Dr. Rebecca Schmidt, PhD

Rebecca Schmidt

Position Title
Co-Director, Integrated Health Sciences, Environmental Health Sciences Center


Dr. Schmidt is a molecular epidemiologist. She studies how exposure to nutrition and the environment interact with the genome to influence the development of children's brain or central nervous system from a mechanical and pathways perspective, especially when a baby is developing during pregnancy.

Position at UC Davis

  • Assistant Professor, Public Health Sciences

Areas of Expertise

  • Epidemiology
  • Gestational and Childhood Development
  • Gene-environment and Nutrient-environment Interactions in Neurodevelopment and Autism

Major Research Papers

Oh J, Shin HM, Kannan K, Calafat AM, Schmidt RJ, Hertz-Picciotto I, Bennett DH. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Serum of 2 to 5 year-Old Children: Temporal Trends, Determinants, and Correlations with Maternal PFAS Concentrations. Environ Sci Technol. 2024 Feb 9;58(7):3151–62. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.3c08928. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38335968; PMCID: PMC10882966. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38335968/

Yu EX, Dou JF, Volk HE, Bakulski KM, Benke K, Hertz-Picciotto I, Schmidt RJ, Newschaffer CJ, Feinberg JI, Daniels J, Fallin MD, Ladd-Acosta C, Hamra GB. Prenatal Metal Exposures and Child Social Responsiveness Scale Scores in 2 Prospective Studies. Environ Health Insights. 2024 Feb 4;18:11786302231225313. doi: 10.1177/11786302231225313. PMID: 38317694; PMCID: PMC10840406. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10840406/

Prince N, Liang D, Tan Y, Alshawabkeh A, Angel EE, Busgang SA, Chu SH, Cordero JF, Curtin P, Dunlop AL, Gilbert-Diamond D, Giulivi C, Hoen AG, Karagas MR, Kirchner D, Litonjua AA, Manjourides J, McRitchie S, Meeker JD, Pathmasiri W, Perng W, Schmidt RJ, Watkins DJ, Weiss ST, Zens MS, Zhu Y, Lasky-Su JA, Kelly RS. Metabolomic data presents challenges for epidemiological meta-analysis: a case study of childhood body mass index from the ECHO consortium. Metabolomics. 2024 Jan 24;20(1):16. doi: 10.1007/s11306-023-02082-y. PMID: 38267770. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38267770/

Oh J, Buckley JP, Li X, Gachigi KK, Kannan K, Lyu W, Ames JL, Barrett ES, Bastain TM, Breton CV, Buss C, Croen LA, Dunlop AL, Ferrara A, Ghassabian A, Herbstman JB, Hernandez-Castro I, Hertz-Picciotto I, Kahn LG, Karagas MR, Kuiper JR, McEvoy CT, Meeker JD, Morello-Frosch R, Padula AM, Romano ME, Sathyanarayana S, Schantz S, Schmidt RJ, Simhan H, Starling AP, Tylavsky FA, Volk HE, Woodruff TJ, Zhu Y, Bennett DH; program collaborators for Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes. Associations of Organophosphate Ester Flame Retardant Exposures during Pregnancy with Gestational Duration and Fetal Growth: The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program. Environ Health Perspect. 2024 Jan;132(1):17004. doi: 10.1289/EHP13182. Epub 2024 Jan 24. PMID: 38262621; PMCID: PMC10805613.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38262621/

Kaplan ZB, Pearce EN, Lee SY, Shin HM, Schmidt RJ. Maternal Thyroid Dysfunction During Pregnancy as an Etiologic Factor in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Challenges and Opportunities for Research. Thyroid. 2024 Feb;34(2):144-157. doi: 10.1089/thy.2023.0391. Epub 2024 Jan 22. PMID: 38149625; PMCID: PMC10884547.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38149625/

Education and Degree(s)
  • Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Autism Research Training Program at the MIND Institute, Sacramento, CA, 2008 – 2010
  • PhD, Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA; Dissertation Title: “Maternal Caffeine Intake, Selected Metabolic Gene Variants, and Neural Tube Defects,” 2007
  • MS, Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA, 2000
  • BS, Biology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 1998
Honors and Awards
  • Top Ten Science Autism Research Achievements of 2011 by Autism Speaks (2011)
  • 2011 Paper of the Year by National Institute of Environmental Health (2011)