Melissa Bolotaolo, Ph.D.

Chemical Regulation & Food Safety
  • CV (English)
  • Contact Card

Dr. Bolotaolo is an environmental toxicologist with an interdisciplinary background in analytical chemistry, aquatic toxicology, and environmental science. She has worked on collaborative projects with multiple California regulatory agencies including the Department of Water Resources (DWR), Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), and Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). At Exponent, Dr. Bolotaolo applies her diverse scientific and regulatory background to areas such as environmental risk assessments and ecotoxicology studies to support product registration and stewardship.

Prior to joining Exponent in 2020, Dr. Bolotaolo’s doctoral research focused on solving complex problems relating to environmental toxicology with a broad range of applications. To tackle these environmental issues, she has utilized scientific techniques both in the laboratory and the field. Dr. Bolotaolo has developed analytical methods to quantify cyanobacterial toxins in environmental samples, conducted research on cyanobacteria blooms to assess risk to human and environmental health, and developed analytical methods to determine concentrations of commonly used pesticides in water samples to evaluate nonlethal effects of pesticide exposure on endemic fish species. Dr. Bolotaolo has applied her expertise to systems outside of the aquatic environment and has conducted work involving bioremediation of gasoline hydrocarbon contaminants in soil systems. Furthermore, she has studied the impact of contaminant mixtures on the health and survival of model fish species, including factors that may compromising food safety.


  • Ph.D., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, University of California, Davis, 2020
  • B.S., Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2010


Bolotaolo, M., Kurobe. T., Puschner, B., Hammock, B.G., Hengel, M.J., Lesmeister, S., Teh, S.J.. Analysis of Covalently Bound Microcystins in Sediments and Clam Tissue in the Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta. Toxins 2020; 12(178).

Kurobe, T., Lehman, P.W., Hammock, B.G., Bolotaolo, M.B., Lesmeister, S., Teh, S.J.. Biodiversity of cyanobacteria and other aquatic microorganisms across a freshwater to brackish water gradient determined by shotgun metagenomic sequencing analysis in the San Francisco Estuary, USA. Plos One 2018; 13(9).

Jin, J., Kurobe, T., Ramirez-Duarte, W.F., Bolotaolo, M.B., Lam, C.H., Pandey, P.K., Hung, T.C., Stillway, M.E., Zweig, L., Caudill, J., Lin, L., Teh, S.J.. Sub-lethal effects of herbicides penoxsulam, imazamox, fluridone and glyphosate on Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus). Aquatic Toxicology. 2018; 197.

Professional Affiliations

Northern California Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (board member)

Society of Toxicology (member)

American Chemical Society (member)