Faculty Profile

Deborah  Watkins, PhD

Deborah Watkins, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences
  • 6611C SPH I
  • 1415 Washington Heights
  • Ann Arbor, MI  48109-2029

Dr. Deborah Watkins is a Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Her research is focused on investigating causal relationships between exposure to environmental contaminants during critical periods of development and subsequent health effects. Specifically, she is interested in the molecular mechanisms by which exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may affect hormonally driven developmental processes, such as growth, neurodevelopment, and puberty, with long-term impacts on health. Chemicals of interest include phthalates, phenols, parabens, and flame retardants. Dr. Watkins is currently working with large birth cohorts in both Mexico City and Puerto Rico as part of two NEIHS and EPA funded Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Centers.

  • PhD, Environmental Health, Boston University, 2011
  • MPH, Environmental Health, Boston University, 2007
  • B.A., Clinical Laboratory Science, University of Maine-Orono, 1994

  • Ashrap P, Watkins DJ, Sánchez BN, Téllez-Rojo MM, Tamayo y Ortiz M, Peterson KE and Meeker JD (2019). In utero and peripubertal metals exposure in relation to reproductive hormones and sexual maturation onset and progression in girls. Environmental Research. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108630. In Press
  • Rodríguez-Carmona Y, Ashrap P, Calafat AM, Ye X, Rosario-Pabón Z, Bedrosian L, Vélez Vega CM, Alshawabkeh AN, Cordero JF, Meeker JD and Watkins DJ. (2019). Determinants and characterization of exposure to phthalates, DEHTP, and DINCH among pregnant women in the PROTECT birth cohort in Puerto Rico. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. doi: 10.1038/s41370-019-0168-8. In Press
  • Ashrap P, Watkins DJ, Rosario-Pabón Z, Vélez Vega CM, Brown P, Cordero JF, Alshawabkeh AN and Meeker JD (2018). Elevated concentrations of urinary triclocarban, phenol and paraben among pregnant women in northern Puerto Rico: Predictors and trends. Environment International. 121:990-1002.
  • Watkins DJ, Sánchez BN, Téllez-Rojo MM, Lee JM, Mercado-García A, Blank-Goldenberg C, Peterson KE and Meeker JD (2017). Impact of Phthalate and BPA exposure during in utero windows of susceptibility on reproductive hormones and sexual maturation in peripubertal males. Environmental Health. 16:69.
  • Watkins DJ, Peterson KE, Ferguson KK, Mercado-García A, Tamayo y Ortiz M, Cantoral A, Meeker JD and Téllez-Rojo MM (2016). Relating phthalate and BPA exposure to metabolism in peripubescence: The role of exposure timing, sex, and puberty. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 101(1):79-88.
  • Watkins DJ, Ferguson KK, Anzalota Del Toro LV, Alshawabkeh AN, Cordero JF and Meeker JD (2015). Associations between urinary phenol and paraben concentrations and markers of oxidative stress and inflammation among pregnant women in Puerto Rico. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 218:212-219.
  • Watkins DJ, Eliot M, Calafat AM, Yolton K, Lanphear BP and Braun JM (2014). Variability and predictors of urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites during early childhood. Environmental Science & Technology. 48:8881-8890.
  • Watkins DJ, Josson J, Elston B, Bartell SM, Shin HM, Vieira VM, Savitz DA, Fletcher T and Wellenius GA (2013). Exposure to perfluoroalkyl acids and markers of kidney function among children and adolescents living near a chemical plant. Environmental Health Perspectives. 121(5):625-630.
  • Watkins DJ, McClean MD, Fraser AJ, Weinberg J, Stapleton HM, Sjödin A and Webster TF (2012). Impact of dust from multiple microenvironments and diet on PentaBDE body burden. Environmental Science & Technology. 46(2):1192-1200.
  • Watkins DJ, McClean MD, Fraser AJ, Weinberg J, Stapleton HM, Sjödin A and Webster TF (2011). Exposure to PBDEs in the office environment: Evaluating the relationship between dust, handwipes and serum. Environmental Health Perspectives. 119(9):1247-1252.

Member, International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
Member, Endocrine Society
Member, Society for Epidemiologic Research