Why UCLA EMPH
Biography


Michael Collins,
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Professor, Environmental Health Sciences and Interdepartmental Program in Molecular Toxicology
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Phone: (310) 206-6730
E-mail: mdc@ucla.edu

Associate Director of Student Affairs in the Interdepartmental Program in Molecular Toxicology
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health


Dr. Collins received a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri in Columbia. He then held postdoctoral fellowships at the Harvard School of Public Health and at Children's Hospital Research Foundation/University of Cincinnati. He subsequently became a faculty member in the Developmental Biology program at Cincinnati and did sabbaticals at the Freie Universitat in Berlin, Germany and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.


Research in the Collins laboratory is generally concerned with aspects of developmental toxicology or teratology. A common theme for many of the ongoing projects is understanding gene-environment interactions. In 2008, after many years of working in mammalian species with mixed results in terms of determining mechanisms of action, Collins took a sabbatical to learn a classical developmental system in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Davidson at California Institute of Technology, namely the purple sea urchin. The rationale for this transition was that it had the most well defined gene regulatory network of any developing organism. It was hypothesized that having the gene regulatory network would allow mechanistic understanding of chemical perturbations and that these perturbations would have some degree of evolutionary conservation that would facilitate an understanding of the species-specificity of these compounds.