Health Scientist

Kembra Howdeshell, Ph.D., is a health scientist with the Office of Health Assessment and Translation in the National Toxicology Program at NIEHS.  She provides NTP with expertise in endocrinology, reproductive biology and toxicology.  She has served as lead scientist at OHAT on projects relating to the Pregnancy Outcomes Associated with Cancer Chemotherapy Use during Pregnancy.  She is also pursuing laboratory studies assessing the potential for cumulative effects of estrogenic isoflavones in soy infant formula and the onset of daizen metabolism during development in rodents.

Howdeshell completed her undergraduate studies in Biology and Spanish at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas (1991) and her M.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas (1996). She earned her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia (2002).  Her doctoral research focused on the effects of estrogen-mimicking chemicals on reproductive tract development and function in mice.  Howdeshell also served as a research fellow at World Wildlife Fund (2001-2002) in Washington DC, where she published a detailed literature review on the influence of the thyroid hormone system on brain development in humans and rodents, and the effects of thyroid hormone disrupting chemicals on this process. As a postdoctoral scientist, she studied the molecular mechanisms of thyroid hormone-directed brain development working on the African clawed frog in the Environmental Toxicology Program at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan (2002-2004).  Howdeshell also worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology Division, National Human and Environmental Effects Laboratory of the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) (2004-2009), where she focused on the effects of antiandrogenic chemicals on male reproductive development.  Her postdoctoral research on the dose additive effects of reproductive toxicant phthalate esters has been highlighted in special editorials in Toxicological Sciences and used by the National Academy of Sciences in their 2008 review of the Cumulative Effects of Phthalate Esters in Risk Assessment.

Selected Publications