Blog

Building Equitable Partnerships

August 21, 2017
June 28th, 2017 marked this year’s first bi-annual meeting of the Environmental Health Sciences Center’s Community Stakeholder’s Advisory Committee (CSTAC). Attendees, which included both CSTAC members and EHSC researchers, traveled from throughout the Central Valley to UC Merced where they spent the day exchanging updates, welcoming new members, and discussing the dimensions of equitable community-university research partnerships. Members of the Environmental Health Sciences Center’s CSTAC represent a range of community organizations and agencies that work to promote environmental health and justice. Their expertise covers a wide range of environmental issues including air, water, food, and agriculture, and they work with the EHSCC’s Community Engagement Core (CEC) to align the activities of the EHSC to the needs and interests of communities facing high burdens of environmental hazards and social vulnerability. At the June 12th meeting, the CSTAC welcomed four new members: Isabel Arrollo of El Quinto Sol de America; Nayamin Martinez of the Central California Environmental Justice Network; Amrith Gunasekara of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Veronica Eady of the California Air Resources Board.

Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

August 21, 2017
For the last five years, California’s drought has given rise to a host of water policies aiming to ensure that all Californians have access to clean drinking water. Despite these policies, however, injustice in water allocation remains a significant problem. ​    As of 2016, an estimated 39 million people live in the state of California. The majority of these people live in urban areas (approximately 87% in 2010), and, historically, the urban majority has assumed more rights to water than the rural minority. Many of California’s rural communities are composed of primarily low-income people of color, most of whom speak little to no English. This combination of reasons causes these communities to lack significant representation within the state government, and allows the government to ignore their needs in favor of those policies that benefit the majority.

Laura Van Winkle, PhD - Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology

May 16, 2017
Ozone and lung remodeling More than 4 in 10 US people live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone. The San Joaquin Valley (SJV) is a hot spot of high ozone exposures. Four of the top 7 most ozone polluted cities in the US are in the SJV where ozone affects more than 1 million children. Ozone exposure during childhood alters lung growth – even healthy young adults from high ozone environments have decreased lung function – yet the mechanisms are little understood. Much research has focused on ozone exacerbation of asthma. Dr.

Jill Silverman, PhD - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

May 16, 2017
Behavioral and neuroimaging phenotypes following early life pesticide exposure Worldwide, organophosphate pesticides are the most commonly used class of pesticides. Epidemiological studies have linked their use to autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental delay, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, the impacts of early-life exposure to low doses that are representative of what people and, in particular, pregnant women and children may experience, have not been well-studied. Dr.

Neil Hunter, PhD - Department of Microbiology

May 16, 2017
Effects of atrazine on the developing ovary Atrazine, a widely used weed killer is a common contaminant found in drinking water. Atrazine is a member of a family of chemicals called the xenoestrogens that mimic the hormone estrogen and thereby disrupt endocrine function. Another xenoestrogen, bisphenol-A (BPA), causes problems in female reproduction. BPA leads to a “grand-maternal effect” that increases the likelihood of developmental problems in grandchildren.

Christoph Vogel, PhD - Department of Environmental Toxicology

May 16, 2017
Noninvasive imaging of immune responses induced by environmental pollutants Exposure to air pollutants and particulate matter (PM) contribute to an increased risk for cardiovascular and pulmonary health problems resulting from chronic inflammation. Dr. Chris Vogel is using a new method for noninvasive imaging of immune responses, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The goal of the project is to identify the specific sites of inflammation following exposure to particulate matter and potentially other types of environmental exposures.

Kent Pinkerton, PhD - Department of General Pediatrics

May 16, 2017
Health effects of airborne particulate matter near the Salton Sea: A Community-based exploratory project in the Imperial Valley, CA. The Salton Sea is a man-made, saline lake, located in southeastern California, in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. As a result of climate change, drought, agricultural practices, rural-urban water transfers, the Salton Sea is a polluted and shrinking lake.

Angela Haczku, MD, PhD - Department of Internal Medicine

May 16, 2017
Immune mechanisms of ozone-induced lung inflammation in non-human primates Persistent exposure to air pollution leads to changes in immune function in the respiratory system. These changes can trigger allergic asthma and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. Exposure to high levels of ozone, a major toxic air pollutant, worsens asthma and COPD symptoms. While the exact mechanisms of ozone induced airway disease are not understood, Dr.

EHS Center Hosts First Academy Day

April 12, 2017
The first ever UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Academy Day on March 21 brought together multi-disciplinary researchers and community-based organizations to discuss concerns about environmental health impacts, specifically those centered on water safety and contamination issues in the Central Valley. Academy Day provided attendees with opportunities for mutual learning and information sharing. The aim was to get individuals thinking about how scientists and communities can work together to solve environmental problems and translate science into action and policy.

EHS Center Announces 2017-18 Pilot Grant Recipients

April 03, 2017

The UC Davis EHS Center Pilot Projects Program is pleased to announce recipients of the 2017-2018 pilot awards: Developmental exposure to organophosphorus pesticides to evaluate airway hyperreactivity - Principal Investigator: Ana Cristina Grodzki, PhD (Department of Molecular Biosciences) Immune mechanisms of ozone-induced lung inflammation in non-human primates - Principal Investigator: Angela Haczku, MD, PhD (Department of Internal Medicine: Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine) Effects of atrazine on the developing ov

EHS Center Member Update

March 08, 2017

Center Director, Irva Hertz-Picciotto testified on chronic neurodevelopmental effects of pesticides at a Hearing of the California Senate Committee on Environmental Quality on new regulations proposed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).

EHS Center Welcomes Jill Silverman, PhD

February 17, 2017
The EHS Center is delighted to welcome new member, Dr. Jill Silverman. Dr. Silverman’s predoctoral research in Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center employed preclinical rat models of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and drug abuse. She conducted postdoctoral training and research in translational and behavioral phenotyping projects in mouse models of autism in the laboratory of Jacqueline Crawley at the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program.