David Amaral, Ph.D.

David G. Amaral, Ph.D.




Behavioral Neuroscience


  • Director of Research, MIND Institute
  • Distinguished Professor


UC Davis MIND Institute

2825 50th St.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions

Primary Phone:

Additional Phone Numbers

Phone: 916-703-0237
Phone: 916-703-0225
Fax: 916-703-0287



Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Amaral is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis. He is also the Beneto Foundation Chair and Research Director of the MIND Institute which is dedicated to studying autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. 

As Research Director, he coordinates a multidisciplinary analysis of children with autism called the Autism Phenome Project to define clinically significant subtypes of autism. More recently, Dr. Amaral has become Director of Autism BrainNet, a collaborative effort to solicit postmortem brain tissue to facilitate autism research.

In April of 2015, Amaral became Editor-in-Chief of Autism Research, the journal of the International Society for Autism Research. In 2016, he was appointed to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.



Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis MIND Institute


Ph.D., Neuroscience/Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester NY 1977

B.A., Northwestern University, Evanston IL 1968


Neuroanatomy. Washington University, St. Louis MO 1980

Professional Memberships

American Association for the Advancement of Science

International Society for Autism Research

Society for Neuroscience

Honors and Awards

Appointment to NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, 2015

Elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2009

University of California, Distinguished Professor, 2009

NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award, 2008

Elected President, International Society of Autism Research, 2009

Select Recent Publications

Amaral DG, Li D, Libero L, Solomon M, Van de Water J, Mastergeorge A, Naigles L, Rogers S, Nordahl CW. In Pursuit of Neurophenotypes: The Consequences of Having Autism and a Big Brain. Autism Research. 2017.

Chareyron LJ, Amaral DG, Lavenex P. Selective lesion of the hippocampus increases the differentiation of immature neurons in the monkey amygdala. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Dec 13;113(50):14420-14425.

Grayson DS, Bliss-Moreau E, Machado CJ, Bennett J, Shen K, Grant KA, Fair DA, Amaral DG. The Rhesus Monkey Connectome Predicts Disrupted Functional Networks Resulting from Pharmacogenetic Inactivation of the Amygdala. Neuron. 2016 Jul 20;91(2):453-66.

Scott JA, Grayson D, Fletcher E, Lee A, Bauman MD, Schumann CM, Buonocore MH, Amaral DG. Longitudinal analysis of the developing rhesus monkey brain using magnetic resonance imaging: birth to adulthood. Brain Struct Funct. 2016 Jun;221(5):2847-71.

Bakken TE, Miller JA, Luo R, Bernard A, Bennett JL, Lee CK, Bertagnolli D, Parikshak NN, Smith KA, Sunkin SM, Amaral DG, Geschwind DH, Lein ES. Spatiotemporal dynamics of the postnatal developing primate brain transcriptome. Hum Mol Genet. 2015 Aug 1;24(15):4327-39.

Bauman MD, Iosif AM, Smith SE, Bregere C, Amaral DG, Patterson PH. Activation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy alters behavioral development of rhesus monkey offspring. Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Feb 15;75(4):332-41.

West PR, Amaral DG, Bais P, Smith AM, Egnash LA, Ross ME, Palmer JA, Fontaine BR, Conard KR, Corbett BA, Cezar GG, Donley EL, Burrier RE. Metabolomics as a tool for discovery of biomarkers of autism spectrum disorder in the blood plasma of children. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 7;9(11):e112445.

Morgan JT, Barger N, Amaral DG, Schumann CM. Stereological study of amygdala glial populations in adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder. PLoS One. 2014 Oct 17;9(10):e110356.

Johnson RT, Yeatman JD, Wandell BA, Buonocore MH, Amaral DG, Nordahl CW. Diffusion properties of major white matter tracts in young, typically developing children. Neuroimage. 2014 Mar;88:143-54.

Shen MD, Nordahl CW, Young GS, Wootton-Gorges SL, Lee A, Liston SE, Harrington KR, Ozonoff S, Amaral DG. Early brain enlargement and elevated extra-axial fluid in infants who develop autism spectrum disorder. Brain. 2013 Sep;136(Pt 9):2825-35.