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Jennifer L. Ames, MS, PhD


Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
2000 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

(510) 891-3892 (phone)

Jennifer Ames, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research.  She researches the etiology of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, with a focus on environmental and genetic risk factors. 

Prior to coming to the DOR, Dr. Ames completed her doctoral training in epidemiology at the University of California Berkeley. Her dissertation work examined the effects of dioxin exposures on neurodevelopment and gene-environment interactions on birthweight.  She also holds a masters of science in environmental health from the Boston University School of Public Health and a bachelor's in history and science from Harvard University.

Current Position(s):

  • Research Scientist, Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Section Affiliations:

Primary Research Interests:

  • Epidemiology of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Environmental exposures and gene/environment interactions

    Healthcare transition outcomes among autistic youth at KPNC

    The study follows a cohort of autistic and non-autistic youth longitudinally to examine several transition indicators measurable in the EHR including: continuation of medications and other treatments during the transition years; length of time elapsed between last pediatric appointment and first adult primary care appointment; and frequency of unnecessary visits to the emergency department and hospitalizations. Evidence will be used to enhance KP’s delivery model for the transition of autistic youth from pediatric to adult health care.
    Investigator: Ames, Jennifer
    Funder: Northern California Community Benefit Programs

    Understanding Barriers to Reproductive Health Care among Women with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    This project will examine both reproductive health disparities and OB/GYN health care gaps for 2300 adolescent and adult women with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) receiving care at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, paying particular attention to differences across sociodemographic characteristics, co-occurring psychiatric and physical health conditions, and type and frequency of other interactions with the health care system. We will also characterize the epidemiology of pregnancy and obstetrics care utilization including frequency of recommended prenatal visits, screenings, and perinatal complications among women with ASD compared with a control sample of neurotypical women. Our findings will inform development of strategies for improving provider knowledge, care practices, and effective health care delivery for this vulnerable population.
    Investigator: Ames, Jennifer
    Funder: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    Interactions of Environmental Chemical Mixtures, Genetics, and Immune Pathways in Autism Spectrum Disorder

    The goal of this K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award is to receive mentored training in polygenic GWAS tools and complex mixtures modeling to position my career toward understanding the roles of GxE interactions and immune disruption in the etiology of autism spectrum disorder(ASD). This research will examine the interplay of cumulative exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), immune markers (cytokines/chemokines), and ASD; examine genetic (maternal and fetal) influences on mid-pregnancy circulating levels of EDCs; and combine K99 methodologic training in polygenic and complex mixtures tools to a study of GxE interactions in ASD. The K99 research will use data from the Early Markers for Autism study (EMA) with possible extension to the NIH ECHO or KPRB Birth Cohort studies during the R00 phase.
    Investigator: Ames, Jennifer
    Funder: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

    Barriers to Obstetric/Gynecological Health Care for Women with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    This study will identify the sociodemographic and health factors associated with low utilization of obstetrics/gynecology services among adult women with autism spectrum disorders and explore whether these women are at higher risk of adverse maternal and birth outcomes than women who do not have autism spectrum disorder.
    Investigator: Ames, Jennifer
    Funder: Northern California Community Benefit Programs
    No results found matching criteria

    Opportunities for Inclusion and Engagement in the Transition of Autistic Youth from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare: A Qualitative Study

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer L; Mahajan, Arjun; Davignon, Meghan N; Massolo, Maria L; Croen, Lisa A

    J Autism Dev Disord. 2023 May;53(5):1850-1861. Epub 2022-03-09.

    PubMed abstract

    Prenatal exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and childhood autism-related outcomes

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer L; Avalos, Lyndsay A; Croen, Lisa A; Ferrara, Assiamira; Hedderson, Monique M; Zhu, Yeyi; program collaborators for Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes,; et al.

    Epidemiology. 2023 May 01;34(3):450-459. Epub 2023-04-03.

