Sheela Sathyanarayana, MPH, MD

Associate Professor, Pediatrics - General Pediatrics (Primary department)
Adjunct Associate Professor, Env. and Occ. Health Sciences

Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Adjunct Associate Professor within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington.  Dr. Sathyanarayana serves as the co-director of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit in Region X. Her research interests focus on exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals including phthalates and bisphenol A and their impact on reproductive development. Dr. Sathyanarayana serves as the center director for The Infant Development and Environment Study which is a multi-center cohort study of phthalate exposures in pregnancy and health outcomes in children. She was named Outstanding New Investigator within the University of Washington Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health (CEEH). She currently serves as chair for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee and serves on the National Academies of Sciences, National Research Council Committee on Endocrine-Related Low Dose Toxicity.

Contact Information

Office: 2001 8th Avenue
Box: CW8-6, PO Box 5371
Seattle, WA 98145-5005
Tel: 206-884-1037
Fax: 206-884-3790

Research Interests

  • Environmental Endocrine Disruptors, Pediatric Environmental Health, Reproductive Toxicology, Birth defects
  • My research interests focus on in utero and early life exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) and their impact on child reproductive development. As part of my clinical effort, I am the co-director for the UW Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU).

Teaching interests


My interests include children's environmental health, environmental epidemiology, and risk communication.


MPH, Epidemiology, University of Washington,
MD, Medicine, University of Southern California,


Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit
Provide training and education to other physicians and residents in training regarding the evidence base for environmental exposures and asthma and how to incorporate the evidence in to clinical practice.
Funder: CDC/EPA
Role: Co-Director

The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES)
TIDES is a multi-center (Seattle, WA, Minneapolis, MN, San Francisco, CA and Rochester, NY) cohort study of prenatal environmental exposures and infant reproductive outcomes. We will examine phthalate concentrations in first trimester urine samples in women in relation to intermediate reproductive phenotypes. The primary aims of TIDES are to: 1. Examine anogenital distance (males and females), penile width, and anoscrotal distance in relation to prenatal environmental phthalate exposures and 2. To establish population normative values for anogenital distance (males and females), anoscrotal distance, and penile width.
Funder: NIEHS
Role: Site PI, Clinical Director, Co-investigator

University of Washington Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health Pilot Grant
A Pilot Study of the Impact of Fetal Nutrition and Environmental Exposures on Placental Gene Expression and Methylation Patterns in Relation to Fetal Growth.
This study will examine the association between nutritional and endocrine disrupting chemicals from pregnant women and placental gene transcription and methylation patterns related to fetal growth. Results will help direct future studies examining early childhood growth patterns.
Role: PI

University of Washington Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health
The theme of this Center GEEH is "Biochemical and Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Human Variability in Response to Environmental Exposures". The purpose of this NIEHS Center is to provide an administrative infrastructure and technical support to foster the multidisciplinary collaborations necessary to extend basic mechanistic studies on environmental health problems to direct application in human populations, with an emphasis on "gene x environment" interactions.
Role: Junior Investigator

Bisphenol A levels and Endometriosis Risk in Reproductive Age Women
The overall goal of this project is to investigate the relationship between bisphenol A (BPA) levels and the risk of endometriosis in a population-based study of women in Washington State. A population-based case-control study will be conducted among 18-49 year old female enrollees of a large mixed-model healthcare organization in western Washington State to to determine if there is an association between urinary BPA levels and endometriosis risk.
Funder: NIEHS
Role: Consultant

Prenatal Phthalate Exposure and Infant Hormone Concentrations
We will measure infant hormone concentrations as they are related to prenatal phthalate concentrations in women in the TIDES cohort. Because phthalate exposure is anti-androgenic, we hypothesize that increased prenatal phthalate concentrations will be associated with lower infant testosterone concentrations.
Funder: Forsythia Foundation
Role: PI

Genetics and the Environment Associated with Male Reproduction (GEAR)
GEAR will genotype candidate genes and repeat polymorphism length in 400 male infants recruited in relation to intermediate male reproductive phenotypes (anogenital distance, anoscrotal distance, and penile width). We will obtain and genotype buccal swab/FTA card DNA samples from infants during already scheduled birth exams in TIDES. We will first examine the association between genetic variation in AR, ESR1, ESR2, SRD5A2, ATF3, INSL3/LGR8, CTGF, CYR61 and shortened AGD and ASD, and smaller PW; then proceed to test whether this association is modified by first trimester urine phthalate exposures.
Funder: NIEHS
Role: PI

