winner of many prestigious awards, including the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences.

Education

B.A., Reed College, Psychology, 1986
M.S., University of California, San Diego Neurosciences, 1989
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego Neurosciences, 1993

Dr. Luck's publications and academic activities (PDF) » 

A. Kimberley McAllister, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, College of Biological Sciences; Department of Neurology, School of Medicine; and Center for Neuroscience
Medical Neurosciences Bldg., Room 502F
Davis, CA  

 


Phone:  530-752-8114
Email:  kmcallister@ucdavis.edu

Dr. McAllister is a basic and translational neuroscientist who started her laboratory at the Center for Neuroscience in 2000. Her research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synapse formation in the developing cerebral cortex.  The main approach in her lab is to study the formation of individual synapses between dissociated, cultured neurons in real time.  This is accomplished by simultaneously imaging the recruitment of pre- and postsynaptic proteins fused to GFP to synaptic sites and recording the development of synaptic transmission at single synapses as they form.  The specific signals that guide synapse formation and plasticity are studied by manipulating them locally at forming and/or mature synapses. For this basic research, Dr. McAllister has been awarded a grant from the National Eye Institute in addition to a number of fellowships from private foundations including a Scholar Award from the Pew Foundation and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.  In addition to the basic research in her lab, Dr. McAllister’s research also focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia and autism. For these projects, she has been awarded a Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award from the March of Dimes, a Scholar Award from the John Merck Fund, a Research Grant from the March of Dimes, a Pilot award from Cure Autism Now, and a research grant from Autism Speaks. Dr. McAllister has a strong commitment to graduate education as she has served as Chair of Admissions for 4 years, and has been a member of the Executive Committee for 4 years. Dr. McAllister holds positions in the Department of Neurology, the Division of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and the Center for Neuroscience. In the eight years that she has been at the University of California, Davis, Dr. McAllister has developed collaborative and interdisciplinary research with colleagues in several departments. On a national and international level, Dr. McAllister serves as a reviewer for many journals, ad-hocs for several NIH study sections, has been a member of the Program Committee for the Society for Neuroscience, and was awarded the 2006 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience.

Education

B.S., Biology, Davidson College, 1988
Ph.D., Neurobiology, Duke University, 1996

Meghan Miller, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA  

 


Phone:  916-703-0217
Email:  mrhmiller@ucdavis.edu

Meghan Miller, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and the MIND Institute. Her research uses a developmental psychopathology framework to understand the emergence of neurodevelopmental disorders, with a particular focus on ASD and ADHD. The long-range goal is that this work will help identify factors that account for the transition from risk to disorder, and will be highly translational, delineating core shared processes to be targeted by transdiagnostic prevention and early intervention efforts. Dr. Miller is also a licensed clinical psychologist.

Education

B.A., San Diego State University, 2006
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2013

Peter C. Mundy, Ph.D.

Director of Educational Research, UC Davis MIND Institute, Lisa Capp Endowed Chair in Neurodevelopment and Education, Professor, School of Education and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2259
Sacramento, CA 95817  

 

Phone:  916-703-0310
Email:  pcmundy@ucdavis.edu  

Peter Mundy, Ph.D., is a developmental and clinical psychologist who has been working on defining the nature of autism and developmental disabilities for the past 30 years. His work began in 1981 at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. At that time little was known about the characteristics of the social deficits of autism. His studies with collaborators Marian Sigman and Connie Kasari contributed to the understanding that impairments in the early development of infants’ ability to coordinate their visual attention with other people (i.e. joint attention) is a fundamental feature of the early onset autism.  This observation was first published in 1986 and it has contributed to significant improvements in the early identification, diagnosis and treatment of children with autism. In the years since he has studied the behavioral and neurocognitive processes involved in a model of joint attention, and their role in learning, social cognition and developmental disorders.  Along with colleagues at the MIND Institute (Sullivan & Mastergeorge) he has been advancing a new neurodevelopmental model of joint attention, social cognition and autism in 2009 (see paper cited below).  One new avenue of application of this model is to attempt to advance research on school readiness among preschool children. He has published over 100 journal articles and chapters on early social development, autism and social cognition. He has received federal funding for his research continuously since 1982 across 16 different projects.

Dr. Mundy is currently working with collaborators at the MIND Institute on a four volume series, to be entitled Autism for Educators, with Wiley/Jossey Bass Publications. The first volume of this series was published in 2011 (see citation below). In 2009 NIMH granted Dr. Mundy funding to develop a collaborative, multidisciplinary Social Attention Virtual Reality Laboratory (SAV-Lab, http://edscholars.ucdavis.edu/vrlab/home) for research on social attention, learning and academic development in school-age children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This beginning of this laboratory was a joint venture of the faculties of the UC Davis MIND Institute and the Center for Mind and Brain, as well as researchers at Stanford University and the University of Southern California. In 2012 the Institute for Education Science provided four years of funding to allow the SAV-Lab research group the opportunity to conduct a longitudinal study of the factors that impair or facilitate school based learning in elementary and secondary students with ASD.  Immediately prior to his arrival at UC Davis, Dr. Mundy was a professor of psychology at the University of Miami for 17 years. There he was the founding director of the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, which partners with public schools in South Florida to improve the education and outcomes for over 4000 children and families.