    PubMed abstract

    Racial/Ethnic Differences in Psychiatric and Medical Diagnoses Among Autistic Adults

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer L; Morgan, Elizabeth H; Onaiwu, Morénike Giwa; Qian, Yinge; Massolo, Maria L; Croen, Lisa A

    Autism Adulthood. 2022 Dec 01;4(4):290-305. Epub 2022-12-13.

    PubMed abstract

    Coping strategies for COVID-19 pandemic-related stress and mental health during pregnancy

    Author(s): Badon, Sylvia E; Croen, Lisa A; Ferrara, Assiamira; Ames, Jennifer L; Hedderson, Monique M; Young-Wolff, Kelly C; Zhu, Yeyi; Avalos, Lyndsay A

    J Affect Disord. 2022 Jul 15;309:309-313. Epub 2022-04-28.

    PubMed abstract

    Improving the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Health Care of Autistic People

    Author(s): Graham Holmes L; Ames JL; Massolo ML; Nunez DM; Croen LA

    Pediatrics. 2022 Apr 01;149(Suppl 4).

    PubMed abstract

    Considering Toxic Chemicals in the Etiology of Autism

    Author(s): Volk, Heather E; Ames, Jennifer L; Chen, Aimin; Fallin, M Daniele; Hertz-Picciotto, Irva; Halladay, Alycia; Hirtz, Deborah; Lavin, Arthur; Ritz, Beate; Zoeller, Tom; Swanson, Maureen

    Pediatrics. 2022 01 01;149(1).

    PubMed abstract

    Contributions of COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Stressors to Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health During Pregnancy

    Author(s): Avalos, Lyndsay A; Nance, Nerissa; Zhu, Yeyi; Croen, Lisa A; Young-Wolff, Kelly C; Zerbo, Ousseny; Hedderson, Monique M; Ferrara, Assiamira; Ames, Jennifer L; Badon, Sylvia E

    Front Psychiatry. 2022;13:837659. Epub 2022-03-14.

    PubMed abstract

    Associations of COVID-19-Related Health, Healthcare and Economic Factors With Prenatal Depression and Anxiety

    Author(s): Avalos, Lyndsay A; Nance, Nerissa; Badon, Sylvia E; Young-Wolff, Kelly; Ames, Jennifer; Zhu, Yeyi; Hedderson, Monique M; Ferrara, Assiamira; Zerbo, Ousseny; Greenberg, Mara; Croen, Lisa A

    Int J Public Health. 2022;67:1604433. Epub 2022-05-04.

    PubMed abstract

    Maternal Psychiatric Conditions, Treatment With Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer L; Croen, Lisa A; et al.

    Biol Psychiatry. 2021 08 15;90(4):253-262. Epub 2021-04-14.

    PubMed abstract

    Transitioning youth with autism spectrum disorders and other special health care needs into adult primary care: A provider survey

    Author(s): Ames JL; Massolo ML; Davignon MN; Qian Y; Cerros HJ; Croen LA

    Autism. 2021 04;25(3):731-743. Epub 2020-06-18.

    PubMed abstract

    Healthcare service utilization and cost among transition-age youth with autism spectrum disorder and other special healthcare needs

    Author(s): Ames JL; Massolo ML; Davignon MN; Qian Y; Croen LA

    Autism. 2021 04;25(3):705-718. Epub 2020-06-25.

    PubMed abstract

    A profile and review of findings from the Early Markers for Autism study: unique contributions from a population-based case-control study in California

    Author(s): Lyall, Kristen; Ames, Jennifer L; Croen, Lisa A; et al.

    Mol Autism. 2021 03 18;12(1):24. Epub 2021-03-18.

    PubMed abstract

    Prenatal Exposure to Mixtures of Phthalates, Parabens, and Other Phenols and Obesity in Five-Year-Olds in the CHAMACOS Cohort

    Author(s): Berger, Kimberly; Hyland, Carly; Ames, Jennifer L; Mora, Ana M; Huen, Karen; Eskenazi, Brenda; Holland, Nina; Harley, Kim G

    Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 02 12;18(4). Epub 2021-02-12.

