Beate Ritz

Dr. Beate Ritz joined the faculty of the School of Public Health at UCLA in 1995 and is Professor of Epidemiology with co-appointments in the Environmental Health department at the UCLA School of Public Health and in Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine; she is a member of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), the Southern California Environmental Health Science Center (SCEHSC), co-directed the NIEHS-funded UCLA Center for Gene-Environment Studies of Parkinson's disease and is the Interim Director for the APDA Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research. Dr. Ritz received her MD and a PhD in Medical Sociology from the University of Hamburg Germany in 1983 and 1987; she was a research fellow and resident at the Psychiatric University-Hospital in Hamburg from 1987-1989, and received an MPH degree from UCLA in 1993 and doctoral training and a PhD degree in Epidemiology in 1995 from UCLA.


2006 Robert M Zweig Memorial award for outstanding achievement in air quality and medicine from the South Coast Air Quality Management District

2007  Collegium Ramazzini Fellow

2011 American Parkinson's Disease Association (APDA) award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of Parkinson's research

2018  Highly-cited (top 1%) author by Clarivate Analytics

2021 International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) Fellow

2022 Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) Ken Rothman Career Achievement award



Center Affiliations


  • PhD, Epidemiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, CA
  • MPH, University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, CA
  • Doctoral Degree, Medical Sociology, University of Hamburg, Germany
  • MD, Medical Examination Certificate, Physician Registration

Areas of Interest

Dr. Beate Ritz's research focuses on the health effects of occupational and environmental toxins such as pesticides, ionizing radiation, and air pollution on chronic diseases including neurodegenerative (Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer, multiple systems atrophy (MSA)) and neurodevelopmental disorders (autism, cerebral palsy), cancers, as well as adverse birth outcomes and childhood asthma. In terms of occupational health, she investigated the causes of cancer in chemical toxin and radiation exposed workers, assessed the impact of ergonomic work-place factors on musculo-skeletal disorders, and pesticide exposures and Parkinson's disease in farmers. For the past two decades, she studied the effects of air pollution on adverse birth outcomes, asthma, autism, and childhood and adult cancers. She has also been investigating the long-term effects of pesticide exposures on Parkinson's disease, autism and childhood cancers and conducting implementation research for the CA Parkinson's disease registry (CPDR) required by a law in California. Her research  uses geographic information system (GIS) modeling of environmental exposures including pesticide use and traffic related air pollution and investigates links between genetic susceptibility factors and environmental exposures in populations. She is directing and collaborating in a large number of federally (NIH, DOD, NASA), state (California Air Resources Board), and foundation (Michael J Fox Foundation, MSA foundation) funded research projects.

Committee Participation

Selected Courses

  • Epi 200B: Epidemiology Methods
  • Epi 260: Environmental Epidemiology
  • Epi 261: Occupational Epidemiology
  • Epi 267: Reproductive Epidemiology

Selected Publications


  • Ritz B, Kusters C. The Promise of Mendelian Randomization in Parkinson’s disease: Has the smoke cleared yet for smoking and PD risk? J Parkinsons Dis. 2022;12(3):807-812. PMID: 35213390.
  • Ritz B, Yan Q, He D, Wu J, Walker DI, Uppal K, Jones DP, Heck JE. Child Serum Metabolome and Traffic-Related Air Pollution Exposure in Pregnancy. Environmental Research 203 (2022) 111907.
  • Ritz BR, Paul KC. Recommending Healthy Diet and Exercise to Patients With Parkinson Disease-No Reason to Hold Back. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Aug 1;5(8):e2227743. PMID: 35984663.
    Ritz B. Invited Commentary for the AJE 100th birthday edition: A long way from Steubenville: Environmental Epidemiology in a rapidly changing world. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2022; kwac031
  • Paul KC, Ritz B. Epidemiology meets toxicogenomics: Mining toxicologic evidence in support of an untargeted analysis of pesticides exposure and Parkinson’s disease. Environment International. Volume 170, December 2022, 107613
  • