Dr. Cecilia Giulivi, MS Biochemistry, PHD Biochemistry

Cecilia Giulivi

Position Title
Professor, Director of the Redox Biology Lab

  • Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine
  • MIND Institute
3017 VetMed3B
School of Veterinary Medicine, 1089 Veterinary Medicine Dr., Davis CA 95616

Profile Introduction

Dr. Giulivi’s expertise is in the area of mitochondria, bioenergetics and free radical biochemistry. This is reflected in >120 publications with more than 7,000 citations in peer-reviewed journals in the chemistry-biochemistry field of mitochondria and free radicals. She has worked on mitochondrial biochemistry since her undergraduate years, and more recently, her focus is on the impact of intermediary metabolism in neurobiology and dietary deficiencies (thiamine), neurodegeneration and neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders (autism, Huntington’s, fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome). The effect of gene x environment interaction in autism was explored by using as a model a flame retardant (BDE-49), in which we reported that this additive effect causes a direct disruption of the mitochondrial function at low nM concentrations, further compounded by a genetic background exhibiting a subclinical mitochondrial dysfunction. The study of metabolism in these models is accomplished through the use of a variety of biological models (isolated mitochondria, primary cell culture, established cell cultures, animal models including conditional knock-in and transgenic, human patients’ samples) and using state-of-the art technology (metabolomics, bioinformatics, mitochondrial bioenergetics). Dr. Giulivi has trained a variety of students during the last 20 years, spanning from high-school students (summer internships), undergraduates and graduates to postdoctoral fellows.

Research Interests

Understanding the mitochondrial mechanisms underlying pathophysiology

We explore the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial biology in different pathophysiological cases including autism, schizophrenia, Huntington's and fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Forensic Science
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular Responses to Toxins and Stress
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Human Genetics and Genomics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Physiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Organelle and Membrane Biology


  • VetMed VM401 Basic Foundations, Fall
  • VetMed VM405 GI and Metabolism
  • VetMed VM415 Clinical Foundations
  • PMI 201 Integrative Pathobiology Core I, Winter


  • Giulivi's laboratory
    • Eleonora Napoli, Ilaria Marsilio, Nikita Shankar, Sarah Rose, and Thu Q. Nguyen

Honors and Awards

  • 2010 Autism Science Top 10 Achievement for 2010, for groundbreaking work on identifying mitochondrial dysfunction in autistic children.
  • 2011 NIEHS selected as one of the papers of the year (12/2011; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1706).
  • 2012 NIEHS paper of the month (9/2012; PMID: 3416855).

    Professional Societies

    • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    • Society for Free Radical Research


    • 1989 PhD Biochemistry University of Buenos Aires
    • 1985 Diploma Biochemistry University of Buenos Aires

    Publications (selected from 2016 until present)

    1.    Henley, R., V. Chandrasekaran, and C. Giulivi, Computing neurite outgrowth and arborization in superior cervical ganglion neurons. Brain Res Bull, 2019. 144: p. 194-199.
    2.    Napoli, E., et al., Beyond autophagy: a novel role for autism-linked Wdfy3 in brain mitophagy. Sci Rep, 2018. 8(1): p. 11348.
    3.    Napoli, E., et al., Allopregnanolone Treatment Improves Plasma Metabolomic Profile Associated with GABA Metabolism in Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome: a Pilot Study. Mol Neurobiol, 2018.
    4.    Napoli, E., et al., Impact of FMR1 Premutation on Neurobehavior and Bioenergetics in Young Monozygotic Twins. Front Genet, 2018. 9(338): p. 338.
    5.    Hung, C., et al., Adipose depot-specific effects of ileal interposition surgery in UCD-T2D rats: unexpected implications for obesity and diabetes. Biochem J, 2018. 475(3): p. 649-662.
    6.    Hertz-Picciotto, I., et al., A Prospective Study of Environmental Exposures and Early Biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Design, Protocols, and Preliminary Data from the MARBLES Study. Environ Health Perspect, 2018. 126(11): p. 117004.
    7.    Faure, M., et al., Metformin in Reproductive Biology. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 2018. 9: p. 675.
    8.    Wang, J.Y., et al., Open-Label Allopregnanolone Treatment of Men with Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome. Neurotherapeutics, 2017. 14(4): p. 1073-1083.
    9.    Napoli, E., et al., Zdhhc13-dependent Drp1 S-palmitoylation impacts brain bioenergetics, anxiety, coordination and motor skills. Sci Rep, 2017. 7(1): p. 12796.
    10.    Napoli, E., et al., Lipid-based DNA/siRNA transfection agents disrupt neuronal bioenergetics and mitophagy. Biochem J, 2017. 474(23): p. 3887-3902.
    11.    Caputi, V., et al., Toll-Like Receptor 4 Modulates Small Intestine Neuromuscular Function through Nitrergic and Purinergic Pathways. Front Pharmacol, 2017. 8: p. 350.
    12.    Byndloss, M.X., et al., Microbiota-activated PPAR-gamma signaling inhibits dysbiotic Enterobacteriaceae expansion. Science, 2017. 357(6351): p. 570-575.
    13.    Wong, S., S. Rose, and C. Giulivi, Mitochondrial DNA damage in autism, in Biochemistry of oxidative stress: Physiopathology and clinical aspects, R.j. Gelpi, Poderoso, JJ, and Boveris, A., Editor. 2016, Springer Berlin Heidelberg: New York, NY. p. 327-343.
    14.    Wong, S., et al., Role of p53, Mitochondrial DNA Deletions, and Paternal Age in Autism: A Case-Control Study. Pediatrics, 2016. 137(4).
    15.    Wong, S. and C. Giulivi, Autism, Mitochondria and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Exposure. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets, 2016. 15(5): p. 614-23.
    16.    Song, G., et al., Altered redox mitochondrial biology in the neurodegenerative disorder fragile X-tremor/ataxia syndrome: use of antioxidants in precision medicine. Mol Med, 2016. 22.
    17.    Napoli, E., et al., Altered Bioenergetics in Primary Dermal Fibroblasts from Adult Carriers of the FMR1 Premutation Before the Onset of the Neurodegenerative Disease Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome. Cerebellum, 2016. 15(5): p. 552-64.
    18.    Napoli, E., et al., Warburg effect linked to cognitive-executive deficits in FMR1 premutation. FASEB J, 2016. 30(10): p. 3334-3351.
    19.    Napoli, E., et al., Premutation in the Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 (FMR1) Gene Affects Maternal Zn-milk and Perinatal Brain Bioenergetics and Scaffolding. Front Neurosci, 2016. 10: p. 159.
    20.    Giulivi, C., et al., Plasma metabolic profile delineates roles for neurodegeneration, pro-inflammatory damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in the FMR1 premutation. Biochem J, 2016. 473(21): p. 3871-3888.
    21.    Giulivi, C., et al., Plasma Biomarkers for Monitoring Brain Pathophysiology in FMR1 Premutation Carriers. Front Mol Neurosci, 2016. 9: p. 71.
    22.    Conca Dioguardi, C., et al., Granulosa cell and oocyte mitochondrial abnormalities in a mouse model of fragile X primary ovarian insufficiency. Mol Hum Reprod, 2016. 22(6): p. 384-96.