Faculty Research

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Professor Ron Tjeerdema served on an international panel of experts to advise the federal government and BP on the application of chemical dispersants in the gulf oil spill. Tjeerdema demonstrated how dispersants react with oil at a UC Davis press conference. (2010) View Video, See Tjeerdema in C&EN article 2013.

Dr. Gary Cherr studies the effects of natural and human-derived stressors on reproduction and development of marine organisms.  His group utilizes developing systems as sensitive yet simple models for understanding mechanisms of toxicity and environmental stress.  In addition, they investigate the physiological mechanisms by which these systems tolerate environmental stress.

Dr. Mike Denison studies biochemical and molecular mechanisms of action of halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons and related chemicals.  His group also studies mechanisms of induction of drug metabolizing enzymes and the structure and function of receptors for hormones and xenobiotics, and develops bioassay systems for detection of environmental contaminants.

Dr. Nilesh Gaikwad develops mass spectrometric analytical methods for comprehensive measurement of the small molecules in the cells/tissues/body fluids. His group also works on the development of biomarkers by applying target / profile oriented metabolomic methods, and studies the modulation of metabolic profile by using antioxidants, polyphenols, flavones and phytochemicals.

Dr. Matt Hengel develops analytical methodologies for the determination of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables, as well as the environment (air, water and soil). 

Dr. Norm Kado studies the chemistry and toxicity of complex environmental mixtures, with particular emphasis on analysis of airborne particles and vapor-phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Dr. John Knezovich studies the environmental fate and risk assessment of organic contaminants, heavy metals and radionuclides, with particular emphasis on the application of analytical techniques to assess the bioavailability of contaminants and their in vivo disposition.

Dr. Melanie Marty studies the public health impacts of chemicals in our environment, with an emphasis on assessing risks of both cancer and non-cancer toxicity from exposure.  She is an expert in children’s environmental health.  Dr. Marty is Assistant Deputy Director for The Science Division at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency.

Dr. Michele La Merrill studies the developmental basis of environmental disease.  Her group is particularly interested in understanding susceptibilities to disease that may result from environmental insults during development, from poor diet and ensuing metabolic diseases, and from genetic and epigenetic predispositions.

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Professor Michele La Merrill teaches Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate students, Emma Karey  and Tomoko Ishikawa, how to isolate nucleic acids from tissues exposed to DDT (2014).

Dr. Tran Nguyen studies chemical reactions in the atmosphere that occur in the gas phase, in the condensed phase, and at the interface. Current interests in the Nguyen group include investigating the molecular drivers that influence aerosol properties (like toxicity and optical properties), developing novel mass spectrometry techniques for trace pollutant analysis, and exploring the mechanisms of photochemical aging for atmospheric compounds.

Dr. Patricia Oteiza studies the effects of trace mineral deficiencies, and trace mineral toxicities, on early developmental processes. Her group also studies the putative health benefits of flavonoids.

Dr. Bob Rice studies mechanisms of action of toxic and physiological agents affecting keratinocyte growth and differentiation.  His group also studies the biochemistry and expression of specific markers in epidermal cells and appendages, and metabolic activation of toxic agents in keratinocytes.

Dr. Jim Seiber studies the fate of pesticides and other contaminants in the environment, and particularly in the atmosphere.  He looks at processes that lead to long-range transport of pesticides and ecosystem effects of contaminant transport and deposition.  He also works on food safety related to chemical residues.

Dr. Taka Shibamoto studies lipid peroxidation associated with diseases.  His group also focuses research on natural antioxidants and their role in prevention of oxidative damages, the analysis and fate of pesticides in environment, and flavor and fragrance chemistry

Dr. Ron Tjeerdema and his research group studies the environmental fate and toxic actions of pesticides, petroleum hydrocarbons, oil dispersants and natural toxins in marine and freshwater systems and organisms.

Dr. Andrew Whitehead studies how genomes integrate cues from, respond to, and are shaped by the external environment. His research group examines genomic responses to stress that occur over physiological timescales (acclimation responses) and over evolutionary timescales (adaptive responses), and is interested in stressors that are natural (temperature, salinity) and of human origin (pollutants, climate change)

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Professor Whitehead doing field research in Chesapeake Bay

Dr. Zachary Wong studies toxicology, health risk assessments, product stewardship, human impact assessments(HIAs), benzene, and product regulatory compliance.

Dr. Matt Wood studies the biochemical mechanisms involved in the perception of and protection against oxidative stress and other toxic compounds.  His research group seeks to develop new technologies for monitoring and remediation of oxidative stress and environmental toxicants

Dr. Qi Zhang studies the chemistry and physics of atmospheric condensed phases (i.e., aerosol particles and fog and cloud droplets), with particular focus in developing methods and technologies to characterize air quality in urban and rural areas.

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Professor Qi Zhang operating an Aerosal Mass Spectrometer for a Carbonaceous
Aerosol Radiative Effect Study (funded by the Atmospheric System Research,
U.S. Department of Energy). Time: June 2010