GRAPE Research Team

Meet the GRAPE Research Team

Nichole Warwick, Sonoma SASS profile

A pivotal experience in 2012 catalyzed Nichole’s engagement as an advocate in environmental health – at age 37 she was diagnosed with stage 2B metastatic breast cancer. After extensive genetic testing, it was determined that her breast cancer was most likely the result of childhood exposures to pesticides growing up in an agricultural community in California’s Central Valley. This experience prompted her to take an advocacy role in an effort to protect the health of her family, students, and community here in Sonoma County. 

Nichole has worked at the intersection of psychology, education, and the environment for over 20 years. She is a co-founder and co-director of Sonoma Safe Ag Safe Schools. Her work has received Special Congressional Recognition, and she was recognized by Sonoma County Conservation Council with the Outstanding Environmental Education Program/Educator Award in 2012. She developed the North Bay Environmental Health Network at Daily Acts and is co-founder of Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxics Safety (FACTS). Nichole serves on the Board of Directors for Conservation Action Fund for Education, the Advisory Board of the Leadership Institute, and the Steering Committee for Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative. She served on the Board of Directors for the Ceres Community Project from 2013-2019.

Jayla Burton, Program Officer, Breast Cancer Action profile

Jayla is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with dual Masters Degrees in Public Health and Behavioral Health Science. She has a passion for reducing health disparities, promoting social justice, and advocating for best practices in healthcare. She has worked in Global Health, Women’s Health, Behavioral Health, and Harm Reduction. She admires Breast Cancer Action’s drive to identify the root causes of breast cancer. As the Program Officer, Jayla works with Breast Cancer Action to execute the Think Before You Pink® (TB4UP) campaign and all other national campaigns. Jayla also facilitates engagement year-round promoting policy and advocacy educational campaigns. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and learning about different cultures’ dance styles and techniques. She is originally from Ohio, but enjoys the Bay Area and all it has to offer. 

Jane Sellen, Co-Director, Californians for Pesticide Reform profile

As Co-Director for the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform, Jane is responsible for overseeing CPR’s statewide organizing work in seven agricultural counties, identifying and pursuing policy reform goals, and securing funding for the work of the coalition. She also works with research partners at UC Davis and UC San Francisco to identify research needs to support our policy reform goals. 

Prior to joining CPR in 2015, she was development director for seven years for Sierra Streams Institute, a watershed science institute in a Gold Rush town in the Sierra Foothills. In that position, she was community co-PI in a long term CBCRP-funded study of links between breast cancer and exposure to legacy mining contaminants. Jane also led a community stakeholder effort to develop a restoration plan for the Bear River. In my current position, she is interested in research efforts that measure actual exposure to agricultural pesticides experienced by frontline communities, in service of policy reform goals aimed at reducing exposure.

Peggy Reynolds, PhD, MPH University of California, San Francisco profile

Dr. Peggy Reynolds is an epidemiologist with research interests focused on environmental risk factors for cancer. Her research program has incorporated geographic information system tools and studies of biomarkers of exposure and effect to assess risk relationships for children and adults. A founding member and co-investigator for a large prospective study of women, the California Teachers Study, her work has examined a number of factors for risk of cancer and other diseases in women.

Dr. Reynolds co-directs the Integrated Health Sciences Facility Core (IHSFC) for UCSF’s newly NIEHS funded Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) Center, designed to more broadly support and foster environmental health research for students, faculty and extended partners studying extrinsic influences on cancer and other health outcomes.

Dr. Reynolds is published in over 130 research articles on the topics of environmental health, toxicity, and cancer. Her research activities are extensive and include Legacy Mining Contamination in Preschools, Occupational Chemical Exposures in California and Breast Cancer Risk, and Persistent Organic Pollutants and Mammographic Density, to name a few.

Julie Von Behren,  University of California, San Francisco profile

Julie Von Behren, MPH, is a Research Data Analyst in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  She is part of Dr. Reynolds’s research team, focusing on environmental and occupational risks for cancer. Julie has served as the project coordinator for many health studies, including childhood cancer and breast cancer, an intervention study of Vietnamese nail salon workers, and a study of exposures to mining residue among Gold Country residents. She has extensive experience working with California Cancer Registry data, census data, and statewide environmental exposure databases.

Michelle Hladik, Research Chemist, United States Geological Survey profile

Michelle is a PhD environmental organic chemist whose current research focuses on the fate and transport of current-use pesticides and other organic contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial environments.

Much of her research is focused on pesticides but also includes other organic contaminants. She directs a research laboratory that is focused on developing new methods to measure pesticides and their degradates in water, sediment, and biota. Her laboratory specializes in small samples sizes, complex matrices, and non-standard procedures. Additionally, she also works on developing methods and measuring disinfection by-products in treated water (especially those that are not-currently regulated and are understudied) with a focus on wastewater discharges. Research team link:

Dana Kolpin, Research Hydrologist, United States Geological Survey profile

Scientist Dana Kolpin was presented the International Environmental Award by Reciphram celebrating his research on the occurrence, sources, fate, and effects of environmental contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides. Dana started his career with the USGS in 1986. 

His research interests include the fate, transport, and effects of environmental contaminants (e.g. pesticides, human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, hormones, etc.) in the environment. He was the project lead of the USGS Toxic Program’s CECs in the Environment Project ( for its entire history (1998 – 2017). He is now project lead of the USGS Toxic Program’s newly formed Food Project (i.e. understanding the potential for health risks from contaminant exposures associated with production, manufacturing, use, and consumption of food, beverage, and feedstock products: 

He has published over 200 papers and reports on environmental contaminants. His paper “Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance” was a seminal paper on the occurrence of CECs in water resources, and was the first national-scale study of such compounds conducted in the United States. Research team link: Food Resources Science Team (

GRAton PEsticides (GRAPE) Research Project

Sonoma SASS has been chosen to be part of a community-based research project to learn if agricultural pesticides are making their way into the domestic water supply and ambient air in Graton, CA.

The GRAton PEsticides (GRAPE) Research Project is a reconnaissance effort to gather water and air samples to test for pesticides contamination in order to better understand potential health risks.


Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR)
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Care Center (UCSF)
Breast Cancer Action (BCA)
United States Geological Survey (USGS)


California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP)

For much more information on the GRAPE Research Project