Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Radiology
Wayne State University
Dr. Chugani obtained a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1986. She received postdoctoral training in Biological Chemistry at UCLA in the laboratory of Dr. Leonard Rome, where she studied in the interaction of the vault particle with the nuclear pore complex. Dr. Chugani then joined the faculty at UCLA in the Departments Pharmacology and Radiology, where she continued studies of vaults in microglial cells in the brain.
In 1993, Dr. Chugani moved to Detroit to become the pharmacologist for the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Center at Children's Hospital of Michigan. She is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Radiology at Wayne State University and Children's Hospital of Michigan. The aim of Dr. Chugani's laboratory is to discover mechanisms involved in the autistic spectrum of disorders and to design and test new treatments based upon the research findings. A combination of approaches is employed and includes imaging studies (PET and MRI), genetic studies and pharmacological studies. PET studies of serotonin synthesis in children with autism of unknown etiology (NICHD) and in children with tuberous sclerosis complex (NINDS) are currently funded by NIH.
Dr. Chugani serves as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Sturge-Weber Foundation and serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of The Autism Society of America, The Cure Autism Now (CAN) Foundation, and the National Tuberous Sclerosis Association. Dr. Chugani is also a member of the Brain Disorders and Clinical Neuroscience (BDCN-2) Study Section of the National Institutes of Health.