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 exposure to environmental contaminants during critical life stages, including pregnancy, early development, puberty, and menopause. Her work includes both identification of important sources of exposure and determination of subsequent exposure-related health effects within vulnerable populations. She is particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms by which exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may affect hormonally driven developmental processes, such as growth, neurodevelopment, and aging, with potential long-term impacts on health. Dr. Watkins is currently pursuing this research in the context of two large, NIEHS-funded birth cohort studies in Mexico City and Puerto Rico.

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

  • Watkins DJ, Meeker JD, Tamayo-Ortiz M, Sánchez BN, Schnaas L, Peterson KE, Téllez-Rojo MM. 2021. Gestational and peripubertal phthalate exposure in relation to attention performance in childhood and adolescence. Environmental Research. 196:110911.
  • Zimmerman E*, Watkins DJ*, Huerta-Montanez G, Rosario Z, Feric Z, Manjourides J, Vélez Vega CM, Figueroa A, Hines M, Martens A, Cordero JF, Alshawabkeh AN, Meeker JD. 2021. Associations of gestational phthalate exposure and non-nutritive suck among infants from the PROTECT birth cohort study. Environment International. 152:106480. * authors contributed equally
  • Watkins DJ, Torres Zayas HR, Vélez Vega CM, Rosario Z, Welton M, Agosto Arroyo LD, Cardona N, Díaz Reguero ZJ, Santos Rivera A, Huerta-Montañez G, Brown P, Alshawabkeh A, Cordero JF, Meeker 2020. Investigating the impact of Hurricane Maria on an ongoing birth cohort in Puerto Rico. Population & Environment. 42, 95-111.
  • Ashrap P, Meeker JD, Sánchez BN, Basu N, Tamayo-Ortiz M, Solano-González, Mercado-García A, Téllez-Rojo MM, Peterson KE, Watkins DJ. In utero and peripubertal metals exposure in relation to reproductive hormones and sexual maturation and progression among boys in Mexico City. Environmental Health. 19(1):124.
  • Rodríguez-Carmona Y, Ashrap P, Calafat AM, Ye X, Rosario-Pabón Z, Bedrosian L, Vélez Vega CM, Alshawabkeh AN, Cordero JF, Meeker JD, Watkins DJ. 2020. 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. 30(1):56-69.
  • Cathey AL, Watkins DJ, Sánchez BN, Tamayo-Ortiz M, Solano-Gonzalez M, Torres-Olascoaga L, Téllez-Rojo MM, Peterson KE, Meeker JD. 2020. Onset and tempo of sexual maturation is differentially associated with gestational phthalate exposure between boys and girls in a Mexico City birth cohort. Environment International. 136:105469.
  • Ashrap P, Watkins DJ, Rosario-Pabón Z, Vélez Vega CM, Brown P, Cordero JF, Alshawabkeh AN, 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.

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