Christopher J. Stodgell, Ph.D.

Christopher J. Stodgell, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 668
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-1902
Administrative: (585) 275-5734
Lab: (585) 273-2111
Fax: (585) 244-2209

Research Bio

The goal of my research is to understand the environmental and genetic etiologies of developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders. Through collaborations with other programs interested in the genetics of autism, we have studied how specific candidate genes are related to autism spectrum disorders. Recently, Dr. Loisa Bennetto, a developmental neuropsychologist here at the University of Rochester, and I were awarded a grant from NIH to study how familial and heritable chemosensory (taste & smell) traits are in families with autism. Problems around feeding behavior are of major concern to families who have children with autism, thus understanding the basic neurobiology chemosensory behavioral and how genetic factors affect these traits can be important for developing new therapies and behaivoral strategies to help treat those with autism.

Another area of autism research that I actively pursuing is investigating how early embryonic exposures known to cause autism affects developmental gene expression. To model these affects, we are using the potent neuroteratogen, valproic acid (Depakote). Valproic acid is used clinically for the treatment of seizures, mania associated with bipolar disorder, migraines, and cancer. In humans, in utero exposure is associated with an increased risk for autism. Early embryonic exposure in rats, results in similar behavioral profiles and neuroanatomical deficits seen in human cases of autism. Thus, this makes valproic acid a useful tool to study the gene-environment interaction which may be critical to causing some cases of autism. Within an hour after exposure, we can measure changes in embryonic gene expression. By determining these alterations, we will be better able to understand the molecular pathways that are altered in autism.

In another study of gene-environment interaction in autism, we are focusing on populations of cases of autism that have known environmental exposures. These include fetal exposures to valproic acid, and another drug linked to autism, misoprostol. By studying the sequences of candidate genes from cases that have known exposures and autism, to those who were exposed with the disorder, we hope to identify genetic features that may increase ones susceptibility to autism.

A third area of research is investigating the teratogenic impact of uncontrolled type-II diabetes. Using rats who have been specifically bred to develop type-II diabetes, or who are resistant to the disorder, we are interested in how embryonic gene expression is different between the embryos with neurotube defects and intra-uterine growth restriction and those who appear to be developing normally.

Finally, we are also investigating the gene-environment interactions that may have an etiology in vulvar vestibulitis, a women's health condition that results in severe chronic pain of the vulva. Estimated to affect 13-15% of women, there are strong indication that genetics plays an important role in the disorder, in that women with fair, light complexions have a greater risk of developing the disorder. We have been investigating the role of genes involved in skin pigmentation and inflammation to the disorders, and identified polymorphic variants which increases the risk of diagnosis.

Awards & Honors (National)

NIH Loan Repayment Program | National Institutes of Health 2003 - 2008
Wilson Publication Award for Outstanding Publication | Teratology Society 2001
Roland D. Ciaranello M.D. Award for Research in Basic Research | National Alliance for Autism Research 1999
James G. Wilson Award in Teratology for Outstanding Postdoctoral Research | Teratology Society 1998
National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders Young Investigator Award | NARSAD 1997


Genetic Polymorphisms Which Are Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders

United States Serial NO.: 09/095,117
Filed Date: June 10, 1998
Title: Genetic Polymorphisms Which are Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Invented by: Patricia Rodier, Jennifer Ingram-Ross, Denise Figlewicz, Susan Hyman, Christopher Stodgell
Genetic Polymorphisms Which Are Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders

United States Serial NO.: 09/850,258
Filed Date: May 7, 2001
Title: Genetic Polymorphisms which are Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Invented by: Patricia Rodier, Jennifer Ingram-Ross, Denise Figlewicz, Susan Hyman, Christopher Stodgell

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 35 available »

2016 Jun
McAleavey SA, Parker KJ, Ormachea J, Wood RW, Stodgell CJ, Katzman PJ, Pressman EK, Miller RK. "Shear Wave Elastography in the Living, Perfused, Post-Delivery Placenta." Ultrasound in medicine & biology. 2016 Jun; 42(6):1282-8. Epub 2016 Mar 19.
2015 Jul
Falsetta ML, Foster DC, Woeller CF, Pollock SJ, Bonham AD, Haidaris CG, Stodgell CJ, Phipps RP. "Identification of novel mechanisms involved in generating localized vulvodynia pain." American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. 2015 Jul; 213(1):38.e1-12. Epub 2015 Feb 12.
2015 Mar
Foster DC, Falsetta ML, Woeller CF, Pollock SJ, Song K, Bonham A, Haidaris CG, Stodgell CJ, Messing SP, Iadarola M, Phipps RP. "Site-specific mesenchymal control of inflammatory pain to yeast challenge in vulvodynia-afflicted and pain-free women." Pain. 2015 Mar; 156(3):386-96.
Li Q, Kappil MA, Li A, Dassanayake PS, Darrah TH, Friedman AE, Friedman M, Lambertini L, Landrigan P, Stodgell CJ, Xia Y, Nanes JA, Aagaard KM, Schadt EE, Murray JC, Clark EB, Dole N, Culhane J, Swanson J, Varner M, Moye J, Kasten C, Miller RK, Chen J. "Exploring the associations between microRNA expression profiles and environmental pollutants in human placenta from the National Children's Study (NCS)." Epigenetics. 2015 10(9):793-802. Epub 2015 Aug 07.
2014 Jul
Nanes JA, Xia Y, Dassanayake RM, Jones RM, Li A, Stodgell CJ, Walker CK, Szabo S, Leuthner S, Durkin MS, Moye J, Miller RK, . "Selected persistent organic pollutants in human placental tissue from the United States." Chemosphere. 2014 Jul; 106:20-7. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Current Appointments

Research Associate Professor - Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Pharmacology | University of Kansas1996
MS | Pharmacology | University of Kansas1995
BA | Arts & Sciences | University of Kansas1989

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

NIEHS Postdoctoral Trainee Department of Environmental Medicine University of Rochester School of Medicine 1997