CERCH has the distinct advantage of being centralized in University of California Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area, both of which offer a breadth of opportunities and access to critical and emerging technologies and practices. These opportunities, in combination with our track record of excellence, help to attract some of the greatest researchers in their respective fields, across a broad spectrum of multidisciplinary specializations. Our team is one that values scientific rigor in the utmost, while maintaining a strong culture of collegiality, transparency and a collaborative spirit.
The Jennifer and Brian Maxwell Professor of Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology at UC Berkeley and the Principal Investigator and Director of the NIEHS/EPA Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH). She is a neuropsychologist and epidemiologist whose long-standing research interest has been the effects of toxicants including lead, solvents, environmental tobacco smoke, dioxin, and pesticides on human reproduction (both male and female) and child development.
Associate Director for Exposure Assessment
Dr. Asa Bradman is an environmental health scientist and expert in exposure assessment and epidemiology focusing on occupational and environmental exposures to pregnant women, children, and farmworkers living in agricultural communities. He co-founded CERCH and also helps lead an initiative to improve environmental quality in California child care facilities. Dr. Bradman leads environmental health studies focusing on pesticides, flame retardants, metals, emerging pollutants, VOCs, indoor air quality, and other contaminants. He also participates in extensive community outreach and education and interfaces with other scientists, state and federal agencies, policy makers, industry, and the general public. He is Chair of the California Biomonitoring Scientific Guidance Panel (appointed by Governors Schwarzennegger (2007) and Brown (2013)) and was appointed to the USDA National Organic Standards Board in 2016. Early in his career, Dr. Bradman harvested citrus and pomme fruit for export, helped manage a chicken farm, and was the produce manager for a small grocery store.
Associate Director for Health Effects Research
Associate Adjunct Professor of Maternal and Child Health in the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley. She is a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist. Her work focuses on the association between exposure to common endocrine disrupting chemicals (including pesticides, flame retardants, and bisphenol A) and fertility, birth outcome, child development and timing of puberty.
Donna Dahrouge, MPH
Ms. Dahrouge is Assistant Director at CERCH. She manages the administrative functions at the center including funding oversight, human resources, facilities and development and serves as the liaison between CERCH and all our collaborators worldwide. Ms. Dahrouge holds a Masters of Public Health from UC Berkeley.
The CERCH Team
Professor of Family Healthcare Nursing at the UCSF School of Nursing
Professor at the UCSF School of Nursing, Investigator at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, and Director of the California Childcare Health Program (CCHP). She is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and epidemiologist with years of experience conducting community-based research in child care settings. Her research includes studies on the effect of adversity on children’s psychobiology and health. Dr. Alkon is the Chair of the American Public Health Association’s Maternal Child Health Section Child Care Committee.
Jennifer Ames, PhD
Ms. Ames earned her doctoral degree in epidemiology at UC Berkeley. She is interested in environmental epidemiology with a particular focus on prenatal and early life exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Ms. Berger earned her a doctoral degree in epidemiology at UC Berkeley. She works on the toxicity of personal care products, including cosmetics. Her research interests are in the health effects of residential chemicals to which we are regularly exposed. She is especially interested in prenatal and early life exposure.
Graduate Student Researcher
Ms. Calderon is a first year graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Health and Master of City Planning at UC Berkeley. Her focus is on Environmental Health Science and Environmental Planning and her interests include community-based participatory research to address chronic exposure to endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals.
Ms. Camacho, a life-long Salinas resident, first joined our team in 2004. She currently works with both mothers and youth enrolled in our study, conducting interviews, measurements, and sample collection.
Community Outreach Coordinator and Co-Principal Investigator of the COSECHA Study
Mr. Camacho is a long-time resident of the Salinas Valley and has worked with CHAMACOS since its inception. He is an expert trainer and has presented hundreds of talks and workshops about environmental health and children. His presentations focus on results of the CHAMACOS study, pesticide exposure prevention, environmental health in child care, and healthy homes. Mr. Camacho has helped to organize and collect environmental samples from homes, fields, and child care facilities, and inspected thousands of Salinas Valley homes. He played an integral role in the implementation of the COSECHA Study, investigating Salinas Valley teens’ ambient exposures to pesticides applied to the fields near their homes, and now serves as the Co-Principal Investigator (with Dr. Kim Harley) of that Study.
Rosemary Castorina, PhD
Dr. Castorina is an environmental health scientist; she researches methods for quantifying exposure and health risk. She is currently analyzing determinants of organophosphate flame retardant exposure in pregnant women and potential neurodevelopmental outcomes in CHAMACOS children.
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Working at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Dr. Chevrier uses traditional and causal inference methods to investigate the potential endocrine-disrupting and neurodevelopmental effects of exposure to chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), bisphenol A (BPA), polybrominated diphenylether (PBDE) flame retardants, and dioxins. He also studies causal methods to address the Healthy Worker Effect and other methodological challenges.