Education

B.A., Psychology, Stockton State Collge, NJ, 1976
M.S., Developmental Psychology, University of Miami, 1979
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of Miami, 1981

Dr. Mundy's publications and academic activities (PDF) » 

Stephen C. Noctor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2414
Sacramento, CA 95817 

 

Phone:  916-703-0435
Email:  scnoctor@ucdavis.edu 

Dr. Noctor studies perinatal development of the cerebral cortex, the folded outermost layer of the brain.  The cerebral cortex plays an important role in processes as varied as control of movement, vision, hearing, touch, learning and memory, and higher cognition.  The Noctor lab studies how the cerebral cortex develops during early stages of life, with a central focus on factors that control the embryonic stem and progenitor cells that produce cortical neurons and glial cells.  His current work is examining how interactions between the developing nervous and immune systems govern growth of the brain during development.  These studies have opened new avenues for understanding the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders that result from alterations in cell production.

Education

B.A., Psychology, Rutgers University, 1991
Ph.D., Neuroscience, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, 1998

Dr. Noctor's publications and academic activities »

Christine Wu Nordahl, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817 

 

Phone:  916-703-0373
Email:  cnordahl@ucdavis.edu     

Dr. Nordahl’s research interest is in understanding the neural basis for autism spectrum disorders. She utilizes structural and functional neuroimaging to investigate alterations in brain structure and connectivity in very young children with autism.  She completed a double major at Cornell University in Neurobiology & Behavior and Psychology and received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UC Davis. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the MIND Institute’s Interdisciplinary Autism Research Training Program and spearheaded the development of pediatric imaging protocols to acquire MRI scans in infants and toddlers during natural sleep, without the use of sedation or anesthesia. Dr. Nordahl joined the MIND Institute faculty in 2011 and holds an academic appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. 

Education

B.A., Biological Sciences, Cornell University, 1996
B.A., Psychology, Cornell University, 1996
Ph.D., Neuroscience, UC Davis, 2004

Dr. Nordahl's publications and academic activities »

Sally OzonoffEndowed Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2343
Sacramento, CA 95817   

 

Phone:  916-703-0259
Email:  sozonoff@ucdavis.edu

Sally Ozonoff, Ph.D. is an Endowed Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  Her current research focuses on very young children with autism, infant diagnosis, and recurrence risk.  She is studying the onset of autism in a prospective investigation that follows high-risk infants from birth through age 3.  She is also developing a new video-based measure to screen for autism in infancy.  Dr. Ozonoff is a licensed Clinical Psychologist.  Her clinical interests are in the diagnosis and assessment of autism spectrum disorder, with specializations in infant and adult diagnosis.  Dr. Ozonoff has written over a hundred peer-reviewed publications and chapters on these topics, as well as three books.  Her work has been showcased on 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, and the NBC Nightly News.  Dr. Ozonoff is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatrand serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and Autism Research. 

Education

B.A., Psychology, Cornell University, 1983
M.S., Child Clinical Psychology, University of Denver, 1987
Ph.D., Child Clinical Psychology, University of Denver, 1991

Dr. Ozonoff's publications and academic activities »

A. Murat Pakyurek, M.D.
Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical Director, UC Davis MIND Institute ADHD Program

 

UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

Phone:  916-734-3574
E-mail:  mpakyurek@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Pakyurek is board certified in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. He is the medical director of the UC Davis Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences outpatient clinic. Dr. Pakyurek’s clinical and research interests include autism spectrum disorders in children, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders. He is also interested in education of psychiatry residents and service delivery systems for psychiatric populations. Dr. Pakyurek is currently involved in providing psychiatric care for children with autism and ADHD at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

Education

M.D., University of Istanbul, School of Medicine, Istanbul, 1988

Dr. Pakyurek’s publications and academic activities »

Isaac N. Pessah, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education, Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Molecular Biosciences
1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive, Room 2023
Davis, California 95616

 

Phone:  530-752-6696
E-mail:  inpessah@ucdavis.edu 

Dr. Pessah is a toxicologist with research interest in the area of molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating signaling in excitable cells.  His current research focuses on the structure, function, and pharmacology of the ryanodine-sensitive calcium channels (RyRs) found in sarcoplasmic and endoplasmic reticulum of muscle cells and neurons. His laboratory is actively studying how dysfunction of RyR complexes contribute to genetic diseases and how genetic alteration of RyRs and environmental factors interact to influence neurodevelopment by utilizing cellular, biochemical and molecular investigations of calcium-signaling pathways. Dr. Pessah has developed a strong, collaborative and interdisciplinary research program with colleagues across the university, as well as nationally and internationally. He is director of The Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention, and a member of the MIND Institute.

Education

B.S., Biological Sciences, Cornell University, 1977
M.S., Toxicology, University of Maryland, 1981
Ph.D., Toxicology, University Maryland, 1983

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Ph.D., M.P.H.Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine. Director, NIH-funded UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Core Center. Director, Program on Environmental Epidemiology of Autism and Neurodevelopment, the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risk from Genes and the Environment), and MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies — Learning Early Signs) Studies

 

UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

Phone:  530-752-3025
E-mail:  iher@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Hertz-Picciotto, Professor at the University of California Davis MIND Institute and Director of the NIH-funded UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center, is an environmental epidemiologist with over 300 scientific publications addressing environmental exposures, including metals, pesticides, air contaminants and endocrine disrupting compounds; their interactions with nutrition, genes or social factors; and their effects on pregnancy, the newborn, and child development. She designed and directs CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risk from Genes and Environment), the first large, comprehensive population-based study of environmental factors in autism, and MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies – Learning Early Signs) to search for early markers that will predict autism, starting in pregnancy. Hertz-Picciotto has also led several cohort studies of toxic chemicals and both pregnancy outcomes and early child development in Mexico, Chile, and eastern Europe. She has served on scientific advisory panels for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the NIH National Toxicology Program, and the California Governor’s Proposition 65 committee. She was elected President of two major professional epidemiology societies, and chaired four National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine Panels on: Agent Orange and Vietnam Veterans, and Breast Cancer and the Environment. Dr. Hertz-Picciotto has taught epidemiologic methods on four continents and mentored over 75 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. In 2011, she received the Goldsmith Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. Recently she co-founded (with the Learning Disabilities Association) Project TENDR (Targeting Environment and Neuro-Developmental Risks), a collaborative effort of scientists, clinicians, policy-makers and advocates that aims to decrease the incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders by reducing neurotoxicant exposures that contribute to them.

Education

B.A., Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley, 1970
M.P.H., Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley, 1984
M.A., Biostatistics, University of California, Berkeley, 1985
Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley, 1989

Dr. Hertz-Picciotto's publications and academic activities »

Katherine A. Rauen, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Division of Genomic Medicine Professor, Department of Pediatrics Albert Holmes Rowe Endowed Chair in Human Genetics II

 

UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

Phone:  916-703-0204
E-mail:  rauen@ucdavis.edu

Katherine (Kate) Rauen, MD, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Genomic Medicine at the UC Davis where she currently serves as Chief of Genomic Medicine and the holder of the Albert Holmes Rowe Endowed Chair in Human Genetics II. Dr. Rauen is a board-certified clinical geneticist and is the director of the UC Davis NF/Ras Pathway Genetics Clinic. Dr. Rauen is internationally known for her early pioneering work in the application of array CGH in clinical genetics and as a leader and major contributor to the understanding of the RASopathies. Dr. Rauen's research program involves the clinical and basic science study of cancer syndromes with efforts to identify underlying genetic abnormalities affecting common developmental and cancer pathways.

Education

B.S., Biology, California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield CA 1981
M.S., Physiology, UC Davis, Davis CA 1985
Ph.D., Genetics, UC Davis, Davis CA 1992
M.D., UC Irvine College of Medicine, Irvine CA 1995

Dr. Rauen’s publications and academic activities »

Susan M. Rivera, Ph.D.

Research Director, Neurocognitive Development Lab, Center for Mind and Brain UC Davis, Professor, Department of Psychology
Center for Mind and Brain »
267 Cousteau Place, Suite 250
Davis, California 95618

 

Phone:  530-747-3802
E-mail:  srivera@ucdavis.edu 

Dr. Rivera conducts research on the origins and development of symbolic representation in both infants and children. She uses classic behavioral as well as neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques to investigate such things as language acquisition, concept formation, object representation, and numerical cognition. As a member of the UC Davis MIND Institute, she also conducts research contrasting typical development with that of children with neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and fragile X syndrome.  Dr. Rivera's current investigations focus on several aspects of “parietally-mediated” cognitive functioning, including arithmetic reasoning, so-called “dorsal stream functioning”, biological motion perception and multi-sensory integration.  She uses several different techniques in her research including eye-tracking, ERP and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI.) One of her main research goals is to build a framework for integrating the previously disparate methodological and theoretical orientations of cognitive developmental and neuroscience research. By employing a variety of converging research techniques, she strives to elucidate the complex brain-behavior relationships that underlie cognitive development.

Education

B.A., Psychology, Indiana University, 1991
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1998

Dr. Rivera's webpage where you can access her CV and publications »

Sally J. Rogers, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

 

Phone:  916-703-0264
E-mail:  sjrogers@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Rogers specializes in conducting developmental and treatment research into autism and other developmental disorders and working with children with developmental disabilities and their families, especially young children with autism. She studies early developmental processes, including imitation, social-communicative behavior, development of motor skills, language, and social interaction patterns.  She is currently focused on developing and improving treatments for early autism using a treatment model that she developed in collaboration with Geraldine Dawson, the Early Start Denver Model. Her efforts to deliver effective interventions to people with autism and their families takes her to places all over the globe, training therapists use ESDM in.  She is the primary scientist of a number of federal grants, including an NIH funded ACE Network grant involving a multisite randomized clinical trial comparing ESDM and discrete trial interventions, a study focused on how to help parents use ESDM techniques at home to improve their children's language and behavior, and a large postdoctoral training grant that she directs with Dr. Amaral. Her clinical interests include evaluation of cognitive, behavioral, social, emotional, and adaptive functioning; early intervention for children with autism; developing treatment and educational interventions for persons with autism of all ages, and social skills groups for adults with autism. She has written extensively in her field, authoring numerous articles and books and developing training videos. Dr. Rogers serves on the editorial board of many publications, including Autism Research, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and Infants and Young Children. She also reviews for many journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Science, American Journal of Mental Retardation, Journal of Early Intervention, Journal of Child Psychology and Child Psychiatry, and Development and Psychopathology.

