Autism Phenome Project Team Members
Nearly 52 MIND Institute scientists from eight research areas are taking part in the Autism Phenome Project. The following is a list of research team leaders in charge of various aspects of the project.
Medical evaluations: Robin Hansen is the director of clinical programs at the MIND Institute and a professor and chief of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Hansen is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and researcher with vast experience in treating children with neurodevelopmental problems such as autism, learning disorders and attention deficits. She has been an advocate for children at high risk for developmental/behavioral disorders through her research and community service at the local, state and national levels.
Environmental exposures/Epidemiology: Irva Hertz-Picciotto is a professor of public health sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Hertz-Picciotto’s research concerns the impact on health of a variety of environmental chemicals, including lead, arsenic, pesticides and PCBs. She is president of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology and chairs the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences 2002 Committee to Review Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides.
Behavior and neuropsychology: Sally Rogers and Sally Ozonoff. Rogers is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She specializes in conducting research on autism and other developmental disorders and treating patients with developmental disabilities, especially young children with autism and their families. She has written extensively in her field, authoring numerous articles and books and developing training videos on child development. Ozonoff is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Her research focuses on very young children with autism. She is studying the onset of autism in a prospective investigation that follows high-risk infants from birth through age 3. She is also conducting a twin study of autism, an efficacy study of an attention training program for autism and a study of pragmatic language problems in autism.
Genomics: Jeff Gregg and Frank Sharp. Gregg is an assistant professor of pathology at the UC Davis School of Medicine and director of the MIND Institute’s genomics facility. He is an expert in microarray technology, which he uses to perform gene expression studies in order to identify genes associated with autism. Sharp is a professor of neurology at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Research in his laboratory focuses on molecular neurobiology, genomics, neural cell injury and cell death and the blood genomics of neurological disease. Before joining the institute, he led the team that first proved blood genomics could detect pathological events in the animal and human brain, paving the way for performing PET and fMRI studies in humans.
Brain structure: David G. Amaral and Tony Simon. Amaral is the Beneto Foundation Professor and director of research at the UC Davis MIND Institute. His research involves determining the neuroanatomical, behavioral and electrophysiological organization and functions of brain systems involved in learning, memory, emotion and social behavior. He also conducts research on neurobiological correlates of autism. Simon is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine. As a pediatric cognitive neuroscientist, his research focuses on the neural bases of cognitive impairments seen in genetic disorders that produce mental retardation, developmental disability and psychopathology. Simon uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), voxel based morphometrics and diffusion tensor fiber tracking in order to study the structure, function and connective patterns in the developing brain.
Immune function: Judy Van de Water and Paul Ashwood . Van de Water is an associate professor of rheumatology, allergy and clinical immunology at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She is a well-known immunologist whose primary interests include autoimmunity, immunopathology, and molecular and cell biology. Her research interests include the immunobiology of autism, including food sensitivity. Ashwood is an assistant professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the UC Davis School of Medicine. His current work is directed at characterizing the role of the immune system in autism. His original research in his native England involved identification of a new variant of inflammatory bowel disease found in some cases of autism.
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