BRAIN Foundation Scientific Advisory Board
Richard Frye, MD, PhD
Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Child Neurologist with expertise in neurodevelopmental and neurometabolic disorders. He received an MD and PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University and completed his Child Neurology Residency and Fellowship in Behavioral Neurology and Learning Disabilities at Harvard University/ Children’s Hospital Boston. He has authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and serves on several editorial boards. He has conducted several clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of safe and novel treatments that target underlying physiological abnormalities in children with ASD. He is the Chief of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
James Adams, PhD
Arizona State University
President’s Professor at Arizona State University, where he directs the autism/Asperger’s research program, though he originally taught chemical and materials engineering there. He is also the president of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, the co-chair of the Autism Research Institute’s scientific advisory committee, and has received the Autism Service Award from the Greater Phoenix chapter of the Autism Society of America. He has been featured on Dateline NBC and received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award from President George Bush.
Sarkis Mazmanian, PhD
California Institute of Technology
Luis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology in the Division of Biology & Biological Engineering at Caltech. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the UCLA, where he also received his PhD training in microbiology and immunology. He was a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoc Fellow, subsequently appointed assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. A recipient of numerous awards including a Searle Scholar, Young Investigator of the Year at Harvard Medical School, Damon Runyon Innovation Award, was named by Discover Magazine as one of the “Best Brains in Science under 40”, “Life Science Superstar” by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, and recently received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” award. His laboratory focuses on the study of beneficial bacterial molecules from the human gut microbiome as novel therapies for immunologic and neurologic disorders, with focus on developing probiotic treatments for autism. A founder of 2 biotech companies and Scientific Advisory Board member of over a dozen companies, academic centers and not-for-profit foundations.
Paul Ashwood, PhD
MIND Institute, UC Davis
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the MIND Institute, UC Davis. Fifteen years ago autism was considered a rare condition and was rarely diagnosed before the age of 3 years. However, the last decade has seen a dramatic rise in the number of children diagnosed with autism. The etiology of autism is unknown in the majority of cases and most likely involves a complex interplay of both genetic and environmental factors. Among these factors, differences in immune genetics and immune function have consistently been reported in autism. Dr Ashwood’s laboratory has developed a primary focus on understanding the immunological underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, Fragile X syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, schizophrenia and mood disorders, and attempting to unravel the highly complex interconnections between the immune and central nervous systems. Ashwood’s original research in his native England involved identification of a new variant of inflammatory bowel disease found in some cases of autism.
Alessio Fasano, MD
MassGeneral Hospital for Children
World-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist, research scientist and entrepreneur Dr. Alessio Fasano is chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at MGHfC. He directs the Center for Celiac Research, specializing in the treatment of patients of all ages with gluten-related disorders, including celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten sensitivity. He treats patients with acute and chronic diarrheal diseases and difficult-to-treat gastrointestinal problems. Dr. Fasano also directs the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center and is associate chief for Basic, Clinical and Translational Research, leading investigations into the molecular mechanisms of autoimmune disorders including gluten-related disorders. He has been named visiting professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He authored the groundbreaking study in 2003 that established the rate of celiac disease at one in 133 Americans. Widely sought after by national and international media, Dr. Fasano has been featured in hundreds of interviews including outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal; National Public Radio; CNN; Bloomberg News, and others.
Randy Blakely, PhD
Florida Atlantic University
Dr. Randy Blakely holds the David J. S. Nicholson Distinguished Professorship in Neuroscience and is Professor of Biomedical Science in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University and the founding Executive Director of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute. He also serves as the Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at FAU. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Blakely’s research has elucidated the structure, regulation, pharmacology and pathophysiology of neurotransmitter transporter proteins and has applied these discoveries to gain insights into neuromuscular, cardiovascular, cognitive, behavioral, disorders, including autism. Dr. Blakely’s discoveries have resulted in more than a dozen patents, leading to his induction into the National Academy of Inventors. He is also an elected member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). Dr. Blakely has received numerous awards for his research and mentorship, including the ASPET Astellas Award and Julius Axelrod Prize, two Distinguished Investigator Awards from the Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation (BBRF), a Zenith Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, and a MERIT Award from the NIH.