Dr. Naviaux is internationally known for his expertise in human genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, metabolomics, and mitochondrial diseases. He discovered the cause and created the diagnostic test for Alpers syndrome, a classical form of mitochondrial disease. He has expertise in virology and molecular and cellular biology. Dr. Naviaux also works in oceanographic ecosystems research and is the director of the first FDA-approved clinical trial to study suramin as a treatment for autism. He was trained at the NIH in tumor immunology and natural killer cell biology, and he trained at the Salk Institute in virology and gene therapy.
Dr. Naviaux runs the Robert Naviaux Laboratory at UC San Diego, which is doing genetic research into mitochondrial dysfunctions. He is founder and co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center at UCSD, the co-founder and a former president of the Mitochondrial Medicine Society, and a founding associate editor of the journal Mitochondrion. He studied biochemistry at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany.