Derrick MacFabe- Kilee Patchell Evans Autism Research Group

Message from the Director:

The Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research group was founded at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) following a generous donation from Mr. David Patchell-Evans (President and CEO - GoodLife Fitness Clubs Inc.). From the beginning, the overall mandate was to create a multi-disciplinary research group whose combined efforts would focus on the development of novel research methods in the study of autism spectrum disorders. By assembling a variety of researchers from different backgrounds, we have directed our research efforts towards finding the basic processes involved in the symptomology of autism. We are particularly interested in how metabolic products of the gut microbiome control brain function and behaviour in autism, and also related neuropsychiatric conditions, such as obsessive compulsive, anxiety, movement, eating and learning disorders. We are particularly interested in the role of short fatty acid metabolites of gut bacteria and their role in autism and the development of novel clinical biomarkers to identify and screen for the disorder.

Our published work (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17) concerning the possible role of gut bacterial metabolites in autism has been listed among the top 50 scientific discoveries in Canada by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). With the assistance of Surface Science Western, we are developing a novel brain imaging technique, Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (1, 2, 3, 4) to image potential metabolic markers in neurological disorders.

Autism Enigma trailer from Cogent Benger.

The Autism Group participated in CBC Canada's "The Nature of Things" documentary, "The Autism Enigma", concerning the role of the gut microbiome in autism. Click here for more in depth documentary interviews and discussions. For the ARTE France Version "L'enigme de l'autisme - La piste bactérienne":

Click to view online webinars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) or click here to listen to an online radio interview on the neurobiology of autism spectrum disorders and the potential role of gut bacterial metabolites through a novel rodent model.

The objectives of the group are to :

· Using a multidisciplinary approach understand the workings of the brain areas responsible for the symptoms of autism.
· Develop animal models for autism, necessary for a rational approach to effective treatment.
· Examine the concept of autism as a whole body disorder that affects the brain function and behaviour particularly via immunological, digestive, infective, epigenetic and metabolic factors.
· Develop screening methods to identify infants who would be at risk for autism spectrum disorders and devise treatment strategies to prevent its occurrence or lessen its severity.
· Providing an interface between the medical, governmental and educational management of autism spectrum disorders

The Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group, provides a unique environment to study the basic mechanisms involved in the causes and possible treatments of autism spectrum disorders. A multidisciplinary approach is used which combines the skills of both clinical and basic neuroscientists, involved in the study of brain development and behaviour. Specialists in a variety of research areas such as behavioural neurobiology, genetics, epilepsy, neurotransmitter systems, toxicology, sex hormones, diet, metabolism, immunology and microbiology have collectively combined their various expertises to the study of autism associated impairments in brain development, repetitive, anti-social and addictive behaviour, learning and memory.

Our research group is primarily located at the Department of Psychology (Neuroscience) at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada with major collaborations with Queen’s University (Autism Spectrum Disorders- Canadian American Research Consortium) UCLA (Infectious Disease), University of Arkansas (Pediatric Neurology), University of Guelph (Cellular and Molecular Biology) and University of Calgary. This major undertaking would have been impossible without the initial financial support from Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honour recipient David Patchell Evans, himself the father of an autistic child. The Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group is honoured to bear her name.

Dr. Derrick MacFabe
Director, The Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group


Disclaimer: All information provided or published by the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group website is for informational purposes only. Please be aware that we are  principally a university based research facility and not accepting patients. Scientific information available on this website is from peer reviewed published papers, principally for students, researchers, clinicians and caregivers of persons with autism spectrum and related disorders and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your or your child’s physician. Reference to any treatment or therapy option or to any program, service, or treatment provider is not an endorsement by the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Group of the treatment or therapy option, program, or service referenced. The linking to or from this site to independent outside organizations websites does not imply on the part of  the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group any endorsement or guarantee of any of the organizations or information (including the right to display such information) found on their respective Web sites.

Also from this web page:

News and Announcements

Autism the Fundamental Role of Gut Bacteria: Dr. MacFabe in conversation with Dr. David Perlmutter

Dr. MacFabe receives Mark Bieber Award, American College of Nutrition

Early Research Points to Autism-Microbiome Link

Nobel Forum: How the Digestive System Affects Autism (Huffington Post)

Autism's bacteria link gains credence

New Hope for Autism: Canadian Reasearcher Reports to Sweden's Nobel Forum

U. of British Columbia Public Talks Oct. 8th
"Autism Gets Personal: Emerging therapies from the interface of genes and environments”

International Symposium on the Microbiome in Health and Disease
with a Special Focus on Autism
(click for free webinars)

What's Next in Probiotics for Autism?

Autism Speaks Neuroscience 2013 Spotlight-The Gut-Brain Connection

A miracle cure, not for the squeamish

Researchers probe link between autism and gastrointestinal problems

Researchers discover link between certain types of autism and gut bacteria

Team discovers potential blood test for autistic patients

Autism on the Rise in Canada and U.S.

The Autism Enigma (Full Online Documentary-Canada)

"The Autism Enigma"- CBC "The Nature of Things" documentary to examine the role of gut bacteria in
autism December 8th and 15th, 2011

Poor metabolism of sugars fuels gut woes in autism

Unmasking Autism-Discover Magazine

Research making leaps, bounds in understanding autism: Partners

Studies implicate gut bacteria in autism

There's a complex ecosystem inside your gut

Potential gut bacterial biomarker found in urine of children with autism

Gut bacteria may contribute to Autism

Autism, some say, is all in the gut

Autism gene linked to gut woes

Study raises questions about autism-gut connection

Scientists make gut-brain connection to autism

On the trail of autism

Autism a whole body disorder

Researchers explore the gut-brain connection

What causes autism?