Free public programs
MJC West Campus
7:30 pm–
Sierra Hall 132

Spring 2014

March 21:  “Immune Activation in Autism”

Dr. Judy Van de Water from UC Davis will discuss potential risk factors such as the presence of antibodies in mothers that could be contributing to the incidence and severity of childhood autism.

Dr. Judy Van de Water from UC Davis will discuss potential risk factors such as the presence of certain antibodies in mothers that could be contributing to the incidence and severity of childhood autism.

Dr. Van de Water joined the faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of California, Davis in 1999.  In 2000, she also joined the faculty of the newly formed UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute when she began her research on the immunobiology of autism.  Dr. Van de Water’s laboratory pursues research programs pertaining to autoimmune and clinical immune-based disorders including the biological aspects of autism spectrum disorders.  The application of Dr. Van de Water’s immunopathology background has been instrumental in the dissection of the immune anomalies noted in some individuals with autism, and in the differentiation of various autism behavioral phenotypes at a biological level.  Dr. Van de Water is currently the Director of the NIEHS funded Center for Children’s Environmental Health at UC Davis, investigating potential environmental risk factors contributing to the incidence and severity of childhood autism. Dr. Van de Water holds both a B.S. in Biologic Sciences, and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of California at Davis.

Maternal immune dysregulation during gestation has been described as a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Such dysregulation can be manifest as inflammation or cytokine dysregulation, as well as maternal autoantibodies that recognize proteins in the developing. We have identified fetal-brain reactive maternal IgG antibodies in 23% subset of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and an association between presence of these antibodies and severe behavioral manifestations. Fetal exposure during gestation to brain-reactive maternal IgG may be the underlying cause of the behavioral symptoms noted in some ASD cases and unraveling the molecular interactions between these antibodies and their targets may open new avenues for treatment and prevention. This presentation will address how those autoantibodies were identified, and how they can be used as an early biomarker to detect autism risk.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 


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