Eric Stephen Coker, PhD, MS
Dr. Coker received his PhD in Public Health from Oregon State University. He has a background in environmental health science and global health. Dr. Coker’s work focuses on maternal and child health outcomes related to exposures in the environment, including chemical and non-chemical stressors that contribute to health disparities. Dr. Coker is working towards cultivating a research agenda that assesses the health impacts from cumulative exposures to environmental mixtures.
Associate Professor, Maternal and Child Health Program; King Sweesy and Robert Womack Endowed Chair in Medical Science and Public Health
Licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in pubertal development and adolescent health, and is Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Dr. Deardorff is a co-investigator on the CYGNET study, an NIH-funded longitudinal study of Bay Area girls’ pubertal development, and has partnered with Zero Breast Cancer in San Rafael on projects related to teen education and participatory research with young people. She is PI of a NIDA-funded R01 to examine early adversity, stress reactivity, puberty, and alcohol/drug and sexual behaviors at ages 14 and 16 years in the CHAMACOS cohort. Dr. Deardorff is the co-author of the book, The New Puberty: How to Navigate Development in Today’s Girls (Rodale Books).
Ms. Dobraca is a student in epidemiology at UC Berkeley. She received her MPH from the University of Minnesota and was a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Applied Epidemiology Fellow in environmental and occupational health. Since, she has worked as an epidemiologist in the Environmental Health Investigations Branch at the California Department of Public Health.
Carrie Fahey is a doctoral student in epidemiology at UC Berkeley. She is interested in how food systems influence health and contribute to health disparities. In particular, she focuses on food insecurity among farmworkers and agricultural communities.
Dr. Goldman Rosas provides consultation for the Community Outreach and Translation Core particularly in the area of youth involvement and health policy. Dr. Goldman Rosas’s research interests focus on the determinants of childhood obesity in Latino children.
Bob Gunier, PhD, MPH
Dr. Gunier is an environmental health scientist with specific expertise in exposure assessment, environmental epidemiology, biostatistics and the use of Geographic Information Science (GIS). He previously worked with multi-disciplinary teams at the California Department of Public Health and Cancer Prevention Institute of California studying the effects of environmental exposures to pesticides and air pollutants on childhood and breast cancers in California. His current work focuses on the effects of environmental exposures on neurodevelopment and respiratory function in children.
Maria Harris, PhD
Dr. Harris’s research examines the influences of early life environmental exposures on child neurodevelopment. She received her PhD in Environmental Health at Boston University, where her dissertation research assessed the impacts of prenatal and childhood exposure to potential neurodevelopmental toxicants, including traffic-related air pollution and per- and polyfluoroalykyl substances (PFASs), on children's cognition and behavior.
Sanie Hernandez-Weldon, PhD
Dr. Weldon is a Post-Doctoral Scholar in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. She coordinates the Age and Genetic Effects in Sperm Study (AGES), a study of the associations of nutrients in semen and semen quality and genetic endpoints measured in the sperm of healthy men, as well as the China Benzene and Sperm Study (C-BASS), a study of the genetic effects of benzene in the sperm and blood of Chinese men. Dr. Weldon’s research focuses on exposure assessment of mothers and children with particular emphasis on measuring pesticides and other environmental chemicals in breast milk.
Director, School of Public Health Biorepository; Director, Children’s Environmental Health Laboratory; Adjunct Professor, UC Berkeley School of Public Health
Dr. Holland has a background in genetics with extensive experience in molecular epidemiology, human cytogenetics and reproductive toxicology. Dr.Holland’s main scientific interest is in biomarkers of children’s environmental health.
Ms. Hunter is a second year Masters in Public Health student in the Maternal & Child Health program at UC Berkeley.
Carly Hyland, MS
Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics
Dr. Jewell works at UC Berkeley with particular expertise in data analysis of longitudinal data and of multiple chemical (or environmental) exposures. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His areas of award-winning expertise include statistical methods related to infectious diseases, biostatistical techniques in epidemiological data analysis, survival analysis and stochastic processes, and genomics. He has been actively involved in CERCH’s Biostatistics Core since its inception.
Ms. Johnson is an Assistant Researcher for CERCH.
Katie Kogut, MPH, MSc
CHAMACOS Study Coordinator
Ms. Kogut is the CHAMACOS Study Coordinator. She oversees all aspects of data collection for CHAMACOS, including development of questionnaires and study instruments, study protocols, and staff training. She is particularly interested in factors affecting children’s neurodevelopment and behavior. Ms. Kogut holds a Masters of Public Health from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Psychology from University College in London.
Aaron McDowell-Sánchez, B.A.
CHAMACOS Study Staff Research Assistant
Following his graduation from UC Berkeley in 2018 with a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology, Mr. McDowell-Sánchez joined the CHAMACOS team with a profound interest in public health and serving agricultural communities through outreach and laboratory data collection for the CHAMACOS Study. He is a Salinas native and is deeply committed to health promotion for agricultural families.
