Students in lab coats standing at a lab bench

Chancellor’s Fellows Strengthen UC Davis Teaching and Research

How do pollutants make us sick? Michele La Merrill, a professor of environmental toxicology and a Chancellor’s Fellow, explores connections between chemical pollutants and endocrine diseases such as diabetes, reproductive disorders and cancer.

“We strive to inform patient care and shape effective policy and public health practices,” said La Merrill, who engages students at all levels in her teaching and research.

Last year the state of California used La Merrill’s research to determine that a “forever chemical” called PFNA, used in industrial and consumer products, causes reproductive toxicity in men. It was added to a list of harmful chemicals the state makes public by law.

“This listing helps inform decision-making to keep Californians safe,” said La Merrill.

La Merrill recently received a Chancellor’s Fellow award to help fund her pioneering research—and involve students, including undergraduates, in further exciting discoveries.

The Chancellor’s Fellows program, supported in part by the Parents Fund, sparks groundbreaking research that prepares students like yours to address our world’s greatest challenges.

Up to a dozen scholars receive Chancellor’s Fellows awards each year. This year’s recipients represent fields ranging from mathematics and physics to education, engineering, astronomy, psychology, nutrition and more. They each receive an award of $25,000 to pursue research that is usually groundbreaking in nature, giving students an opportunity to participate hands-on in the acquisition of new knowledge.

And the $25,000 award often offers an amazing return on investment, serving as seed money for projects that can later reap millions in external support.

You can learn more about our newest Chancellor’s Fellows in this story in Dateline, our main campus newsletter.

Because Chancellor’s Fellows enhance the student experience across campus, I will feature stories about them periodically throughout the year.

And in the meantime, please know that support for the Parents Fund helps keep UC Davis research and teaching on the cutting edge.

For more information about how parent giving makes a difference in students’ lives, contact Cari DuBois-Wright, Associate Director of Development in Parent Giving, at, 510-388-3605. You can visit our Parents Fund website here as well as learn more about our Family Fellows

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