Education

B.A., Ashland College, 1969
M.A., Developmental Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1973
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1975

Dr. Roger's publications and academic activities »

Clifford D. Saron, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Scientist, Center for Mind and Brain;  Lecturer, Autism Research Training Program, UC Davis MIND Institute
267 Cousteau Place
Davis, CA 95618

 

 

Phone:  530-297-5029
E-mail:  cdsaron@ucdavis.edu  

Dr. Saron is an experimental neuroscientist with over 33 years experience using electrophysiological and behavioral methods to study sensory and cognitive processes in humans. He is currently the director of the Core Human Neurophysiology Laboratory at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain (CMB) and holds faculty appointments at the CMB and MIND Institute. Dr. Saron's research is centered on using high-density event-related potentials (ERPs) and other electrocortical measures to investigate sensorimotor integration and attention using simple visual and motor tasks, work that has grown out of a long-standing interest in the functions of the corpus callosum and interhemispheric interaction. His current studies in collaboration with other UC Davis researchers include an examination of the function of the mirror neuron system in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), an investigation of callosal function in neurodevelopmental disorders, an investigation of multisensory integration in ASD, and an assessment of the loudness dependency of the auditory ERP as part of the large Autism Phenome Project at the MIND Institute.  Dr. Saron also directs a large study investigating the effect of mental training on attentional control and emotion regulation. This multi-method project seeks to elucidate the physiological, psychological and neural correlates of sustained training in attentional focus, the results from which may have eventual application to developing better non-pharmacologic interventions for individuals with attention-deficit disorder.  Dr. Saron's expertise in human electrophysiology is widely recognized. At Davis Dr. Saron has been critical in establishing a number of high-density electrophysiology laboratories and he has designed a number of prominent human ERP labs throughout the country.

Education

B.A., Biology, Harvard University, 1976
M.S., Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1992
Ph.D., Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1999

Rebecca Schmidt, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences and UC Davis MIND Institute; Scholar, Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH), School of Medicine

 

 

 

Phone:  530-752-3226
E-mail:  rjschmidt@ucdavis.edu  

Rebecca J. Schmidt, M.S., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California – Davis, School of Medicine. Her research goal is to advance understanding of how environmental exposures, primarily those occurring during gestation, interact with genetic susceptibility to influence neurodevelopmental outcomes for children, and more broadly, reproductive health and child development. As a molecular epidemiologist, she tends to approach epidemiologic research from a mechanistic and pathways perspective. Dr. Schmidt has over 10 years of experience in epidemiological research that began at the University of Iowa College of Public Health with her dissertation that examined gene by environment interactions as risk factors for congenital malformations, including neural tube defects. She expanded this research to other neurodevelopmental outcomes as a postdoctoral fellow in the 2-year Autism Research Training Program (ARTP) at the MIND (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute as part of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department of the UC Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento. In 2010, she became a faculty member of the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences, the UC Davis Graduate Group for Epidemiology, and the MIND Institute. She teaches a course on Molecular Epidemiology and co-teaches Reproductive Epidemiology. Her research has focused largely on interaction effects between maternal nutrition and the genome in relation to autism spectrum disorders, potentially through epigenetic mechanisms. In work recognized as among the most important in 2011 by Autism Speaks and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Dr. Schmidt and her colleagues were the first to identify a significant association between an easily modifiable factor, periconceptional prenatal vitamin intake, and reduced risk for autism spectrum disorders. In addition, they were among the first to report significant gene-by-environment interaction effects for autism, providing a potential explanation for the variation in findings across autism genetics studies. Future research will explore mechanisms behind observed interactions, including epigenetic effects, and will expand studies of interactions in the context of autism etiology, with the goal of identifying pathways for prevention and intervention.

Education

B.S., Biology, University of Iowa, IA, 1998
M.S., Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, 2000
Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, 2007

Dr. Schmidt's publications and academic activities »

Andrea Schneider, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Fragile X Research & Treatment Center
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0202
E-mail:  anschneider@ucdavis.edu 

From very early on in her academic career, Dr. Schneider focused on interdisciplinary research with brain-behavior interactions and acquired broad knowledge in clinical psychology and medical neuroscience, with specific training and expertise in ADHD, learning disabilities, and fragile X spectrum disorders.  Being also a clinical psychologist, her other area of interest is intervention research. As a graduate student, she completed a pilot study of a phytopharmacological intervention (Ginkgo biloba) in dyslexia, and a study about the efficacy of neurofeedback in ADHD.

Currently, Dr. Schneider's main research interest is the association between genetic and brain abnormalities underlying the neuropsychopathology, behavioral, and psychiatric symptoms in individuals with the fragile X spectrum disorders and autism.  Her major research approach focuses on a number of psychophysiological indicators, like electroencephalography / event-related potentials (EEG/ERP) measures in fragile X spectrum disorders and ASD, prepulse inhibition, eye tracking, and biofeedback.  Dr. Schneider is strongly committed to understanding, prevention, care, and cure of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Education

B.S., Psychology, University of Potsdam, Germany, 1997
M.S., Clinical & Educational Psychology, Minor Neurology, University of Potsdam, Germany, 2001
Ph.D., Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Potsdam, Germany, 2007

Dr. Schneider's publications and academic activities »

Cynthia M. Schumann, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0372
E-mail:  cschumann@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Schumann completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, San Diego, and then attended graduate school at the University of California, Davis, where she received a doctoral degree in Neuroscience. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, where she also moved to her first faculty position in the Department of Neurosciences. She joined the MIND Institute faculty in 2009 as assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Schumann’s previous research experience includes postmortem studies of the autistic brain and magnetic resonance imaging studies of children with autism spectrum disorders. She is continuing her postmortem studies to investigate the neuroanatomy and neuropathology of autism, as well as leading program development for a brain tissue resource center at the MIND Institute.