    PubMed abstract

    COVID-19 prevalence, symptoms, and sociodemographic disparities in infection among insured pregnant women in Northern California

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer L; Ferrara, Assiamira; Avalos, Lyndsay A; Badon, Sylvia E; Greenberg, Mara B; Hedderson, Monique M; Kuzniewicz, Michael W; Young-Wolff, Kelly C; Zerbo, Ousseny; Zhu, Yeyi; Croen, Lisa A; et al.

    PLoS One. 2021;16(9):e0256891. Epub 2021-09-03.

    PubMed abstract

    Neonatal Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and Subsequent Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disability

    Author(s): Ames JL; Windham GC; Lyall K; Pearl M; Kharrazi M; Yoshida CK; Van de Water J; Ashwood P; Croen LA

    Autism Res. 2020 03;13(3):444-455. Epub 2019-12-10.

    PubMed abstract

    Infection and Fever in Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Findings from the Study to Explore Early Development

    Author(s): Croen LA; Zerbo O; Ames JL; et al.

    Autism Res. 2019 10;12(10):1551-1561. Epub 2019-07-17.

    PubMed abstract

    The Seveso accident: A look at 40 years of health research and beyond.

    Author(s): Eskenazi, Brenda B; Warner, Marcella M; Brambilla, Paolo P; Signorini, Stefano S; Ames, Jennifer J; Mocarelli, Paolo P

    Environment international. 2018 Sep 01;121(Pt 1):71-84. Epub 2018-09-01.

    PubMed abstract

    AHR gene-dioxin interactions and birthweight in the Seveso Second Generation Health Study.

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer J; Warner, Marcella M; Mocarelli, Paolo P; Brambilla, Paolo P; Signorini, Stefano S; Siracusa, Claudia C; Huen, Karen K; Holland, Nina N; Eskenazi, Brenda B

    International journal of epidemiology. 2018 Aug 14;162(Pt 1):55-62. Epub 2018-08-14.

    PubMed abstract

    Neurocognitive and physical functioning in the Seveso Women's Health Study.

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer J; Warner, Marcella M; Brambilla, Paolo P; Mocarelli, Paolo P; Satariano, William A WA; Eskenazi, Brenda B

    Environmental research. 2018 Apr 01;162(Pt 1):55-62. Epub 2017-12-26.

    PubMed abstract

    Field data and numerical modeling: A multiple lines of evidence approach for assessing vapor intrusion exposure risks.

    Author(s): Pennell, Kelly G KG; Scammell, Madeleine K MK; McClean, Michael D MD; Suuberg, Eric M EM; Moradi, Ali A; Roghani, Mohammadyousef M; Ames, Jennifer J; Friguglietti, Leigh L; Indeglia, Paul A PA; Shen, Rui R; Yao, Yijun Y; Heiger-Bernays, Wendy J WJ

    The Science of the total environment. 2016 Jun 15;556():291-301. Epub 2016-03-12.

    PubMed abstract

    Sewer Gas: An Indoor Air Source of PCE to Consider During Vapor Intrusion Investigations.

    Author(s): Pennell, Kelly G KG; Scammell, Madeleine Kangsen MK; McClean, Michael D MD; Ames, Jennifer J; Weldon, Brittany B; Friguglietti, Leigh L; Suuberg, Eric M EM; Shen, Rui R; Indeglia, Paul A PA; Heiger-Bernays, Wendy J WJ

    Ground water monitoring & remediation. 2013 Jun 15;33(3):119-126. Epub 2016-03-12.

    PubMed abstract

    Building the new schoolhouse: the Massachusetts school building authority.

    Author(s): Ames, Jennifer J; Levenstein, Charles C

    New solutions : a journal of environmental and occupational health policy : NS. 2013 Jan 01;23(2):369-87. Epub 2016-03-12.

    PubMed abstract