LML Members


Current LML Members


Michele La Merrill earned her BA in Biology at Reed College in Portland Oregon, where she completed her thesis with Dr. David Dalton.  She earned her PhD in Toxicology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill through the mentorship of Drs. David Threadgill and Linda Birnbaum on the interaction of prenatal dioxin exposure and high fat diet on mammary cancer and metabolic syndrome risk. Dr. La Merrill earned her MPH in epidemiology during her postdoctoral fellowship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. There she conducted research on the influence of perinatal exposures and epigenetics on metabolic abnormalities in humans and rodents through mentorship by Drs. Philip Landrigan and David Savitz in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Dr. Christoph Buettner in the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute. She began research as an assistant professor in Environmental Toxicology at UC Davis in January 2013. She is a member of the Pharmacology & Toxicology Graduate Group, the Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group, Epidemiology Graduate Group, the UC Davis Genome Center and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also an adjunct professor in the Division of Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Michele enjoys cooking, hiking, kayaking and cycling.
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Sarah Elmore joined the La Merrill lab as a post-doctoral fellow in August 2016. She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Science in 2010 and PhD in Toxicology in 2016 from Texas A&M University. During her undergraduate studies, Sarah was introduced to toxicology when she worked as an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Dr. Timothy Phillips. Sarah later joined the Phillips’ lab a doctoral student in 2011. Her research focused on the analysis of mycotoxin biomarkers of exposure and mycotoxin mitigation in humans. In the La Merrill lab, Sarah will build on her background in translational science and molecular epidemiology with mechanistic studies to investigate the role of POPs on “metabolic syndrome.” Sarah enjoys traveling, skiing, hiking, and is an avid national park passport stamp collector.


Xiaoqin "Shally" Xu began contribute her extensive expertise to research in the La Merrill lab in 2015. Before Shally joined professor Michele La Merrill’s lab, she had worked in Professor Fred Chedin’s lab, in the Molecular and Cellular Biology department, UC Davis from 2010-2015. She also worked in professor Peggy Farnham’s lab, at the Genome Center, UC Davis from 2004-2010; professor Joan Burnside’s lab at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, University of Delaware from 2000-2004; professor Harold Bernstein’s lab at the Cardiovascular Institute, UCSF from 1997-2000; and professor Guillermo Romero’s lab in the Pharmacology department, University of Pittsburgh. Over the course of more than 20 years of her research experience, she has managed multiple research projects and become skilled in a wide array of cellular biology, molecular biology and protein biochemistry procedures. In her position as a Staff Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Peggy Farnham, She was the lead researcher on the NHGRI Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) and the NIH Roadmap UC Reference Epigenome Mapping Center (REMC) projects.  Moreover, she has been actively involved in research projects aimed at characterizing various aspects of eukaryotic transcriptional regulation on a global scale, using expression microarrays, ChIP-chip, and ChIP-seq high throughput technologies. On top of that, while she was working in Dr. Fred Chedin's lab, she was involved the number of projects using ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, Whole Genome Bisulfite-Seq (WGBS-Seq) and Reduced Representative Bisulfite-Seq (RRBS-Seq) high throughput technologies.


Elise Hickman is an undergraduate majoring in environmental toxicology, a degree program she selected because it integrates chemistry, biology, and health. She joined the La Merrill lab in January 2016 as an intern, studying the estrogen receptor in the context of carcinogenesis. In the summer of 2016, she participated in the University of Washington Environmental Health Research Experience for Undergraduates Program. There, she researched the relationship between developmental diesel exhaust exposure and autism under the mentorship of Lucio G. Costa and other members of his lab. She is now conducting her honors thesis research in the La Merrill lab on the effects of persistent organic pollutants on respiration and substrate utilization. She hopes to pursue a PhD in toxicology following her graduation in June 2017. She has been involved with the UC Davis Club Cycling race team as a team member and an officer and currently works as a calculus tutor for the UC Davis Student Academic Success Center. With her free time, Elise enjoys cycling and running as well as kayaking, hiking, and traveling.   