Education

B.S., Cognitive Science and Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, 1998
Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of California, Davis, 2005

Julie B. Schweitzer, Ph.D.

Director, Attention, Impulsivity, Regulation (AIR)/ADHD Program UC Davis MIND Institute; Co-Center Mentoring Director of the MIND Institute; Co-Director, Mentored Clinical Research Training Program – CTSC, UC Davis; Director, UC Davis Schools of Health Mentoring Academy; Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2331
Sacramento, CA 95817

Phone: 916-703-0294 
E-mail: jschweitzer@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Schweitzer's interests include the identification and treatment of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity (ADHD) and related disorders in children and adults using behavioral, neuropsychological and functional neuroimaging methods. Other interests include the use of reinforcement and learning paradigms in imaging as applied to psychopathology. Dr. Schweitzer's goal is to apply translational research methods using a variety of basic behavioral and physiological techniques to develop novel treatment and preventative approaches to addressing attentional disorders and optimal treatments based on subtypes of ADHD. Additional funded collaborative work includes projects testing the effects of prenatal drug exposure on adolescent brain function and behavior and the effects of schizophrenia on reinforcement and learning impairments via fMRI and behavior. Dr. Schweitzer is the Director of the ADHD Program at the MIND Institute at the UC Davis School of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Schweitzer is committed to the development of junior faculty and postdoctoral scholars in the implementation of translational research. She is the Associate Director of the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program within the UC Davis CTSC and on the steering committee of the Mentoring Academy for the UC Davis Schools of Health Sciences.

Education

A.B., Psychology, University of Southern California, 1982
M.S., Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1987
Ph.D., Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1990

Dr. Schweitzer's publications and academic activities » 

David J. Segal, Ph.D.

Professor, UC Davis Genome Center, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, MIND Institute, UC Davis School of Medicine
4512 GBSF
451 Health Sciences Drive
Davis, CA 95616

 

Phone:  530-754-9134
E-mail:  djsegal@ucdavis.edu  

Dr. Segal’s research focuses on engineering custom DNA-binding proteins and their application toward improving public health. He has over 60 publications on the use of targetable nucleases to make precise changes to the DNA of living cells, and the use of artificial transcription factors to activate or repress specific genes of interest.  His work has been supported by grants from the NIH, DOD, and the foundations for Angelman, Prader-Will, and Rett syndromes.  Dr. Segal sits on the scientific advisory board of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics and the Foundation for Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, the Department of Pharmacology, the MIND Institute, and the Genome Center, where he is the Associate Director of Genomics. He has mentored 18 undergraduate, 11 graduate, and six post-doctoral researchers, placing him in an excellent position to advise trainees for this program.

Education

B.S., Biology, Cornell University, 1989
Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Utah, 1996

Dr. Segal's publications and academic activities »

Lab webpage »

Frank Sharp, M.D.

Department of Neurology, School of Medicine; Member, Neuroscience and Genetics Graduate Groups
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0368
E-mail:  frsharp@ucdavis.edu

An internationally renowned clinical neurologist and neuroscientist, Frank Sharp, M.D. joined the UC Davis and the MIND Institute faculty in June 2004. Research in his laboratory focuses on molecular neurobiology, genomics, neural cell injury and cell death and the blood genomics of neurological disease. Prior to his appointment at UC Davis, Sharp had a distinguished clinical and research career at UC San Diego, UC San Francisco and the University of Cincinnati, making groundbreaking contributions to new fields of study and new insights into brain function and disease. Among these contributions were: first laboratory to show proof of principle for using blood genomics to detect pathological events in the animal and human brain, paved the way for performing PET and fMRI studies in humans, and first to demonstrate that a transcription factor can be used to map active neurons. Sharp is currently on the editorial boards of Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Medical Genomics, Brain Research and Journal of Neurochemistry. He has been a member of AHA grant review committees, and is currently a permanent member of the BINP grant review committee at the National Institutes of Health. 

Dr. Sharp's publications and academic activities »

Jill L. Silverman, Ph.D.Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; University of California Davis School of Medicine
4625 2nd Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

 

Phone:  916-734-8531
E-mail:  jsilverman@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Silverman completed her undergraduate education at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.  She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology (Honors) with a heavy emphasis in Neurobiology and Behavior.  During this time, Dr. Silverman gained insight into the clinical neurological community, by working with individuals with behavioral disruptions caused by traumatic brain injuries.  For her doctoral research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, she identified the impact of stress-related mechanisms in major mental illnesses.  Employing rodent models, Dr. Silverman investigated neuroendocrine regulatory mechanisms through which episodes of depression, schizophrenia and drug abuse are triggered or exacerbated by inappropriate responses to stressors. For her postdoctoral training, Dr. Silverman was recruited by Dr. Jacqueline Crawley, to join her Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda.  Dr. Silverman’s projects employed a multi-tiered comprehensive phenotyping strategy, designed by Dr. Crawley and refined by Dr. Silverman, which has led to the discovery and publication of clinically relevant phenotypes in mutant mouse models of human genetic diseases including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, intellectual disabilities and Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. 

In the summer of 2012, Dr. Silverman was recruited to the University of California Davis and MIND Institute. Her current expertise is in preclinical translational evaluation of pharmacological treatments for autism spectrum disorders.  Dr. Silverman’s research team administered promising compounds to mice with social deficits and repetitive behaviors, and conducted assays for improvements in those two primary diagnostic domains of autism.  Dr. Silverman’s group is currently working on new project topics that include phenotypes of autism relevant genetic mouse models, the complexities in interpretation of mouse behavioral data, additional pharmacological treatment reversals in mouse models of autism and the development of rodent cognitive behavioral assays using technology that is analogous to clinical assessment tools.

