Presented by Robert Naviaux, PhD at the Fall 2012 Autism Research Institute Conference

The pace of change in the human ecosystem has accelerated rapidly in the past 30 years. These changes not only affect human health, but the health of plants and animals that share the environment with us. Nine keystone vertebrate, invertebrate and plant species have experienced extinctions or population crashes since the 1980s, and opportunistic human infections are on the rise. These crashes and infections can be traced to changes in metabolism that underlie epigenetics, innate, and adaptive immunity. Epigenetic and immunologic ripple effects have led to new Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndromes (AIDS) in plants and animals, and Acquired Autoimmune Disorders (AAIDS) in humans and domesticated animals. Autism is one of nearly a dozen new, neuroimmune and metabolic spectrum disorders (NIMS) that have emerged as a consequence of these new combinations of environmental factors that have never before been encountered by the human genome. This talk will showcase examples of AIDS, AAIDS, and NIMS that teach us about the unintended, and often-invisible environmental changes caused by human technological progress, and how these changes can be measured and managed systematically.

Published: 12/07/2012

Dr. Naviaux is Professor of Genetics in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He is the founder and co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center (MM.D.C) at UCSD. He is the cofounder, and former President of the Mitochondrial Medicine Society (MMS). Dr. Naviaux is the discoverer of the genetic basis of the oldest Mendelian form of mitochondrial disease, Alpers Syndrome; his research spans 30 years and embraces the fields of genetics, virology, cancer immunology, mitochondrial medicine, neuroscience, development, metabolism, marine metagenomics, and evolutionary systems dynamics.