Promoting Optimal Parenting
The first few years of a child's life are important to their long term cognitive and emotional development. Children's cognitive development during this time frame, especially around language and reciprocal communication, has a profound impact on later ability to succeed in school. We will study the effects of parent education and the provision of specific tools and recommendations for appropriate developmental stimulation over the first 3 years of life.
Funder: NICHD
Role: Co-Investigator

Seattle Children's Hospital Global Alliance for Prematurity and Stillbirth Pilot Grant
Project Title: A Pilot Study of the Impact of Nutritional and Environmental Factors on Placental Gene Expression and Methylation Patterns in Relation to Fetal and Postnatal Growth and Weight Gain.
Role: Co-Investigator

The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES)
This supplemental funding supports conducting birth exams within girls in the TIDES study. We will obtain weight, height, and anogenital distance measurements in order to examine prenatal phthalate exposures in relation to changes in anogenital distance in girls.
Funder: NIEHS
Role: Co-Investigator

TIDES Supplement II
This gift supports re-contacting moms' of girls within the TIDES study and obtaining one year questionnaire data.
Funder: Private gift
Role: Co-Investigator

The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES)
Dietary Phthalate Exposure in Pregnant Women
This supplement supports a Hispanic graduate student at the University of Washington to participate in a project examining how diet contributes to phthalate exposures in pregnant women. Dr. Sathyanarayana is the master's committee chair and direct mentor for this student.
Funder: NIEHS
Role: Co-Investigator

Pilot Intervention Trial to Reduce Environmental Exposures in Pregnant Women
A number of scientific and advocacy organizations recommend reducing endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) exposures in pregnant women but no evidence based recommendations exist. This study will pilot a dietary intervention to reduce EDC exposures in 20 pregnant women.
Funder: Seattle Children's Research Institute Center for Health, Behavior, and Development
Stimulus Funds Award
Role: PI

The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES)

Prenatal Phthalate Exposure and Infant Hormone Concentrations

Genetics and the Environment Associated with Male Reproduction (GEAR)
Selected Publications

