NEWS | March 2, 2017

How one gene can worsen the effect of a pregnant woman's illness on the fetal brain


Professor and researcher Theo Palmer will speak about the relationship between maternal illness and autism genes in a free public lecture on March 8 at 4:30 p.m. at the UC Davis MIND Institute, 2825 50th Street in Sacramento.

Theo Palmer Theo Palmer

In his lecture “Unexpected Relationships between Autism Genes and Maternal Illness During Pregnancy,” Palmer will share findings about the GABRB3 gene, which is associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He’ll discuss how this gene acts within the mother, placenta and fetus to worsen the impact of maternal illness of the developing fetal brain.

Palmer is the latest speaker in the 14th season of the UC Davis MIND Institute Distinguished Lecturer Series, which features nationally and internationally recognized researchers, authors and advocates in areas such as autism spectrum disorder, fragile X syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders. A question-and-answer session will immediately follow the lecture.

Palmer is an associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University. He’s also the founder and director of the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and has received numerous awards for his research and teaching in stem cell biology. Palmer’s current research is focused on understanding how genetic and environmental factors can influence neural stem cells in the developing and adult brain.

Palmer received his Doctorate in experimental pathology from the University of Washington, and completed his postdoctoral studies at the Salk Institute. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Andrews University.
The UC Davis MIND Institute is a collaborative international research center, committed to the awareness, understanding, prevention, care and cures of neurodevelopmental disorders. For more information on the Distinguished Lecture Series, please visit

To interview Theo Palmer, contact Dorsey Griffith at 916-734-9118 or email her at


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