S. Jill James
Dr. S. Jill James is a pioneer in the biochemistry of autism as well as other diseases. She was one of the first to document and publish that children with autism exhibited biochemical abnormalities related to core features of metabolism that were not directly explained by a child's genetics. This revolutionary insight laid the foundation for two important concepts that now form the basis of much of the most promising, emerging research in autism:
That autism is not simply a neuro-developmental disease but additionally a syndrome involving cellular metabolism
That genetics alone does not explain many of the physiological biochemical abnormalities frequently observed in autism
For over a decade Dr. James has been on the forefront of investigating biochemical anomolies and metabolic biomarkers of autism. Specifically, she and her team have found in three independent case-control studies that plasma levels of metabolites important for detoxification and antioxidant capacity are significantly decreased in the children with autism relative to age-matched controls. This decrease in antioxidant/detoxification capacity was associated with evidence of oxidative DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in immune cells suggesting that children with autism may be more vulnerable to environmental factors that increase oxidative stress. More recently, she and her team have investigated brain tissues derived from individuals with autism and have found similar deficits in antioxidant capacity and evidence of brain inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction in the autistic brain compared to unaffected control brain tissues.
Dr. James’ work also encompasses cutting edge research into metabolic control of the “epigenetic” regulation of gene expression in immune cells and brain cells in autism that may provide mechanistic insights into immunologic and neurologic abnormalities in autism. These discoveries in the laboratory have provided the scientific rationale for intervention treatment trials targeted at improving metabolic balance as well as behavioral symptoms in the children. Her interest also extends to mothers of children with autism who exhibit similar metabolic abnormalities.
"I am fortunate to love what I do. My respect and admiration for the parents of these children fuels my passion to find answers for them. John Rodakis and N of One understand the important issues and are a great resource for both researchers and parents"
Dr. James currently serves as Professor of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/College of Medicine/Department of Pediatrics &
Director of the ACHRI Autism Metabolic Genomics Laboratory