Dr. Silverman is also a leader in training new behavioral neuroscientists.  She has trained, supervised and mentored numerous undergraduates, postbaccalaureates, Howard Hughes Medical Institute intern students and postdoctoral fellows.  She also communicates and participates in dialogue aimed at informing parent advocates of the nation’s top non-profit organizations to aide support and funding tailored to basic research in neurodevelopmental disorders.  Dr. Silverman enjoys educating on the use of animal models in studies of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders to student and public communities.

Education

Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2007
B.A., Rutgers University, 1999

Dr. Silverman's publications and academic activities »

Tony J. Simon, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2341
Sacramento, CA 95817  

 

Phone:  916-703-0407
E-mail:  tjsimon@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Simon is a pediatric cognitive neuroscientist. His research focuses on the interactions between neural, cognitive, affective and stress biology differences in young people with genetic disorders that produce learning difficulties, behavioral dysregulation and psychopathology. Dr. Simon has spent over a decade and a half investigating how dysfunction in specific neurocognitive processing systems, such as attention, and spatial or temporal processing generates cognitive impairments in thinking about space, time, numbers as was as real world challenges like math, using money and navigation. He has developed and is testing a digital neurotherapeutic intervention (in the form a video game) to minimize such disability.  Dr. Simon's current main project is a National Institute of Mental Health funded longitudinal study on risk and protective factors for psychosis proneness in chromosome 22q11.2 deletion (Velocardiofacial/DiGeorge) syndrome based on the interaction of neurocognitive and affective processing and stress reactivity. Besides experimental cognitive processing analyses, Dr. Simon uses cutting edge neuroimaging methods, such as resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), Diffusion Tensor Fiber Tracking as well as Event-Related Potential (ERP) components of electrophysiological studies in order to study the structure, function and connective patterns in the developing brain.

Education

B.A., Psychology, Lancashire Polytechnic, UK, 1981
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Sheffield University, UK, 1984

Dr. Simon's publications and academic activities » 

Emily J. Solari, Ph.D.

Director, Reading and Academic Development Center, Associate Professor
School Of Education
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616 

 

Phone:  530-752-5369
E-mail:  ejsolari@ucdavis.edu

Emily J. Solari is associate professor of education. She serves as the director of the Reading and Academic Development Center and is an affiliated faculty member at the MIND Institute. Her research focuses on language and reading development in students considered at risk for reading failure, including Spanish-speaking English learners who also have reading difficulties or a reading disability. Her current research project stems from a four year grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) testing the efficacy of Reading RULES, a program developed by Solari and colleagues for first-grade students who are at risk for reading difficulties in word reading and comprehension, in authentic classroom settings. Recently, she also received seed funding through the UC Davis Committee on Research to test the applicability of Building Vocabulary and Early Reading Strategies, an intervention develop with a previous IES grant, for use with elementary school-age children with autism spectrum disorders at-risk for comprehension difficulties.

Education

M.A., Special Education, Disabilities & Risk Studies Emphasis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2003
Ph.D., Special Education, Disabilities & Risk Studies Emphasis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2007

Dr. Solari's publications and academic activities » 

Marjorie Solomon, Ph.D.

Marvin "Buzz" Oates and Family Endowed Chair in Lifespan Development in Autism,
Professor, UC Davis MIND Institute, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street, Room 2278
Sacramento, CA 95817 

 

Phone:  916-703-0270
E-mail:  marsolomon@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Marjorie Solomon is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the MIND Institute, and the Imaging Research Center. She holds a BA from Harvard College, and a PhD in Psychology from UC Berkeley. She also is a licensed clinician with a broad background in clinical assessment and psychosocial intervention for higher functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In 2007, she received a K08 Career Development Award to use cognitive neuroscience methods including fMRI to study higher cognition. From 2012-2012, Solomon served as an appointee of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to the InterAgency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).

Solomon’s current research examines cognitive development in individuals with ASD through the lifespan using neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience methods including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She currently is funded by NIMH to examine intellectual and cognitive functioning in middle childhood (ages 8-12); to isolate behavioral and neurobiological predictors of developmental trajectories of intellectual functioning between early and middle childhood; and to test two mechanistic models of the effects of early intensive behavioral intervention on middle childhood outcomes related to academic, social, and adaptive functioning by conducting a follow-up study of a large, well-characterized, and relatively recent longitudinal cohort of children with ASD and typical development who were first assessed in early childhood (ages 2-3) as part of the MIND Institute Autism Phenome Project (APP). She also recently received funding from NIMH to initiate a longitudinal cohort sequential study of the development of cognitive control, memory, mental health, family factors, and adaptive functioning, and life outcomes in a cohort of adolescents and young adults ages 12-27 at the end of the year.

Solomon’s ultimate goal is to apply what she learns through her neuroscience investigations to the development of interventions – the area where she began her career at the MIND, and one she continues to develop as the Director of the MIND social skills training group program. She is fortunate to have received philanthropic funding for this program from Joyce and Jim Teel for the Thomas P. Raley Foundation. An Endowed Chair from the Oates Family Foundation and funding from the UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence has permitted her to further develop intervention programs for adults with ASD.

