Michele La Merrill, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Toxicology, is among five exceptional early career scientists receiving “Outstanding New Environmental Scientist” grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for research on how substances in the environment could harm human health.
La Merrill will receive more than $1.3 million over five years to explore whether exposure to the pesticide DDT before birth could lead to insulin resistance during childhood. The condition, which can lead to overproduction of insulin by the pancreas and high glucose levels, is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. DDT was banned long ago in California but is still prevalent in the environment.
The project is based in the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center. The NIEHS is one of the National Institutes of Health.