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laurahewitsonLaura Hewitson, PhD is the 2010 recipient of the Invisible Disabilities Association Research Honors Award. Dr Hewitson was chosen based upon her extensive autism research and for being passionate in discovering the possible relationship between pediatric vaccines and autism while serving as Director of Research for Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, TX.

Dr. Hewitson graduated with honors in Biology from the University of Essex, UK in 1990, earned her PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of York, UK. In 2002, shortly after her oldest son was diagnosed with autism, Dr. Hewitson spearheaded a research program at the University of Pittsburgh to develop a non-human primate model for studying the cumulative effects of thimerosal-containing vaccines on infant development. In 2008 she joined Thoughtful House in Austin, TX as a Staff  Scientist in order to further develop these studies. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers, invited reviews, and book chapters during her fifteen-year career as a researcher, and has presented at many national and international  conferences.