The team:

Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD (Biosketch)

Dr. Naviaux 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 (MMS), 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. His 2013 paper reporting preclinical studies on the role of purinergic signaling and the cell danger response in autism was ranked the #1 most-viewed report of 2013 on the Simons Foundation autism web site. 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.

  • Jane C. Naviaux, MD, PhD

    Staff Research Associate, 2011 - Present

    Clinical trial coordination, mass spectrometry and
    metabolomics, mouse models of complex disease

  • Thuy Le, PhD

    Biochemist, Enzymologist & Project Scientist, 1994 - Present

    Mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymology, subcellular
    fractionation, stem cell biology and metabolism

  • Lin Wang, MD, PhD

    Lab Manager and Research Associate, 2009 - Present

    Molecular and cellular analysis of complex disease, C. elegans
    models of environmental impacts on metabolism, health, development, and aging

  • Khue Nguyen, PhD

    Molecular Biologist and Project Scientist, 1999 - Present

    Lesch-Nyhan disease genetics, Alpers
    and POLG genetics

  • Kefeng Li, PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012 - Present

    Mass spectrometry and metabolomics, environmental
    monitoring and toxicomics

  • A. Taylor Bright, PhD

    Bioinformatics Specialist, 2014 - 2016

    Clinical trial data analysis, computational models, expert
    systems, and metabolomic data visualization and analysis