People

Cameron Carter

Dr. Carter is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and directs the Imaging Research Center and the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence in the School of Medicine at UC Davis. Dr. Carter has been conducting basic, clinical and translational research using neuroimaging tools for 25 years.

A. Kimberley McAllister

A. Kimberley McAllister is a Professor of Neurology and NPB and Director of the Center for Neuroscience. She is PI of Project #1 in the Conte Center and is a member of the Conte Center Steering Committee. Dr. McAllister was the leader of the UC Davis RISE pilot Center that led to this Conte Center. Her laboratory studies the role for immune molecules in brain development and disease. She discovered that MHCI molecules are present on neurons in the developing brain, where they negatively regulate the establishment and strength of connections. Her laboratory also discovered that maternal immune activation leads to long-lasting changes in cytokine and MHCI levels in the brains of offspring throughout development. At birth, MIA causes a significant deficit in the ability of cortical neurons to form synapses through a mechanism that requires the MIA-induced changes in neuronal MHCI levels. Thus, the McAllister lab is uniquely suited to perform experiments in this Conte center focused on the progression of neuropathology and immune dysregulation in MIA model systems.

David G. Amaral

Dr. Amaral was trained as a neuroscientist and psychologist. His research involves studies of the structure and function of the hippocampal formation and amygdaloid complex. His training and expertise was initially in neuroanatomy, although for the last 17 years he has also carried out behavioral studies in animal models. Most of these studies have focused on analyses of the “social brain.” As Research Director of the MIND Institute, he has gained expertise in leading multidisciplinary scientific studies such as the Autism Phenome Project which investigates the biological causes and subtypes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He also carries out MRI and postmortem studies of individuals with ASD with particular emphasis on developing early biological markers of ASD.

Melissa Bauman

Dr. Bauman serves as director of the Novel Model System (NMS) Core. Dr. Bauman’s laboratory utilizes preclinical model approaches to evaluate the impact of prenatal immune challenges on brain and behavioral development of offspring. As director of the NMS Core, Dr. Bauman develops and employs novel behavioral phenotyping tools designed to maximize translational potential between animal models and patient populations.

Simon Cherry

Dr. Cherry has 20 years of experience in biomedical imaging, with a particular focus on imaging instrumentation and methods for in vivo molecular imaging. His laboratory developed the highly successful microPET™ scanners for animal imaging and also developed the first systems capable of simultaneous PET/MR imaging. Dr. Cherry will use his extensive expertise in PET methodology to assist with the design, execution and the analysis of the PET imaging studies conducted in animal models during the course of the Project.

Jacqueline Crawley

Dr. Crawley serves as Co-Investigator with Kim McAllister on Project 1. She is an internationally recognized expert in animal behavioral phenotyping, with a current focus on models of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Her laboratory is evaluating the behavioral consequences of maternal immune activation on schizophrenia-relevant behaviors in Dr. McAllister's animal models, including prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle, working memory and social interactions.

Daniel Geschwind

Dr. Geschwind has focused on integrating genetics and genomics with basic neurobiology to develop a more systematic understanding of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative conditions. This includes efforts in the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders involving human higher cognition, such as language, focusing on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) since 2001. Dr. Geschwind has made developing shared scientific resources for genetic research and finding autism risk genes a major priority, and played a leading scientific role in the development of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange. His laboratory has worked to begin to successfully connect genetic risk for disease to brain circuitry and molecular function both in humans, and in vitro and in vivo model systems. One key aspect of the effort has been the application of functional genomics to complex CNS disease, as well as the development and application of new analytic methods that elucidate the underlying network organization in multi-dimensional data.

Ana-Maria Iosif

Dr. Iosif provides Center researchers with statistical expertise, from the conception and design of the study, the implementation of quality control methods, and the development and use of analysis strategies that will achieve estimation and hypothesis testing objectives, through to presentation of results. She consults with Center investigators throughout all phases of their projects from planning to interpretation of results. Finally, she also develops new biostatistical methodology as challenges and opportunities arise as the Center pursues its research goals.

Tyler Lesh

Dr. Lesh is contributing his extensive expertise in the recruitment and clinical and cognitive assessment of patients with first-episode schizophrenia as well as healthy control subjects. He assists Dr. Carter in establishing and maintaining diagnostic reliability, and with interpretation and analysis of cognitive symptoms. He also assists with the preprocessing and analysis of the diffusion-imaging-based free water measures in both human and animal subjects. He also assists in analyses integrating behavioral and cognitive and social measures obtained in both human and animal subjects.

