Nicole Gatto
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  • CV
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  • Degrees
    PhD, Epidemiology, USC
    MPH, Community Health Sciences/Epidemiology, UCLA
    BA, Biological Psychology, UC Berkeley
  • Research Interests
    Epidemiology, Risk factors for cardiovascular and neurological diseases,
    Parkinson’s disease, Cognitive dysfunction

Nicole Gatto is currently an associate professor in the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University, where she also serves as director of the PhD in Health Promotion Sciences program. Previously, she served as an associate professor of epidemiology at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health.

Gatto earned her MPH from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA and her PhD in epidemiology from the USC Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine. She subsequently completed a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA in environmental neuroepidemiology as well as a one-year internship in communicable disease control and prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Gatto holds certifications in Public Health (CPH), SAS and Geographical Information Science (GIS), and college teaching.

Gatto’s research has focused on environmental, occupational, lifestyle, and genetic risk, in addition to protective factors for cardiovascular and neurological diseases, specifically Parkinson’s disease and dementias/cognitive impairment.

In 2009, Gatto co-founded the Milagro Allegro Community Garden, a vibrant and thriving community space that integrates urban farming, art, and education in the Highland Park neighborhood of Northeast Los Angeles. In 2010, inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, Gatto and colleagues developed LA Sprouts, a nutrition, cooking, and gardening intervention aimed at reducing the risk of childhood obesity in predominantly Latino elementary school-aged children. During 2012-2017, she led the evaluation of the Little Green Fingers project, which constructed eight community gardens across Los Angeles County.

Gatto was a recipient of the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2014, and in 2018, was awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant with which she traveled to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to teach epidemiology to public health professionals at Mongolia’s National Center of Public Health. Gatto is a member of several professional societies, including the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology and the American Public Health Association. Gatto has also served as a reviewer for prominent public health journals including Environmental Health PerspectivesJournal of the Neurological Sciences, and Public Health Nutrition.

Gatto is a native Angeleno inspired by the work of Wangari Maathai, who founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya, and Alice Waters, who created the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, CA.

For Gatto’s website, please visit

Co-authored with J. Sinsheimer, M. Cockburn, L.A. Escobedo, Y. Borderlon, B. Ritz. “Vitamin D Receptor Gene Polymorphisms and Parkinson’s Disease in a Population with High Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure.” Neurological Sciences 352 (2015): 88–93.

Co-authored with D. Deapen, S. Stoyonoff, R. Pinder, S. Narayan, Y. Bordelon, B. Ritz. “Reproductive Factors and Parkinson’s Disease in the California Teachers Study.” Parkinsonism Related Discord 20 (2014): 1149–156.

Co-authored with V.W. Henderson, H. Hodis, J.A. St. John, F. Lurmann, J.C. Chen, W.J. Mack. “Air Pollution and Cognitive Function in Healthy Adults in Los Angeles.” Neurotoxicology 40 (2014): 1–7.

Co-authored with R. Varma, M. Torres, F. Segal-Gidan, T.Y. Wong, P.L. Johnson, W.J. Mack. “Retinal Microvascular Abnormalities and Cognitive Function in Middle-aged and Older Latino Adults in Los Angeles.” Ophthalmic Epidemiology 19 (2012): 127–36.

Co-authored with E.E. Ventura, L.T. Cook, L.G. Gyllenhammer, J.N. Davis. “LA Sprouts: A Garden-Based Nutrition Intervention Impacts Motivation and Preferences for Fruits and Vegetables in Latino Youth.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 116 (2012): 913–20.

Co-authored with Y. Bordelon, M. Gatz, B. Ritz. “Personality Characteristics and Motor Skills attributed to Occupations in Parkinson’s Disease.” Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology 24 (2011): 18–25.

Environmental & Occupational Health
Emerging Chronic & Infectious Diseases Worldwide