Robert Naviaux MD, PhD
Robert Naviaux MD, PhD, is a Professor of Genetics, in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology. He directs a core laboratory for metabolomics at UCSD. He is the co-founder and a former president of the Mitochondrial Medicine Society, and a founding associate editor of the journal Mitochondrion. He is an internationally known expert in human genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, metabolomics, and mitochondrial medicine. He is the discoverer of the cause of Alpers syndrome—the oldest Mendelian form of mitochondrial disease – and the developer of the first DNA test to diagnose it.
Dr.Naviaux’s lab has developed a number of advanced technologies like biocavity laser spectroscopy and mtDNA mutation detection by mass spectrometry. He is a Salk-trained virologist, and molecular and cell biologist, the inventor of the popular pCL retroviral gene transfer vectors, and was trained at NIH in tumor immunology and natural killer cell biology. He studied biochemistry at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany. He has been the PI for over 20 IRB-approved human subjects protocols at UCSD since 1995.
In 2010, Dr. Naviaux was a member of the Cal-Echoes oceanographic expedition to collect environmental and ecosystem data along the California coast. His work in ecosystem dynamics has guided new work in microbiome ecology and metabolism in autism spectrum disorders. In 2011, he received a Trailblazer Award from Autism Speaks. He is currently the director of the first FDA-approved clinical trial to study the safety and test the effects of suramin on behavior and language in children with autism.
BRAIN Funded Projects
Investigating Chemical Exposures and Crosstalk between the Metabolome and Exposome in Autism
Recent & Selected Publications
Zolkipli-Cunningham Z, Naviaux JC, Nakayama T, et al. Metabolic and behavioral features of acute hyperpurinergia and the maternal immune activation mouse model of autism spectrum disorder. PLoS One. 2021;16(3):e0248771. Published 2021 Mar 18. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0248771
Naviaux RK. Antipurinergic therapy for autism-An in-depth review. Mitochondrion. 2018;43:1-15. doi:10.1016/j.mito.2017.12.007
Naviaux RK, Curtis B, Li K, et al. Low-dose suramin in autism spectrum disorder: a small, phase I/II, randomized clinical trial. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2017;4(7):491-505. Published 2017 May 26. doi:10.1002/acn3.424
BRAIN Synchrony Symposia presentations
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