LML Alumni


profile2.jpg German Cano-Sancho joined the La Merrill lab at the beginning of 2015 as a post-doctoral fellow. He conducted research on in vitro models of obesogens and hazard identification. When he was not working in the La Merrill lab, probably, you could find him climbing some cliff around Tahoe or Yosemite. He earned his diploma in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and BS in Food Science and Technology at University Rovira I Virgili (Spain) and University of Lleida (Spain), respectively. At the latter he earned a master’s degree in research in Agricultural and Food Systems and his PhD focused on Risk Assessment of Mycotoxins. During his PhD he was also trained on cell-culture models in the Dr. Oswald and Dr. Fernandez-Cruz's labs (France), as well as in stochastic modelling by Dr. Gauchi (France). After graduation he was recruited by Dr. Domingo’s lab as a postdoctoral researcher to lead projects in different disciplines of risk assessment such as bioavailability, risk ranking or risk characterization of classical contaminants like toxic metals and dioxins, as well as emerging contaminants such as MUSK fragrances. He left the La Merrill lab in October 2016 to join the Laboratory of Food Contaminants and Residue Analysis at the L'Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire in Nantes France.
Anna_WebsitePhoto.jpeg Anna Smith joined the La Merrill lab in January 2016 as an intern, examining the role of the HER2 receptor in mammary cancer.  She also worked with German Cano-Sancho on a published study assessing the obesogenic effects of the flame retardant triphenyl phosphate in vitro. During her last two years as an undergraduate, she worked as a student assistant at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), and aided with legislative affairs and the research and development of updates to the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen).  She graduated in June 2016 with her B.S. in Environmental Toxicology, with an emphasis in Public Health and a minor in Communication.  She will pursue her Master of Public Health degree in Environmental Health Sciences beginning Autumn 2017. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, cycling, traveling, and spending time outdoors.
Tansy.jpg Tansy Gu was an undergraduate who was able to combine her interested in chemistry, biochemistry, and health by majoring in Environmental Toxicology with an emphasis in Pharmacology. Previously she has interned in Sutter Hospital and in Rite Aid pharmacy. started working in the La Merrill lab in May 2014 and completed her honors thesis in March 2016. In the lab, she mainly worked on uptake of glucose analogs in cell culture to screen chemicals. She was also very active in the Pre-Pharmacy club on campus. Tansy began working on Undiagnosed Disease at the National Institute of Health soon after she graduated from UC Davis. Being more interested in clinical aspects of research, Tansy hopes to pursue a PhD in Pharmacy. When she has time, Tansy enjoys martial arts, goes to concerts, and she is always open to trying out new activities.
Lab.jpg Eduardo Gonzalez conducted his honors thesis research in the La Merrill lab. He also worked with Adrian Green on their publication assessing the obesogenic effects of the flame retardant triphenyl phosphate. He graduated in 2016 with a major in Environmental Science & Management and an emphasis in Environmental Toxicology. His 2014 UCD Summer Abroad program in Ecuador also inspired him to minor in Global and International Studies. He is an active member of the UC Davis ETOX Club and was drawn to the field by his interest in carcinogens and developmental toxicology. After graduation he hopes to follow his passion for public health and pursue a PhD in Environmental Health Sciences. At the end of his summers he enjoys working on campus as a mock trial coach for incoming freshman as a part of the STEP program (Special Transitional Enrichment Program). Eduardo joined the La Merrill Lab in the fall of 2014 and worked with Adrian Green on his TPP study before his honors thesis research on molecular event in chemical carcinogenesis, completed March 2016.  His hobbies include hip-hop and Latin dancing, playing sports, Super Smash Bros., and anything outdoors.
TomokoIshikawa.jpg Tomoko Ishikawa joined the La Merrill lab in July 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in pharmacology and toxicology. Her thesis focused on understanding links between chemicals in the environment and obesity, diabetes, and breast cancer and was completed in the summer of 2015. She received her BS in pharmaceutical sciences from Kyoritsu University of Pharmacy (now part of Keio University) in Tokyo, Japan. Before returning to school, she worked as a pharmacist at a number of institutions in Japan including: Ishimaru hospital (now known as Kumagaya Diabetes center), Kumagaya Pharmaceutical Association Pharmacy, and The Kumagaya Weekend and Holiday Emergency Clinic. When she is not in the lab or studying, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.
Photo_Dec_31_11_18_01_AM_1.jpg Adrian Green earned his diploma in Computer Science at CTI, South Africa and worked as a programmer and web developer for Solarsys, a software development company based in London, England. Adrian returned to school to earn a BS in microbiology from California State University, Chico, where he did his undergraduate thesis research in the lab of Dr. Gordon Wolfe. After graduation Adrian worked as a bioanalytical extraction chemist for Intertek Pharmaceutical Services in Sacramento, CA before deciding to join the Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate group at UC Davis. He completed his Master's thesis on the developmental effects of a flame retardant on obesity and type 2 diabetes in the summer of 2015. After he left the La Merrill lab, he began pursuing his PhD at North Carolina State University. In his spare time Adrian and his wife love to watch movies, cook, eat sushi, and travel.
Christines_Picture.png Christine Tran Hoang joined the La Merrill lab in January 2014 as third year animal science major, specializing in lab animals. She assisted Tomoko Ishikawa with husbandry and laboratory research. She holds a special fondness for UCD Veterinary Teaching Hospital, especially after spending five weeks shadowing veterinary students during the 2013 Summer Enrichment Program. In between classes, she works part time in the UCD Teaching Hospital as well as the Meyer Hall Rodent Facility. On the weekends, you'd find Christine paddling on a dragonboat with her team Davis Racing Dragons, or sipping on a boba milk tea while watching the newest episode of Criminal Minds or Grimm. She began attending veterinary school in the Autumn of 2016.
People_Sunjay.png Sunjay Sethi completed his Honors thesis in the La Merrill laboratory for his B.S. in Environmental Toxicology. This work led to a publication. He previously attended Diablo Valley College. To hone his interests in Toxicology he started working with Dr. Nilesh Gaikwad looking into different metabolites that can be formed from the metabolism of estrogen in the body. He also worked under Dr. Martin Burger to look at the way different nutrients available affect crop growth and the crop’s nutritional value.  During his summer before joining the LML he interned with Chevron’s Environmental Management Company and this along with his previous research experiences made him realize he wanted to focus on human health relating to toxicants we encounter everyday in our environment such as pesticides. He is now finishing his last year here at UCD before going on to pursue a PhD in Toxicology. Sunjay is also a huge Beyonce fan but has yet to have the privilege to see her perform live. He has been to India four times to visit family, loves coffee (the elixir of life), and enjoys exploring the outdoors.
CiaraMain.jpg Ciara Main attended UCD as an animal science major seeking to enter a dual graduate veterinarian program after her undergraduate career. Her interests lie in endocrinology and reproductive controls in elephants, as well as mating and hierarchical behavior in hyenas. She began her research journey through the Center of Biophotonics program on campus. Their partnership allowed her to take an undergraduate research position in the La Merrill Lab where she was a McNair Scholar. She gives time to the Get On The Bus non-profit, where they unite children with their mothers and fathers who are incarcerated. Also she enjoys taking and developing her own film photography and volunteers at the UCD Craft Center once a week. Fun facts; Ciara has two dogs and a bird, she survived 10 days in the Amazon, and has an extreme obsession for Idris Elba.