Education

B.A., Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 1981
M.B.A., Business Administration, Stanford University, 1985
Ph.D., Social and Personality Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1999

Dr. Solomon's publications and academic activities »

Nicole Sparapani, Ph.D. CCC-SLP

Assistant Professor, UC Davis MIND Institute and the School of Education
Phone:  530-752-6137
Email:  njsparapani@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Sparapani’s research interests center around the dynamic interactions between students and their environmental contexts as they relate to active engagement, classroom performance, and learning in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Her line of research has focused on identifying and systematically measuring key components of classroom active engagement in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), such as the ability to regulate emotions and behaviors, initiate communication, and flexibly adapt and respond to changes throughout the school day as well as instructional strategies that promote student active engagement in general education settings. Dr. Sparapani’s research program advances the understanding of the needs of children with ASD and other exceptionalities to be successful within general education environments, with promising implications for instructional supports that meet the diverse needs of all students included in general education classrooms.

Education

B.A. Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Florida, 2000
M.A. Speech-Language Pathology, University of Northern Colorado, 2003
Ph.D. Communication Science and Disorders, Florida State University, 2013
Postdoctoral Research. Developmental Psychology, Arizona State University, 2016

Dr. Sparapani's publications and academic activities »

Aubyn Stahmer, Ph.D.Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

 

Phone:  916-703-0254
Email:  astahmer@ucdavis.edu

Dr. Stahmer is an expert in the translation of evidence-based autism research to community-based practice and delivery.  The main goals of her research include developing ways to help community providers, such as teachers and therapists, help children with autism and their families by providing high quality care. She is an internationally respected expert in the use of naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions which are validated treatments for autism.  Dr. Stahmer has conducted extensive research in the areas of parent coaching, early intervention, inclusive education and services research in autism spectrum disorders.  Dr. Stahmer leads several grants funded through the U.S. Department of Education that involve adapting evidence-based practices for children with autism in collaboration with teachers and community providers.  She is also interested in examining key ingredients of efficacious interventions to help with use in the community.  Dr. Stahmer also works closely with Dr. Sally Rogers, developer of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) approach to early autism intervention.  Together they examine methods of increasing access to evidence-based care to families of children with autism in rural and underserved areas.  She is widely published and a frequent presenter at annual professional meetings in the field of services to children with autism.  She is an editor of Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice. In addition, she is very involved in the autism community, participating in the California Best Practice Guidelines Committee and the National Standards projects, developing guidelines for autism treatment.

Education

B.A., Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 1989
M.A., Psychology, University of California, San Diego, 1990
Ph.D., Psychology, University of California, San Diego, 1993

Dr. Stahmer's publications and academic activities »

Mary Beth Steinfeld, M.D.

Developmental Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

 

Phone:  916-703-0271
E-mail:  mbsteinfeld@ucdavis.edu

Typical and atypical child development; diagnosis and management of autism spectrum and other developmental disorders; feeding disorders and failure to thrive in infants and young children; preterm and other high risk infant developmental follow up; infant mental health.

Education

M.D., Medical College of Virginia, 1981

Dr. Steinfeld's publications and academic activities »

Flora Tassone, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine; Investigator, UC Davis MIND Institute, University of California, Davis
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0463
E-mail:  ftassone@ucdavis.edu 

Dr. Flora Tassone received her B.S. degree in biology from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and her Ph.D. from the University of Rome UCSC in 1992. She is a research biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, and a MIND Institute investigator at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine. She is a molecular geneticist with a specialty in transcriptional and translational regulation of the fragile X (FMR1) gene. Dr. Tassone has made a number of important observations related to the mechanism of gene expression of the FMR1 gene, especially regarding the effects of premutation alleles on individuals the scientific community thought to be clinically unaffected. Specifically, she investigated the clinical manifestations, protein and FMR1 mRNA expression in individuals with fragile X syndrome and made the important discovery of gene dysregulation (increased activity) among premutation carriers. This discovery provided a molecular basis for the forms of clinical involvement among carriers, including fragile X- associated tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). She continues to work on the molecular basis and abnormal molecular phenotype observed in individuals with FXTAS. Dr. Tassone is the director of the Molecular Core of a Fragile X project and she is the PI on a pilot study on Newborn Screening in Fragile X syndrome, funded by the NIH, the first of its kind in United States. Her laboratory provides the molecular support to a number of projects at the MIND Institute, as well as at the University of California, Davis. Her research also focuses on a number of other neurodevelopmental disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorders and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.  Dr. Tassone has extensive experience in medical genetics and clinical analysis. She has been granted multiple fellowships and training opportunities, as well as research awards from NIH, the National Fragile X Foundation, and UC Davis Health for her outstanding contributions to the field. Dr. Tassone is well known in the international Fragile X community; her work has been presented internationally and she has published extensively on the molecular aspect of both Fragile X and FXTAS and autism.

Education

B.S., Biology, University of Rome, 1983
Med Genetic, Medical Genetics, University of Rome, 1988
Ph.D., Molecular Biology, Catholic University of Rome, 1992

Dr. Tassone's publications and academic activities (PDF) » 

Judy Van de Water, Ph.D.

UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine
451 Health Sciences Drive, Suite 6510 Genome Bldg.
Davis, California 95616

 

 

Phone:  530-752-2154
E-mail:  javandewater@ucdavis.edu  

Dr. Van de Water joined the faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of California, Davis in 1999. In 2000, she also joined the faculty of the newly formed UC Davis MIND Institute when she began her research on the immunobiology of autism. Dr. Van de Water’s laboratory pursues research programs pertaining to autoimmune and clinical immune-based disorders including the biological aspects of autism spectrum disorders. The application of Dr. Van de Water’s immunopathology background has been instrumental in the dissection of the immune anomalies noted in some individuals with autism, and in the differentiation of various autism behavioral phenotypes at a biological level. Most notable of these is the investigation of the maternal immune system as it relates to autism spectrum disorders, with particular emphasis on the presence of highly specific maternal autoantibodies to fetal brain proteins. Dr. Van de Water’s seminal work in this area has led to a highly specific biomarker of autism risk as well as three patents leading to the commercialization of this technology. Dr. Van de Water is currently the Director of the NIEHS funded Center for Children’s Environmental Health at UC Davis, investigating potential environmental risk factors contributing to the incidence and severity of childhood autism. In addition, Dr. Van de Water’s work is also part of a comprehensive and multidiscipline analysis known as the Autism Phenome Project (APP). Prior to working in autism spectrum disorder research, Dr. Van de Water’s research interests were focused on the immunopathologic mechanisms associated with the autoimmune liver disease, primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Her research during PBC led to the discovery of the PBC autoantigen, pyruvate dehydrogenase E2, and the B cell epitope recognized by these autoantibodies.

Dr. Van de Water is the recipient of the Slifka-Ritvo IMFAR Innovative Basic Science research award for her contribution to autism research, and the McGovern Research Award for significant impact in the health field.

Dr. Van de Water holds both a B.S. in Biologic Sciences, and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of California at Davis.

Education

B.S., Biological Sciences, University of California, Davis, 1978
Ph.D., Immunology, University of California, Davis, 1988

Cheryl K. Walker, M.D.

Associate Research Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, UC Davis School of Medicine
4869 Y Street, Suite 2500
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

 

Phone:  916-734-6670
E-mail:  ckwalker@ucdavis.edu

Cheryl Walker, MD, is an Obstetrician Gynecologist who has been working to understand the role of the gestational environment in the development of autism and developmental disabilities for the past several years. Dr. Walker’s early research concentrated on the impact of infections and immunologic responses in reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes.  She transitioned her focus to reproductive epidemiology over a decade ago, and began working to understand the complex influences of maternal physiology, medical conditions and obstetric interventions on neurodevelopmental outcomes including autism spectrum disorders.  Working with various data sources, including self-reported data, objective information from medical records, biological samples and large administrative databases, Dr. Walker is trying to understand how the gestational environment responds to maternal conditions that result systemic inflammation, metabolic derangements, and placental suboptimality, and what implications these alterations have for neurodevelopment.

Education

B.A., History, Smith Collge, Northampton, MA 1980
M.D., University of California, San Francisco, CA 1985

Dr. Walker's publications and academic activities »

Breanna M. Winder-Patel, Ph.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

Phone: 916-703-0385
E-mail: bwinderpatel@ucdavis.edu »   

Dr. Winder-Patel is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at the MIND Institute and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. She has a strong interest in the assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, pediatric anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.

Dr. Winder-Patel began an anxiety treatment clinic upon joining the MIND Institute to continue her passion of providing Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and Habit Reversal Training (HRT) to children and adolescents. She is also involved in clinical research with a focus on further understanding autism spectrum disorder in girls and the clinical and behavioral manifestation of anxiety in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Education

M.A., Ph.D., Clinical Developmental Psychology, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr PA 2013
M.A., Psychology, Boston University, Boston MA 2003
B.A., West Chester University, West Chester PA 2001

Gregory S. Young, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine
UC Davis MIND Institute
2825 50th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

 

Phone:  916-703-0276
E-mail:  dryoung@ucdavis.edu   

An assistant research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Gregory Young is a developmental psychologist. He specializes in longitudinal research design and analysis, with an interest in eye-tracking and behavioral coding as ways to measure intra-individual change as it relates to typical development and the early onset of developmental disorders such as autism.  He collaborates with Drs. Sally Rogers and Sally Ozonoff on studies of the onset and treatment of autism in infant siblings and young preschoolers, and with Dr. Julie Schweitzer on the role of norepinephrine and the locus ceruleus in ADHD as measured by pupil dilation dynamics.  Dr. Young also has specific interests and expertise in statistical analysis techniques using hierarchical generalized models as applied to growth curve analysis, Rasch measurement modeling, and sequential analysis of time series data.  Additionally, he has expertise in database programming and advanced data processing algorithms for use with methodologies such as eye-tracking and behavioral coding.  Dr. Young reviews regularly for a number of publications including Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Autism Research, Biological Psychiatry, and Biological Letters.

Education

B.A., Psychology and English, University of Colorado, 1993
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of Maine, 2001

Konstantino Zarbalis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, UC Davis School of Medicine,
Assistant Investigator, Shriners Hospitals for Children
Shriners Hospitals for Children
2425 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, California 9581

 

Phone:  916-453-2189
E-mail:  kzarbalis@ucdavis.edu   

Dr. Zarbalis’ research interests focus on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that direct the development of the craniofacial skeleton and forebrain. Particular emphasis is put on the analysis of the molecular program underlying the differentiation of cranial neural crest cells. Additional projects investigate the cues that guide the migration, differentiation, and connectivity of cortical neurons. In our studies we take advantage of mouse lines with striking craniofacial or neurodevelopmental defects caused by mutations in specific genes.

Education

B.S., Zoology, Technical University Munich, 1995
Ph.D., Developmental Neurobiology, Technical University Munich, 2000