Spring 2023 | Issue 14


The UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center invites applications for seed funding. This opportunity is intended for feasibility studies or new interdisciplinary collaborations with strong potential to lead to a funded submission for NIEHS or other grant awards. This grant is open to all UC Davis researchers. Center members may request up to $10,000 and non-members may request up to $6,000.

Apply on InfoReady by May 8,2023


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A few months ago, Atmospheric Rivers would have sounded like the title of a Climate Change-inspired novel or flick in the science fiction genre. Now it’s just another addition to our vocabulary of weather patterns (--better or worse than oobleck?). What does it mean for Californians who have lived through decades of mostly drought years? 

Quite clearly, the lesson is that the past is not a good guide for the future. We’re living through a serious inflection point of earth’s climate and whatever truths we have taken for granted are no longer reliable. It may make us uneasy, it may trigger anxiety, and feel threatening. Mostly, it should be the signal that initiates a closer look at our drainage systems, our levees, and everything to do with water policy. 

For decades, the project of reviewing or renovating the large number of aging key levees in California has been in slow motion. It’s high time to make ‘now’ the inflection point for decisive, pro-active policy and implementation based on putting the lives, safety, health and well-being of people first.

-Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD.


Community-Engaged Research on World Water Day

Dr. Jasquelin Peña collaborates with community groups and residents to test water quality in fire-scorched and low-income communities.

“I love developing tools so that individuals have the opportunity to become engaged, to interact with their water and think of their water from a quality and livelihood point of view. I think World Water Day is a great way to build awareness, empower people and catalyze change.”

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International Women in Science Day Q&A

The UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center celebrated International Women and Girls In Science Day by sitting down with several of four members to ask them about their experience as women in the STEM field and what advice they would give to the next generation.

Article Link

Black History Month: Environmental Scientists Edition

For Black History Month, we featured a few of the Black and African-American scientists and researchers who have propelled the field of Environmental Health Sciences forward. Read about Dr. Beverly Wright, Dr. Robert Bullard, Marjorie Richard,Hattie Carthan, Wangari Maathai, George Washington Carver, Hazel Johnson, and W.E.B. Dubois.

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Broadcast Premiere of Dignidad

Our new documentary Dignidad: California Domestic Workers’ Journey for tells the story of today’s domestic workers who are risking it all to support their families while fighting for their rights on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, Dignidad had its PBS premiere and continues to be available on PBS Online. In March, NIEHS profiled the film -- and it's screening at San Francisco's Brava Theater -- in the PEPH Newsletter.


Science Seminar

May 18, 2023 | 12 pm - 1 pm

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds We Once Thought Were Benign Inhibit Mitochondria and Cause Lung Toxicity in Mice

Dr. Gino Cortopassi, Professor of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine

Event Info

Aims Review

May 8, 2023 | 12 pm - 1 pm

To participate in an Aims Review, fill out this submission form Pl and email your aims page to Ruth Williams, by noon on the Friday before

Event Info


We are delighted to congratulate 2023-24 Pilot Awardees & EHS Scholar

Sean Burgess and Bruce Draper

Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences

GloNad: A Novel Assay for Reproductive Toxicants Using Zebrafish

Erkin Şeker

Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

Cortical Tri Culture Platform for Environmental Neurotoxin Screening

Leigh Ann Simmons and Clare Cannon

Human Ecology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Effects of Climate Change and Dietary Quality on Maternal-Infant Health Outcomes in the GROWell Trial

Nicholas Spada and Bart Ostro

Air Quality Research Center

Mobile Source Monitoring Support for Environmental Justice Communities

Allison Ehrlich

Environmental Toxicology, School of Veterinary Medicine

Environmental Health Sciences Scholar

Read More About 2023-2024 Pilot Awardees


COVID-19 Research

As a part of our DR2 COVID-19 Workers Study – which focused on the pandemic’s effect on workers – we collaborated with two organizations to develop targeted surveys. One of our partners, California Domestic Workers Coalition (CDWC), helped us design and distribute a survey focusing on domestic workers. One of our findings is that domestic workers suffered 3x the risk of getting COVID-19 compared to the general population in California. You can read the report that we wrote for CDWC here. Our other partner – Service Employees International Union–United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) helped us design and distribute a survey focusing on healthcare workers. Among other things, we found that healthcare workers’ risk for COVID-19 diagnosis was 6X higher than that of the general population in California.


Crystal Rogers, Assistant professor of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology in the School of Veterinary Medicine, and 2020 EHSC Pilot Recipient received an R03 grant to study Mechanisms of microtubule-mediated cranial neural crest EMT and differentiation. Prof. Rogers' graduate student, Camilo Echeverria, received NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to further study the role of TUBB3 in early development of CNS and PNS. Two months ago, Prof. Rogers was interviewed on the nature of "life" on NPR's Short Wave.

Read more here

Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, was named one of Research.com Best Female Scientists in the World for 2022. Hertz-Picciotto joins four other UC Davis Health faculty members in this prestigious honor.

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Public Health Sciences Associate Professor and Environmental Health Sciences Center Co-Director of Integrated Health Sciences Core, Rebecca Schmidt, Ph.D. has been awarded a $1.35 million grant to study the impact of wildfire smoke on pregnancy, health, and fetal developmental delays. “It’s important to find out what the real concerns during pregnancy may be — including perhaps at what times during pregnancy we need to have moms be the most careful about their exposure.”

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Clare Cannon, Assistant Professor of Human Ecology and a 2018 Pilot Project Awardee, has received a $1.1 million grant from the University of California to address toxic air pollution in disadvantaged communities. Cannon will partner with Distinguished Professor Tony Wexler, director of the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center and community organizations.

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Melanie Gareau, Assistant Professor in Veterinary Medicine and the 2016 EHS Scholar, has been named one of 13 Chancellor's Fellows at UC Davis. Each fellow receives $25,000 in unrestricted funds for their research or other scholarly work. UC Davis has named 191 faculty members as Chancellor’s Fellows over the program’s 23-year history, with philanthropic support from the UC Davis Annual Fund, Davis Chancellor’s Club, and the UC Davis Parents Fund.

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Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the 2022 EHS Scholar, Jasquelin Peña has been named an Institute for Environment Fellow. Fellows are rewarded $10,000 in unrestricted funding and are encouraged to build teams to provide immersive, hands-on experiences in cutting-edge sustainability and environmental justice issues while developing leadership, team-building and communication skills. 

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Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Randy Carney, the Center's 2020 EHS Scholar, has received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development, or NSF CAREER, Award. “This award means so much to me and my team,” Carney said. “It’s really a validation of all the hard work that has led up to proposing an ambitious project like this, and hopefully an indication that our ideas aren’t too crazy to work.”

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Pam Lein, Professor of Neurotoxicology and Co-Director of Career Development, is a 2022 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. This honor recognizes Lein for “exceptional contributions to research in environmental toxicology and for sustained activity in advising and mentoring.”

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If a recent publication supported by the center is not listed above, please email Alex Mendelmar

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