Judy Van de Water, Ph.D. - IDDRC Investigator

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: 30-752-2154 / Fax: 530-752-4669
E-mail: javandewater@ucdavis.edu 

Areas of Interest

Autism, Schizophrenia, Autoimmunity, Immune Dysregulation, Clinical Immunology


Judy Van de Water is the Co- director of the IDDRC and Director of the UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Dr. Van de Water’s research is focused broadly on the immune aspects of autism spectrum disorder as well as other neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and fragile X syndrome. She is also interested in the relationship between immune development and neurodevelopment, especially the affects of the maternal immune environment on the development of autism.  In addition, through the Center for Children’s Environmental Health, Dr. Van de Water has a strong interest in the role of environmental exposures on immune function, and the relationship between such effects and neuronal development.   Current projects are focused on understanding the roll of immune dysregulation during gestation as well as in individuals with various neurodevelopmental disorders. More specifically, the development of immune-based biomarkers of autism risk based upon maternal autoantibodies to proteins highly expressed in the developing brain is the primary research focus of the Van de Water laboratory.

Current IDDRC Projects

  • Novel Microsystems for Manipulation and Analysis of Immune Cells, NSF EFRI -093799
  • The MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies – Learning Early Signs) study, NIEHS/NIH 1 R01 ES020392-01
  • UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health, NIEHS/NIH, 2 P01 ES011269-11; EPA Log Number  HQ-R-000
  • The CHARGE Study: Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment
  • NIEHS/NIH 1 R01 ES015359-01
  • Generation of a Clinically Relevant Model for MAR Autism, Hearst Foundation

Recent Representative Publications

Braunschweig, D, Krakowiak, P, Duncanson, P, Boyce, R, Hansen, RL, Ashwood, P, Hertz-Picciotto, I, Pessah, IN, and Van de Water, J. (2013) Autism-Specific Maternal Autoantibodies Recognize Critical Proteins in Developing Brain. Translational Psychiatry, 3, e277; doi:10.1038/tp.2013.50.

Bauman, MD, Iosif, A-M, Ashwood, P, Braunschweig, D, Van de Water, J, and Amaral, DG (2013). Prenatal exposure of rhesus monkeys to autism-specific maternal antibodies alters brain growth and social behavior. Translational Psychiatry, 3, e278; doi:10.1038/tp.2013.47

Ashwood, P., Krakowiak, P., Hertz-Picciotto, I., Hansen, R., Pessah, I.N., and Van de Water, J. (2011) Altered T cell responses in autism. Brain Behavior and Immunity 25:840-849.

Braunschweig, D, Duncanson, P, Boyce, R, Hansen, R, Ashwood, P, Pessah . IN, Hertz-Picciotto. I, and Van de Water, J. (2012)   Behavioral correlates of maternal antibody status among children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42:1435-1445.

Piras IS, Haapanen L, Napolioni V, Sacco R, Van de Water J, Persico AM.  (2014) Anti-brain antibodies are associated with more severe cognitive and behavioral profiles in Italian children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Brain Behav Immun. Jan 3. pii: S0889-1591(13)00605-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.12.020. [Epub ahead of print].