Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD

Professor of Epidemiology, UC Davis MIND Institute, and Chief, Environmental and Occupational Health

University of California Davis

Dr. Hertz-Picciotto, PhD, Epidemiology Professor, UC Davis MIND Institute, and Chief, Environmental and Occupational Health. She is an internationally renowned environmental epidemiologist with over 200 scientific publications addressing environmental exposures, including metals, pesticides, air pollutants and endocrine disruptors, their interactions with nutrition, and their influences on pregnancy, the newborn, and child development. 

In 2002, she turned her attention to autism, launching the CHARGE Study, the first large, comprehensive population-based study of environmental factors in autism, and a few years later, MARBLES (Markers of Autism Risk in Babies - Learning Early Signs), to search for early environmental and biologic predictors of autism, the first such study to begin in pregnancy. She also collaborates on the multi-site EARLI study, and is Director of the Northern California Center for the National Children's Study. 

Dr. Hertz-Picciotto sits on editorial boards for four major scientific journals in epidemiology, environmental health, and autism, including as Associate Editor of Environment International and has held appointments on state, national and international advisory panels to organizations such as the Food Safety in Europe Working Group, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Toxicology Program, California Air Resources Board, and NIH Interagency Coordinating Committee on Autism Research. 

She has been elected President of two of the largest professional epidemiology societies; chaired the Expert Panel on CDC's Vaccine Safety Database for Studies of Autism and Thimerosal; chaired National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine Panels on Agent Orange and Vietnam Veterans and in 2011, the Institute of Medicine Committee on Breast Cancer and the Environment. 

Dr. Hertz-Picciotto has taught epidemiologic methods on four continents and mentored 60 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars. In 2011, she received the Goldsmith Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology.

Dr. Hertz-Picciotto's Lectures

Radiation as an Environmental Breast Carcinogen

Select Recent Publications

  1. Paper of the Month for April 2012 by NIEHS, as senior author: Krakowiak et al. Maternal metabolic conditions and risk for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Pediatrics 2012; 129(5):31121-8x.
  2. Howards PP, Hertz-Picciotto I, Bech BH, Nøhr EA, Anderson AMN, Poole C, Olsen J. Spontaneous abortion and a diet drug containing caffeine and ephedrine. PLoS ONE November 16, 2012.
  3. Vogt R, Cassady D, Frost J, Bennett DH Hertz-Picciotto I. An assessment of exposures to toxins through diet among California residents. Environ Health 2012;11:83
  4. Schmidt RJ, Hansen RL, Hertz-Picciotto I (epub May ‘12). Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake and risk for autism spectrum disorders in the CHARGE case-control study. Am J Clin Nutrition 2012 Jul;96(1):80-9.
  5. Chaidez V, Hansen R, Hertz-Picciotto I. (epub 7 Mar 2012) Autism spectrum disorders in Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice 2012;16(4): 381-397.
  6. Krakowiak P, Walker CK, Bremer AA, Baker AS, Ozonoff S, Hansen RL, Hertz-Picciotto I (epub 9 Apr 2012). Maternal metabolic conditions and risk for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Pediatrics 129(5):e1121-8x.
  7. Tassone F, Qi L, Zang W, Hansen R, Pessah I, Hertz-Picciotto I (Aug 2011). MAO-A, D?H, and 5-HTT variants in CHARGE: a case-control study of autism spectrum disorders. Autism Res 4:250-61.
  8. Zerbo O, Iosif A-M, Delwiche L, Walker C, Hertz-Picciotto I (epub May 2011). Month and season of conception as a risk factor for autism/autism spectrum disorders. Epidemiology 2011;22:46-475.
  9. Schmidt RJ, Hansen RL, Hartiala J, Allayee H, Schmidt LC, Tassone F, Hertz-Picciotto I. (epub May 2011) The combined effects of maternal prenatal vitamin intake and common functional gene variants in folate and transmethylation pathways on risk for autism spectrum disorders in the CHARGE Study. Epidemiology 2011;22:476-485.