The Exposome & Metabolic Health


WHATS GETTING UNDERNEATH YOUR SKIN? The 12th Annual COAST/Sugar Stress Environment, and Weight (SSEW) Symposium, will unite researchers, healthcare providers, environmental health, and policy advocates from across the UC Campuses in a day-long conference focusing on how exposures from our environment, both chemical and psychological, get underneath the skin and affect human metabolic health and obesity. Obesity and related chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, are some of the leading health crises of the 21st century and scientists are still grappling with how rapid changes in our physical and social environments may play a key role. 

REGISTER TO ATTEND IN PERSON OR STREAM LIVE on Friday, September 21st, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (PT). Select the ticket type (in person, or online live stream) when you register. Those who register to stream will be emailed a link so they may tune in from any place, live. 



9:15 AM - 9:45 AM Morning Meditation, Dr. Eve Ekman will facilitate a guided meditation with a focus on the earth and our environment. 

10:00 AM - 10:05 AM Introduction to the Day, Samantha Schilf, Executive Director of the SSEW Initiative + Book Give Aways! (Tweet or Facebook Post to let us know you're at the SSEW Symposium and use our event Hashtags #Exposome and #SSEW2018 and be automatically entered to win!)

10:05AM - 10:10AM Dr. Dan Lowenstein, UCSF, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost gives Opening Remarks

10:10 AM - 10:25 AM Introducing The Exposome, Dr. Tracey Woodruff, Director of the UCSF Environmental Health Initiative, offers an overview of the field of toxic exposures and their impact onhealth outcomes. 

10:25 AM - 10:35 AM The Social Exposome: An Overview, Dr. Aric PratherUCSF Professor and Co-Director of the Consortium for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment (COAST) discusses how social stressors and relationships can act like environmental toxins, a concept called “social exposome”. 

10:35 AM - 10:55 AM Stress & Obesity, Dr. Barbara Laraia, UC Berkeley researcher reveals why neighborhoods and stress have a major impact on obesity and pregnancy. 

10:55 AM - 11:15 AM Equity and the Environment, Dr. Rachel Morello Frosch, UC Berkeley

11:20 AM - 11:40 AM The Obesogens: What You Need to Know, Dr. Bruce BlumbergUC Irvine Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology and leader in the field of “obesogens” discusses the role of exposures that disrupt our endocrine systems in the obesity epidemic. 

11:40 AM - 12:00 PM Do chemicals make it harder to burn calories? Dr. Michele La MerrillUC Davis Professor of environmental toxicology will discuss how how calories are burned and whether some chemicals make it harder for us to burn calories and stay slim. 

12:00 PM 12:20 PM Does Air Pollution Make You Fat and Pre-Diabetic? Dr. John BalmesUC San Francisco Professor gives insight on how air pollution may impact obesity and metabolic health. 

12:20 PM - 1:10 PM LUNCH BREAK Lunch not provided, but we recommend local healthy eateries in walking distance such as Beautifull

12:20PM - 12:50PM: UCOP LIVE ONLINE PANEL"More than skin deep: How environment, diet, and social experiences affect child and adult health." Panel moderated by by Elissa Epel, PhD, UCSF.  Panel includes: Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, UCSF, Martyn Smith, PhD, UC Berkeley, Kimberly Harley, PhD, UC Berkeley, and Candice Price, PhD, UC Davis will be answering questions from the public in a live session via Facebook Live. Want to participate? Log into Facebook and visit the UC Facebook page (

1:10 PM - 1:35 PM Processed Food: Impact on Metabolism and Environment, Dr. Jenny JayUCLA Professor and Researcher at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability provides perspectives on how processed foods and water use impact both the environment and public health.

1:35 PM - 2:25 PM Policy Panel: Multiple Paths to Change, Moderated by Dr. Laura Schmidt, Professor, UCSF, Co-Director of SSEW Initiative, and expert on food policy and food environment.
Panelists include: Lauren Zeise, Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), Jeanne Rizzo, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and Meg Schwarzman, UCB Center for Occupational and Environmental Health 

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM Exposures, Metabolic Health, and the Aging BrainDr. Dale Bredesen, UCLA Physician and leading expert on neurodegenerative diseases discusses how environmental toxins may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

3:00 PM - 3:10 PM Detoxify Your Personal Exposome, Wolfram Alderson, MS, a social impact innovator and expert, will discuss how we can remove toxins from our personal ecosystems and our communities. 

3:15 PM - 3:25 PM Closing Comments Dr. Elissa Epel, UCSF, Professor, Director at COAST and SSEW


“We are at a critical moment in the history of human health and the environment, and the science we will discuss is of utmost important to public health, policy, and individuals. We must raise awareness of how our air, our food, and our social environments are impacting our health in dramatic ways, affecting us now and affecting the next generations,” says Elissa Epel, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the SSEW Initiative and the UCSF Consortium for Obesity Assessment Study and Treatment (COAST). “This symposium will cover critical new science and policy actions that are of interest to all, from students to scientists to our grandparents”. Speakers and panelists will describe the wide reaching and invisible impact of social stress and environmental toxics in our air and food on obesity. “Science shows that we are all exposed to multiple industrial chemicals, many of which are a concern for metabolic diseases. Pregnant women, children, communities of color and low-income communities can be more impacted by these exposures increasing the urgency to take actions to prevent harmful exposures” said Dr. Tracey Woodruff, Director at UCSF Environmental Health Initiative, co-sponsor of the event.

For more details, vistit our website at
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The Exposome & Metabolic Health is sponsored by COASTSSEW, the UCSF Nutrition and Obesity Research Center, and the UCSF Environmental Health Initiative and the Center for Health and Community at UCSF. It is led by Drs. Elissa EpelLaura Schmidt, and Samantha Schilf the Executive Director of the SSEW Initiative


Friday, September 21, 2018 at 10:00am to 4:00pm

Laurel Heights Auditorium
3333 California Street, San Francisco, California 94118

Event Type

Conference, Lecture/Seminar, Special Event, Academic


School of Medicine


Students, Postdocs, Faculty, Staff, Local Community, Alumni, Patients


Laurel Heights




Department of Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
Contact Info


Event Registration Required

This event requires registration.