Manuscripts in Refereed Journals

  1. Sathyanarayana S, Beaudet N, Omri K, Karr C. Predicting Children's Blood Lead Levels From Exposure to School Drinking Water in Seattle, Washington, USA. Ambul Pediatr. 2006 Sep-Oct;6(5):288-92.
  2. Sathyanarayana S, Karr C, Lozano P, Calafat A, Brown E, Liu F, Swan SH. Baby Care Products: Possible Sources of Infant Phthalate Exposure. Pediatrics. Feb. 2008.*
  3. Sathyanarayana S. Phthalates and Children’s Health. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care. February. 2008
  4. Sathyanarayana S, Calafat AM, Liu F, Swan SH. Maternal and infant urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations: are they related? Environ Res. 2008 Nov;108(3):413-8. Epub 2008 Aug 19.
  5. Karr CJ, Rudra CB, Miller KA, Gould TR, Larson T, Sathyanarayana S, Koenig JQ. Infant exposure to fine particulate matter and traffic and risk of hospitalization for RSV bronchiolitis in a region with lower ambient air pollution. Environ Res. 2009 Apr;109(3):321-7. Epub 2009 Feb 10.
  6. Meeker JD, Sathyanarayana S, Swan SH. Phthalates and other additives in plastics: human exposure and associated health outcomes. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Jul 27;364(1526):2097-113.
  7. Sathyanarayana S, Zhou C, Beard LA, Grady R. Measurement and Correlates of Anogenital Distance in Healthy, Newborn Infants. International Journal of Andrology. 2010 Jan:33(2): 317-323.
  8. Sathyanarayana S, Basso O, Karr C, Lozano PL, Alavanja M, Sandler D, Hoppin JA. Maternal Pesticide Use and Birth Weight in the Agricultural Health Study? Journal of Agromedicine, 2010 April:15(2): 127-136.
  9. Braun JM, Kalkbrenner AE, Calafat AM, Bernert JT, Ye X, Silva MJ, Barr DB, Sathyanarayana S, Lanphear BP. Variability and Predictors of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentrations during Pregnancy. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Jan;119(1):131-7.
  10. Parker JD, Rich DQ, Glinianaia SV, Leem JH, Wartenberg D, Bell ML, Bonzini M, Brauer M, Darrow L, Gehring U, Gouveia N, Grillo P, Ha E, van den Hooven EH, Jalaludin B, Jesdale BM, Lepeule J, Morello-Frosch R, Morgan GG, Slama R, Pierik FH, Pesatori AC, Sathyanarayana S, Seo J, Strickland M, Tamburic L, Woodruff TJ. The International Collaboration on Air Pollution and Pregnancy Outcomes: Initial Results. Environ Health Perspect. 2011, February. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002725.
  11. Sathyanarayana S, Braun J, Yolton K, Liddy S, and Lanphear B. Case report: High Prenatal Bisphenol A Exposure and Infant Neonatal Neurobehavior. Environ Health Perspect . 2011 Aug; 119(8): 1170-5. Epub 2011 Apr 21.*
  12. Roth C and Sathyanarayana S. Mechanisms affecting neuroendocrine and epigenetic regulation of body weight and onset of puberty: potential implications in the child born small for gestational age (SGA). Rev Endoc Metabl Disord. 2012 Mar;120(3):a102-3. [Epub ahead of print]
  13. Sathyanarayana S, Focareta J, Dailey T, Buchanan S. Environmental Exposures: How to Counsel in the Prenatal Clinical Setting. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb 14. [Epub ahead of print]*
  14. Sathyanarayana S, Swan SH, Farin FM, Wilkerson HW, Bamshad M, Grady R, Zhou , Schwartz SM. A Pilot Study of the Association between Genetic Polymorphisms involved in Estrogen Signaling and Infant Male Genital Phenotypes. Asian Journal of Andrology. 2012 May 14. doi: 10.1038/aja.2012.27. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 22580635 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher].*
  15. Grady R, Sathyanarayana S. An Update on Phthalates and Male Reproductive Development and Function. Curr Urol Rep. 2012 Jun 22. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22723150 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher].
  16. Dadvand P, Parker J, Bell ML, Bonzini M, Brauer M, Darrow LA, Gehring U, Glinianaia SV, Gouveia N, Ha E, Leem JH, van den Hooven EH, Jalaludin B, Jesdale BM, Lepeule J, Morello-Frosch R, Morgan GG, Pesatori FH, Pless-Mulloli T, Rich DQ, Sathyanarayana S, Seo J, Slama R, Strickland M, Tamburic L, Wartenbern D, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Woodruff TJ. Maternal Exposure to Particulate Air Pollution and Term Birth Weight; A Multi-Country Ealuation of Effect and Heterogeneity. Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Feb 6. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23384584 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher].
  17. Sathyanarayana S, Rudra CB, Zhou C, Gould TR, Larson T, Koenig JQ, and Karr CJ. Prenatal Ambient Air Pollution Exposure and Small for Gestational Age Birth in the Puget Sound Air Basin. Air Qual, Atmos. & Health. Accepted. 2012 Aug.
  18. Braun J, Sathyanarayana S, Hauser R. Phthalate Exposure and Children's Health. Current Op in Pediatrics. Accepted. 2012 Dec.
  19. Sathyanarayana S, Alcedo G, Saelens B, Zhou C, Dills R, Yu J, Lanphear B. Unexpected Results in a Randomized Dietary Trial to Reduce Phthalate and Bisphenol A Exposures. J Expo Sci and Env Epi. Accepted. 2012 Dec.*
  20. Trasande L, Attina T, Sathyanarayana S, Spanier A, Blustein J. Race/Ethnicity-Specific Associations of Urinary Phthalates with Childhood Body Mass in a Nationally Representative Sample. Environ Health Perspect. Accepted 2013 Jan.
  21. Woodard DB, Love TMT, Thurston SW, Rupert D, Sathyanarayana S, Swan SH. Latent Factor Regression Models For Grouped Outcomes. Biometrics. Accepted 2013 Feb.

Book Chapters


Published books, videos, software.

American Academy of Pediatrics PREP Audio September 2013: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. Sathyanarayana S, Lee M, Galvez M.

Other publications

  1. Sathyanarayana S. Problem with Plastics. AAP News. American Academy of Pediatrics 2009 Aug;30(8):29.
  2. Berg J, Sathyanarayana S. Bisphenol A (BPA) Derivatives in Dental Resins Safe for Kids—When Precautions are Followed. AAP News. American Academy of Pediatrics. 2011 April.
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