Assistant Researcher, CERCH; Associate Professor, Costa Rica
Dr. Mora is an Associate Professor at the Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET) at the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica. Her research focuses primarily on the health effects of exposures to environmental toxicants, including pesticides, heavy metals, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in pregnant women and children. Dr. Mora completed her Medical Doctor degree from University of Costa Rica in 2005 and her PhD degree in Epidemiology from UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 2014.
Professor Emerita, Health and Social Behavior
Dr. Minkler was a professor of health and social behavior at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She has more than 30 years of experience working with underserved communities on community-identified issues through community building, community organizing, and community-based participatory research (CBPR). Dr. Minkler advises for CERCH’s Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC), particularly in regard to the CHAMACOS Youth Council. She also advises on CBPR and community capacity building.
CHAMACOS Field Coordinator
Ms. Morga has worked on the CHAMACOS Study since its inception, recruiting pregnant women; collecting biological samples and conducting questionnaires at delivery; conducting neurodevelopmental assessments with children throughout their infancy, toddlerhood, and preschool and early school years; and interviewing mothers at multiple visits. She now coordinates all Salinas-based data collection and serves as the main point of contact for all participants.
CHAMACOS Study Interviewer/ Phlebotomist
Born and raised in Monterey County, Ms. Munoz joined the CHAMACOS team in February of 2018. She is currently involved in study research with mothers and youth enrolled in the study.
James Nolan, MPH
Community Science Manager
Mr. Nolan graduated from UC Berkeley with a Masters of Public Health, specializing in social determinants of health disparities associated with race, class, gender and geography. He focuses on engaging youth and community members in exploring how determinants of health and structural violence overlap to influence environmental justice, with an emphasis on harnessing local assets through community based participatory research (CBPR). This process helps to build awareness, expand capacity and engages community members in co-designing more relevant and effective health interventions. He leads the CHAMACOS Youth Council and the Richmond Youth Council and coordinates community outreach projects, including trainings, presentations, workshops, website development and multimedia including a Spanish Radio Novella series, an animated PSA mini-series, murals and zines.
Former CHAMACOS Field Coordinator and Co-Principal Investigator of the HERMOSA Study
Ms. Parra served as the CHAMACOS Field Coordinator from 2011-2016, before leaving to pursue graduate studies in public health. In addition to overseeing all aspects of CHAMACOS data collection for age 10.5 year through 14 year CHAMACOS visits, Ms. Parra also played an integral role in mentoring members of our CHAMACOS Youth Council. She served as the Co-Principal Investigator (with Dr. Kim Harley) on the HERMOSA Study, investigating exposures to chemicals in personal care products among Salinas teens. She also played an integral role in the design and implementation of the COSECHA Study, investigating Salinas Valley teens’ ambient exposures to pesticides applied to the fields near their homes. She will continue to work with the CHAMACOS Youth Council and consult on the COSECHA Study.
Dr. Quirós Alcalá received her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley. She has a background in bioengineering and industrial hygiene and safety engineering. Dr. Quirós Alcalá’s main research areas include environmental exposure disparities in vulnerable populations including mothers, children, and occupationally-exposed and low-income populations. She is currently in the School of Public Health at University of Maryland.
Stephen Rauch, MPH
Data Analyst and Manager
Mr. Rauch works on the VHEMBE, CHAMACOS, and SEVESO studies. He studies the effect of in utero exposure to chemicals to children's health outcomes, including neurodevelopment and obesity, in addition to cleaning study data and preparing datasets for analysis.
CHAMACOS Study Interviewer
Ms. Romero first joined our team in 2014. She currently works with both mothers and youth enrolled in our study, conducting interviews, measurements, and sample collection.
Assistant Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology
(510) 642- 8917
Dr. Sagiv works in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. She is an environmental epidemiologist with research interests focused on the impact of prenatal and early life exposure to environmental toxicants on child development, including neurodevelopment. Much of Dr. Sagiv’s work focuses on prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) and their associations with behavioral development in children. She has also investigated associations with heavy metals, focusing on associations with traits related to developmental disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Crystal Valdez, MPH
Dr. Wallenborn is a Maternal and Child Health Bureau Postdoctoral Training Fellow. She has an MPH from North Dakota State University and a PhD in epidemiology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research primarily focuses on perinatal health including breastfeeding, contraception utilization, and mental health. She focuses on causal pathways and identifying novel, translational targets for intervention development. Wallenborn has experience working with underserved populations both nationally and internationally.
Marcella L Warner, PhD
Full Researcher, Research Epidemiologist at UC Berkeley School of Public Health; Director of Seveso Studies, CERCH
Dr. Warner's research focuses on the effects of exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds in women and children including chronic, reproductive, and obesogenic health outcomes. She has published extensively on exposure to, and health effects of, dioxins and related persistent organic pollutants. She is a co-investigator on the Seveso Women’s Health Study (SWHS), a cohort study of the health of the female population exposed to dioxin as a result of an industrial explosion in 1976, and the Seveso Second Generation Health Study, which examines the health of the SWHS children exposed to dioxin in utero.