Division Chief

Division Coordinator
Kira Chaiboonma
(858) 246-1616

The Genetics Division is actively involved in clinical care, research, teaching, and service. The Division sees more than 4,000 patients per year in a variety of clinics, primarily as outpatients at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, but also at UCSD Medical Center, throughout Southern California, and in Mexico. 

The Division has an active inpatient consult service and also sees more than 500 inpatients per year. Faculty members in the Division presently hold more than $6 million in grants and contracts and have published over 50 original articles and chapters within the last two years.



Drug Treatment Corrects Autism Symptoms in Mouse Model

An old drug gives hope for new treatment in autism

Autism results from abnormal cell communication. Testing a new theory, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have used a newly discovered function of an old drug to restore cell communications in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the devastating disorder.

The findings are published in the March 13, 2013 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

“Our (cell danger) theory suggests that autism happens because cells get stuck in a defensive metabolic mode and fail to talk to each other normally, which can interfere with brain development and function,” said Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center at UC San Diego. “We used a class of drugs that has been around for almost a century to treat other diseases to block the ‘danger’ signal in a mouse model, allowing cells to return to normal metabolism and restore cell communication.” Robert Naviaux, M.D., Ph.D.  is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics In Residence.