Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D., IDDRC Director
Director, UC Davis MIND Institute and Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
Dr. Abbeduto is the director of the MIND Institute, holder of the Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair, and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis. Dr. Abbeduto has been a UC Davis faculty member and MIND Institute director since 2011, following 24 years at the Waisman Center IDDRC in Wisconsin. His research is designed to describe, understand, and treat the linguistic, cognitive, and behavioral impairments associated with IDD, especially FXS, DS, and autism. His current research is focused largely on the measurement of treatment efficacy and the development of technology-delivered treatments. Dr. Abbeduto has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, commentaries, and books. His program of research has been funded virtually continuously by NICHD since 1985. Dr. Abbeduto is the founding PI/PD of the MIND Institute IDDRC.
Melissa Bauman, Ph.D., IDDRC Associate DirectorRodent Behavior Core Co-Director
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Director, Women in Medicine and Health Sciences (WIMHS) University of California, Davis
Dr. Bauman is a full professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Bauman is a behavioral neuroscientist who uses preclinical models to evaluate risk factors and develop novel therapeutics for neurodevelopmental disabilities. Her current research focuses on understanding how changes in the prenatal environment, particularly the maternal-fetal immune environment, increase risk for neurodevelopmental disabilities. Dr. Bauman also has a strong commitment to advancing women's careers in science and medicine and serves as the director of the UC Davis Health Women in Medicine and Health Sciences (WIMHS) program. She has been selected for several prestigious leadership training programs, including the UC system-wide UC Women’s Initiative for Professional Development (UCWI) and both the early and mid-career Assoc. of American Medical Colleges Women Faculty Professional Development Seminars.
Judy A. Van de Water, Ph.D., IDDRC Associate DirectorBiological and Molecular Analysis Core Director
UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health,
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine
Dr. Van de Water is a professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology in the Department of Internal Medicine, and Associate Director for Biological Sciences at the MIND Institute. Dr. Van de Water is an internationally recognized immunologist who has conducted ground-breaking research on the roles of immune dysfunction and autoantibody production in the etiology of autism, including the effects of maternal autoantibodies during gestation. Dr. Van de Water is currently translating her maternal autoantibody biomarker for autism risk into a commercially available diagnostic test and developing potential therapeutics. She is also the director of the UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health and conducts research on the environmental factors contributing to altered neurodevelopment and immune dysregulation.
Rodent Behavior Core Co-Director
Jill L. Silverman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences;
UC Davis School of Medicine
The overarching goal of her research is to apply her 17 years of training and experience with rodent model systems to design and implement effective translation strategies for discovering medical treatments for neurodevelopmental and intellectual disability. Dr. Silverman’s predoctoral research in Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center employed preclinical rat models of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and drug abuse. In 2007, she was recruited for postdoctoral training and research to lead in management of translational and behavioral phenotyping research projects in mouse models of autism within the laboratory of PI Jacqueline N Crawley at the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program. Dr. Silverman joined the University of California Davis and MIND Institute in 2012. Her research projects have employed a multi-tiered comprehensive phenotyping strategy, that has led to the discovery of clinically relevant phenotypes in mutant rodent models of human genetic diseases associated with autism, Fragile X syndrome, 22q13 deletion (Phelan-McDermid), Angelman, Prader-Willi and Duplication 15q syndromes. In 2015, Dr. Silverman was awarded space and resources to develop an independent research program on rare genetic developmental disorders characterized intellectual disabilities and pediatric epilepsies (UC Davis MIND Institute). The Silverman laboratory uses rodent preclinical model systems with overarching themes: 1) we focus on rare genetic disorders and use novel model systems in mice and rats, 2) we incorporate global neurophysiology, electroencephalography (EEG) and neuroimaging by magnetic resonance, 3) we design innovative, translational, quantitative outcome measures, 4) we develop novel rat models that identify environmental risk factors for neurodevelopmental disorders, and 5) we are elucidating gene by environment interactions in these custom-created in vivo model systems. Recent manuscripts related to this work were published in high profile journals (Copping et al., 2017; Berg et al., 2018; Adhikari et al., 2018; Copping et al., 2019; Berg et al., 2020). Dr. Silverman was recently named a Fellow of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS) and serves on the IBNS Council.
Biological and Molecular Analysis Core, Genomics Director
Janine M. LaSalle, Ph.D.
Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, UC Davis Genome Center
UC Davis MIND Institute
Dr. LaSalle is a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She has expertise in epigenetics, molecular biology, genomics, and bioinformatics. She also serves as Associate Director of Genomics at the Genome Center and Deputy Director of the Environmental Health Sciences Center and is a long-time member of the MIND Institute faculty. Dr. LaSalle has developed a collaborative and interdisciplinary research program in epigenomics in neurodevelopmental disabilities, and she is an internationally known expert on molecular mechanisms of environmental epigenetics. She is also the Associate Director of Genomics at the Genome. Dr. LaSalle’s laboratory also has expertise and equipment required for molecular assays, including DNA pyrosequencing for methylation analyses, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and fluorescence in situ hybridization.
Biological and Molecular Analysis Core, Neuroimaging Director
Pamela J. Lein, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine;
Chair, UC Davis Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group
Dr. Lein is a professor of neurotoxicology in the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the MIND Institute faculty. Dr. Lein has developed a collaborative and interdisciplinary research program in basic and applied aspects of developmental neurobiology, and she is an internationally known expert on cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotoxicology. Her work has identified environmental risk factors that converge on signaling pathways that mediate activity-dependent remodeling of neuronal connectivity that are also known to be influenced by autism linked genes. In collaboration with Dr. Judy Van de Water, she is leveraging in vitro models to investigate how cytokines upregulated in autism modulate neurodevelopmental processes that shape neural circuits in the developing brain.
Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, & Research Design Core Director
Kyoungmi Kim, Ph.D.
Professor, Public Health Sciences
Dr. Kim is a professor of Biostatistics in the UC Davis School of Medicine with expertise in statistical genetics/genomics in particular and in high-throughput –omics research in general. Her research interests include disease biomarkers, quantitative genetics, post- genomics, and statistical and research methodology. Particular emphasis areas include the use of statistical methodologies and bioinformatics tools to identify disease-related genes and small molecules to understand disease mechanisms by integrating different types of -omics data. She focuses on computational and statistical approaches to disease biomarker discovery, including early detection of disease and predictions of responses to therapeutic interventions and risk of patient stratification. She has considerable preclinical research experience with rodent models and multifactorial traits and clinical therapeutic studies for neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Kim has participated in interdisciplinary team science projects addressing the genetic component of multi-factorial complex disabilities.
Clinical Translational Core Director
Sally Ozonoff, Ph.D.
Endowed Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
UC Davis School of Medicine
Dr. Ozonoff is Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and a member of the MIND Institute faculty since 2002. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with 30+ years of research and clinical experience with autism. She is the PI of a 17-year longitudinal study of infants at risk for autism, has helped develop diagnostic criteria for children and infants with ASD, and has written a book on diagnosis and assessment of autism. She is trained to research reliability on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and has many years of experience with other measures used by the CT Core, as well as in recruiting children with autism or at risk for autism. She manages the CT Core, meets weekly with the CT Core management team, and supervises the Core’s clinical and diagnostic assessment services.