Richard Maddock

Dr. Maddock is a psychiatrist, neuroimager, and clinical neuroscientist who has used MRS, fMRI, cognitive, and clinical methods to study the neurobiology of human behavior and mental health for over 25 years. He has been PI or co-investigator in 18 clinical trials of medications for psychiatric indications, and has a special interest in anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. Dr. Maddock uses his extensive expertise in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to supervise all MRS aspects of Project 4. This includes the development of the protocol, quality control and the analysis of all MRS data.

Julie Rainwater

Dr. Rainwater serves as the Conte Center Evaluation Director. The evaluation unit led by Dr. Rainwater provides evaluation expertise and collaboration for institutional awards, educational training grants, and research grants in the UC Davis School of Medicine and the School of Nursing. Dr. Rainwater directs the evaluation of the Clinical and Translational Science Center and the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. She has two decades of experience designing and conducting rigorous evaluations of research, education and health programs. Dr. Rainwater organizes Center evaluation activities and works with the Center Director on utilizing evaluation findings for strategic planning. She collaborates with each of the Core leaders to define metrics and facilitates the documentation and tracking appropriate to the Cores, Programs, and entire Center.

Cynthia Schumann

Throughout her 15 years of experience in neuroscience and autism research, Dr. Schumann has taken a multidisciplinary approach to investigating potential pathological development in the human brain and specifically in children with autism. Her research primarily addresses the important role that altered brain maturational trajectories may play in the development of autistic neuropathology, using tools such as magnetic resonance imaging of young children with autism and postmortem cellular brain tissue studies. One of her primary areas of research is to define cellular maturation of the human amygdala and temporal cortex from childhood to adulthood in typical development and contrast this with autism. She is a neuroanatomist by training and has developed and published studies using histological and stereological methods to quantify cellular neuropathology, cell/neuron numbers and sizes, immunohistochemistry, and dendritic arborization in human and animal models. She has also published multiple studies utilizing magnetic resonance imaging, including the first longitudinal study of brain development in young children with autism.

Judy Van de Water

Dr. Judy Van de Water, one of the world's most prominent investigators in the field of neuroimmunology, is a key collaborator of several of the investigators in the Conte Center. Dr. Van de Water is a Center Investigator, helping to interpret results from all four projects. Her input is especially important in integrating results across projects with regard to neuroimmune mechanisms and the immune hypothesis of schizophrenia.

Timothy Hanks

Dr. Hanks has 18 years experience studying neural mechanisms of decision making in humans, non-human primates, and rodents. His research uses a combination of behavioral assays, computational modeling, electrophysiology, and optogenetics to better understand neural circuit contributions to decision making and bridging levels of analysis from cellular to behavioral neuroscience.

Martin Styner

Dr. Styner is one of the leading experts in medical image computing with specific expertise in anatomical structure and tissue segmentation, structural brain morphometry, deformable registration, atlas building and diffusion MRI analysis. He applies his research mainly to medical imaging studies of the human, non-human primate, and rodent brain. Dr. Styner has co-authored over 350 papers in peer reviewed journals and conferences. As the director of the UNC Neuro Image Research and Analysis Laboratory and associate director of the Developmental Neuroimaging Core in the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC, he oversees many medical image analysis research projects in a variety of applications. Dr Styner contributes to all aspects of the structural and diffusion MRI image analysis in non-human primates for the UC Davis Conte Center.

Randall O'Reilly

A major, long-term focus of my research has been on the neural mechanisms supporting flexible executive function (EF), using biologically-based computational models that incorporate the learning and processing effects of dopamine on the basal ganglia/frontal cortical networks that support EF. Consistent with our approach focusing on understanding the learning mechanisms that make EF adaptive in novel tasks and situations, we have been incorporating the motivational systems in the ventral & medial frontostriatal areas into our models. This project represents an exciting opportunity to test key predictions from these frameworks using the MIA model, and in patients with Schizophrenia, in order to determine how changes in dopamine and other circuit properties can affect EF function, both directly and indirectly via changes in the motivational systems. Our computational models in turn provide a means for more directly connecting disparate results across multiple species and levels of analysis, to understand the broader implications for human mental disorders.

Shuai Chen

As a biostatistician, my statistical methodological research interests lie in subgroup identification and comparative effectiveness research, survival analysis, causal inference, and cost-effectiveness analysis. I have broad collaborative experience in health-related area such as mental health, chronic diseases, cancer and health services. I have worked with Dr. Iosif and the study PIs on the development of the individual study designs and statistical analysis plans. I bring unique expertise and skills to my role in the Biostatistics Core of the Conte Center. This includes my research experience in design and analysis of mental health related outcomes in both clinical and pre-clinical studies, as well as statistical expertise in subgroup identification analysis to identify important neuroimmune markers including those investigated in Project 1. My expertise in biostatistics plays a key role in the success of the Conte Center through my contribution to research study design (including power analysis and sample size justification), data analysis, interpretation of results, preparation of manuscripts and presentations for the scientific community, as well as planning for future studies.