Prospective LML Trainees

We are a team of individuals tenaciously striving for research excellence. The La Merrill lab is an environment for trainees to learn critical approaches to environmental health susceptibility research and to develop their potential as outstanding scientists. If you are interested in being part of the La Merrill lab, please contact Dr. La Merrill.


OPEN POSITION: Postdoctoral scholar position in the genetic regulation of insulin resistance and thermogenesis.

Position description

A postdoctoral scholar position is available immediately in the laboratory of Dr. Michele A. La Merrill at the University of California at Davis. The La Merrill team investigates susceptibility to environmental disease. We consider susceptibilities to disease that may result from environmental insults during the exquisitely sensitive developmental period, from poor diet and ensuing metabolic diseases, and from genetic and epigenetic predispositions. More information about the lab can be found at http://lamerrill.ucdavis.edu.

This postdoctoral position will support the La Merrill lab investigation in the role of gene x environment interactions in impaired thermogenesis. This area of our research is currently supported by an NIH grant to mechanistically evaluate the causes of insulin resistance. It is expected that the scholar will utilize experimental genomics and molecular biology in mammalian systems to complete this research. These systems will include in vitro adipocyte models, and possibly in vivo rodent models. The position is available for 1 year with full medical, dental and vision benefits, and a competitive salary commensurate with experience. There is a possibility for renewal depending on performance. 

Candidate qualifications

Highly motivated candidates should have or be very close to obtaining a Ph.D., or have less than four years of Postdoctoral experience.  A PhD in toxicology, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, or a related field is preferred. The ideal candidate will have research experience in cell biology, DNA methylation, chromatin biochemistry, NGS, CRISPR-Cas, and/or transfection. The candidate should have a record of creativity and scientific productivity as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications including at least one first-author publication. Excellent communication skills, fluency in both written and spoken English, and strong interpersonal and collaborative skills are also essential requirements for this position.

Application materials

Please apply by sending your 1) CV inclusive of publications, awards, and both laboratory and computer skills, 2) 3-5 references, and 3) a letter of intent discussing your key qualifications and motivations for this position to mlamerrill@ucdavis.edu. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Position will be opened until filled.