Scientific Advisory Board

James Adams, PhD is a 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.

Richard Frye, MD, PhD is a 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.

Sarkis K Mazmanian, PhD is the Luis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology in the Division of Biology & Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, where Dr. Mazmanian also received his PhD training in microbiology and immunology. He was a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow and subsequently appointed assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in 2006, and later that year moved to Caltech. Dr. Mazmanian has won 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 a specific focus on developing probiotic treatments for autism. He is a founder of 2 biotech companies, and has or currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of over a dozen companies, academic centers and not-for-profit foundations.

Paul Ashwood, PhD is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the MIND Institute, University of California, 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. Much of his current work is directed at characterizing the role of the immune system in autism and attempting to unravel the highly complex interconnections between the immune and central nervous systems. Ashwood is interested in exploring whether the health of one system is integral to the healthy development of the other. 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 is a world-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist, research scientist and entrepreneur. He is the chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and 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 treats infants and children who have 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. Under his leadership, investigators are studying the molecular mechanisms of autoimmune disorders including celiac disease, and other-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 is the Executive Director of the Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and is Professor of Biomedical Science in the FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and holds the David J.S. Nicholson Distinguished Professorship in Neuroscience. Dr. Blakely is well-known for his identification of genes encoding rodent and human neurotransmitter transporters, has been continuously funded by the NIH for more than 30 years, receiving a MERIT Award from the NIMH. He has authored over 340 research papers and reviews, including studies that have sought to understand the impact of altered serotonin and dopamine signaling to autism and ADHD using genetic mouse models. He is an elected member of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Inventors, and has trained more than 80 graduate, medical and postdoctoral scientists, serving currently as the Director of the FAU Neuroscience Graduate Program.