Laura Hewitson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Laura Hewitson
Born 1969
Birmingham, England
Alma mater University of Essex
University of York
Thesis Energy metabolism of the trophectoderm and inner cell mass of the mouse blastocyst. (1993)

Laura Charlotte Hewitson[1] is a British-born primate researcher noted for her work in the fields of reproductive biology and behavior. She is an Affiliate Scientist at the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC)[2] and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.[2][3] Additionally, she is Research Director of The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development in Austin, TX.[2] From 2002 to 2010 she was an Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine[4] and member of Magee-Women's Research Institute and Foundation (MWRI&F) in Pittsburgh, PA.[4]


Hewitson's research has primarily focused on embryo metabolism, cytoskeletal dynamics, centrosome abnormalities during fertilization, assisted reproductive technology (ART) in non-human primates and infant primate neonatal development.[4] More recently, Hewitson’s research has focused on understanding genetic and environmental influences that lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes, with special emphasis on autism spectrum disorders (ASD).[3][4] Her research has been funded through the National Institutes of Health,[5] as well as private foundations.[3][4][5]

Hewitson’s work has been published in many journals, such as Science, Nature Medicine, Biology of Reproduction, Human Reproduction, Fertility and Sterility, Developmental Psychobiology (journal), Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, Autism Research and Treatment, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, and the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

Hewitson’s work on primate fertilization examined the role of the centrosome during assisted reproduction and identified unique check-points during the first cell cycle.[5] She also explored the safety of new methods of assisted reproduction by producing infant primates by ART to follow their early development and behavior (see Selected Publications).

Hewitson’s more recent research has focused on the study of genetic versus epigenetic (environmental) causes of neurodevelopmental disorders.[3][4] While at the University of Pittsburgh she researched the possible connection between pediatric vaccines and behavior and presented some of this research at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in 2008[6] and the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society (NBTS) meeting in 2011.[7] She is now continuing this research with colleagues at the WaNPRC.[8] Hewitson is also collaborating with colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School to identify blood biomarkers for autism.[2] With funding from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative[9] and the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP),[10] Hewitson and colleagues are screening serum from children with and without autism for specific antibodies, which they hope could lead to improved diagnostic tools enabling earlier intervention and potentially even improved therapies.[11]

Selected publications[edit]

Hewitson, L.C., Leese, H.J. (1993) Energy metabolism of the trophectoderm and inner cell mass of the mouse blastocyst. J Exp Zool. 267:337-343.

Hewitson, L.C., Martin, K.L., Leese, H.J. (1996) Effects of metabolic inhibitors on mouse preimplantation embryo development and the energy metabolism of isolated inner cell masses. Mol Reprod Dev. 43:323-330.

Hewitson, L., Simerly, C., Tengowski, M.W, Sutovsky, P., Navara, C,S., Haavisto, A.J. and Schatten, G. (1996) Microtubule and chromatin configurations during rhesus intracytoplasmic sperm injection: Successes and Failures. Biol. Reprod. 55:271–280.

Hewitson, L., Haavisto A, Simerly C, Jones J and Schatten G (1997) Microtubule organization and chromatin configurations in hamster oocytes during fertilization, parthenogenetic activation and after insemination with human sperm. Biol.Reprod. 57: 967-975.

Hewitson L, Takahashi D, Dominko T, Simerly C, and Schatten G. (1998) Fertilization and embryo development to blastocysts after intracytoplasmic sperm injection in the rhesus monkey. Hum Reprod 13:3449-3455.

Schatten G, Hewitson L, Simerly C, Sutovsky P and Huszar G. (1998) Cell and Molecular Biological Challenges of ICSI: A.R.T. Before Science? J Law Med Ethics 26:29-37.

Hewitson, L, Dominko, T, Takahashi, D, Ramalho-Santos, J, Sutovsky, P, Fanton, J, Jacob, D, Monteith, D, Neuringer, M, Battaglia, D, Simerly, C, and G. Schatten. (1999) Births of ICSI monkeys: unique checkpoints during the first cell cycle of fertilization. Nature Medicine 5:431-433.

Ramalho-Santos, J., Moreno, R.D., Sutovksy, P., Chan, A.Q.., Hewitson, L., Wessel G.M., Simerly C.R., and Schatten, G. (2000) SNAREs in mammalian sperm: possible implications for fertilization. Dev Bio 223:54-69.

Hewitson, L., Martinovich, C., Simerly, C., Takahashi, D., Schatten, G. (2002) Intracytoplasmic injection of rhesus testicular sperm (TESE-ICSI) and elongated spermatids (ELSI) results in healthy offspring. Fertil Steril. 77:794-801.

Simerly, C., Dominko, T., Navara, C., Payne, C., Capuano, S., Gosman, G., Chong, K.Y., Compton, D., Hewitson, L., and Schatten, G. (2000) Molecular Correlates of Primate Nuclear Transfer Failures. Science 300: 297-299.

Dettmer, AM, Houser, LA, Ruppenthal, GC, Capuano, S, Hewitson, L. (2007) Growth and developmental outcomes of three high-risk infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Am J Primatol. 69: 503-518.

Hewitson, L., Lopresti, B., Mason, N.S, Stott, C. and Tomko, J. (2010) Influence of pediatric vaccines on amygdala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study. Acta Neurobiologiae Exp 70: 147-164.

Gadad, B.S., Hewitson, L., Young, K.A. and German, D.C. (2013) Neuropathology and animal models of autism: Genetic and environmental factors. Autism Research and Treatment, in Press.


  1. ^ WorldCat Identities entry for Laura Charlotte Hewitson
  2. ^ a b c d "Laura Hewitson Biography". Johnson Center for Child Health and Development. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gadad BS et al. (September 2013). "Neuropathology and animal models of autism: Genetic and environmental factors". Autism Research and Treatment 2013: 731935. doi:10.1155/2013/731935. PMC 3787615. PMID 24151553. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Laura C. Hewitson, Ph.D.". 
  5. ^ a b c Hewitson L et al. (April 1999). "Unique checkpoints during the first cell cycle of fertilization after intracytoplasmic sperm injection in rhesus monkeys". Nat Med 5 (4): 431–3. doi:10.1038/7430. PMID 10202934. 
  6. ^ Hewitson L et al. (May 2008). "Pediatric vaccines influence primate behavior, and amygdala growth and opioid ligand binding". International Meeting for Autism Research. 
  7. ^ Hewitson L et al. "Discrimination Reversal Learning in Infant Primates Exposed to Low-Dose Thimerosal: A Pilot Study". 
  8. ^ Burbacher T, Grant KS, Worlein J, Ha J, Curnow E, Juul S, Sackett GP (Nov 2, 1013). "Four decades of leading-edge research in the reproductive and developmental sciences: the Infant Primate Research Laboratory at the University of Washington National Primate Research Center". American Journal of Primatology 75 (11): 1063–1083. doi:10.1002/ajp.22175. PMID 23873400. 
  9. ^ "Identification of candidate serum antibody biomarkers in autism". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (DoD CDMRP)". Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Hewitson L (Mar 2013). "Scientific challenges in developing biological markers for autism". Open Access Autism 1 (1): 7. Retrieved Mar 2013.