Our Research Projects

Our research projects

Active grants awarded to Pamela J. Lein:

R21 ES025570 (Silverman)                                                                                    07/01/15 -06/30/17


Functional Outcomes of Interactions between an ASD-Relevant Gene and Air Pollution

The goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that developmental exposure to traffic-related pollution impairs behavioral phenotypes relevant to ASD coincident with neuroinflammation and/or altered neuronal connectivity. The objectives are to analyze the effects of traffic-related air pollution alone and in combination with one gene strongly implicated in ASD, ProSAP2/Shank3, in male and female rats exposed to inhaled traffic-related pollution during gestation and lactation.  


U54 NS079202 (Lein)                                                                                          09/01/12 -08/30/17

NIH NINDS CounterACT Program                         

Novel anticonvulsant and neuroprotective therapies for TETS and OP intoxication

The unifying goal of the UC Davis CounterACT Center of Excellence is to identify improved medical countermeasures for treating acute intoxication with seizure-inducing chemical threat agents.

Role on project: Center Director and PI of Project 2 of the Center

R21 ES026515 (Lein)                                                                                           04/01/16 -03/31/18

NIH NIEHS                                                                                      

Does air pollution increase risk of AD in a genetically susceptible animal model?

The goal is to test the hypothesis that chronic exposure to traffic-related air pollution triggers inflammatory responses in the brain to initiate or accelerate the progression of Alzheimer’s disease-like pathology and cognitive dysfunction in a novel transgenic rat expressing AD susceptibility genes.

P01 ES011269 (Van de Water)                                                                              06/01/13 -05/31/18

NIH NIEHS/USEPA                                          

The UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention

Project 4: Calcium Signaling Defects in Autism (Pessah and Lein, Co-Leaders)

Project 4 will test the hypothesis that CGG trinucleotide repeats in the FMR1 gene, the most prevalent single gene disorder contributing to autism risk, influence susceptibility to non-dioxin-like (NDL) persistent organic pollutants (POPs) identified in Core 3 and pro-inflammatory cytokine profiles identified in Project 3 to predominate in plasma of women participating in the MARBLES study during pregnancy.  Role on project:  Co-Leader of Project 4


U54 HD079125  (Abbeduto)                                                                            09/01/13- 08/31/18


MIND Institute Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC)

The goal is to support a translational science agenda focused on intellectual and developmental delays (IDD). The IDDRC will integrate research from multiple disciplines and bridge basic and clinical science to arrive at treatments for IDD conditions. The range of IDD conditions include autism spectrum disorder, fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, ADHD, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, and many others. Roles:  Core C Co-Director; Project 1 Co-Investigator


R01 ES014901 (Lein [Contact] and Pessah, MPI)                                                 12/01/08 – 11/30/19

NIH NIEHS                

Molecular and Cellular Basis of PCB Developmental Neurotoxicity

The main objective of this grant is to test the hypothesis that non-coplanar PCBs disrupt neuronal connectivity via ryanodine receptor (RyR)-mediated mechanisms that modulate Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways linked to activity-dependent dendritic growth and plasticity. 


P30 ES023513 (Hertz-Picciotto)                                                                       05/05/15 -03/31/20


UC Davis Environmental Health Science Core Center

The overarching goal of the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Core Center is to expand the scope, innovation, and impact of EHS research so as to improve environmental public health in northern California, the Central Valley, and across the globe.

Role: Leader, Career Development Program


R01 ES024946 (La Merrill)                                                                                03/01/16


Perinatal DDT exposure causes insulin resistance in mice through impaired thermogenesis

The overall objective of this proposal is to identify mechanism(s) by which environmentally relevant exposure to DDT during development increases risk of T2D in adulthood. Our central hypothesis is that developmental DDT exposure alters the epigenetic programming and/or sympathetic nervous system regulation of thermogenesis during early development, resulting in impaired thermogenesis throughout the life course. Role: Co-Investigator

Awards to Graduate Students:

Hao Chen

NIEHS T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, 2012 – 2014

Superfund Research Program Fellowship

SOT Neurotoxicology Specialty Section, 3rd Place, Graduate Student Poster competition, 2014

Brad Hobson:

NIGMS T32 Predoctoral Fellowship – UC Davis Pharmacology (2013 – 2014)

Society of Toxicology Neurotoxicology Specialty Section Poster Competition – 1st Place (2014)

ARCS Foundation Scholar - Northern California Chapter (2014 – 2016)

David and Dana Loury Foundation Fellowship (2014 – 2015)

Northern California Chapter of the Society of Toxicology Graduate Student Achievement Award (2017)

Frances Shaffo

NHLBI T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, 2013 - 2016

Sunjay Sethi

NIEHS T32 Fellowship 2016-2017

Freeland Fellowship 2016

Floyd and Mary Schwall Fellowship in Medical Research 2014-2016

Kyla Walter

NIEHS T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, 2014 – 2016

Casey Boosalis

Designated emphasis in Biotechnology Predoctoral Fellowship, 2012 - 2015

Christopher Barnhart

NIEHS T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, 2010 – 2012

Superfund Research Program Fellowship

ARCS Predoctoral Scholarship, 2010 – 2014

NorCal SOT Graduate Student Achievement Award, 2013, 2014

Marianna Stamou

Freedland Scholarship Award,

Superfund Research Program Fellowship

NorCal SOT Graduate Student Achievement Award, 2012

SOT Neurotoxicology Specialty Section, 2nd Place, Graduate Student Poster competition, 2014



Awards to Postdoctoral Scientists:

Kim Keil

NRSA F32 HD088016 Postdoctoral Fellowship (Keil) 07/05/16-07/05/19

PCBs and heritable mutations in calcium signaling act via DNA methylation to disrupt dendritic growth and plasticity

SOT Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award, Women in Toxicology Special Interest Group, 2016

Northern California Society of Toxicology, Postdoctoral Achievement Award, 2016

Society of Toxicology, Neurotoxicology Specialty Section, Postdoctoral Poster Competition, Third Place, 2016

 Suren Bandara

 National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant # UL1 TR001860 and linked award TL1 TR001861. 06/16- 06/17,

Cristina Grodzki

NHLBI Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009-2010

Christopher Banks

NIEHS Postdoctoral Fellowship,

Paula Goines

Hartwell Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011-2013


Galen Miller

NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2013 – 2016

Karin Streifel

Autism Research Training Program Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012 - 2014

NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2014 – 2015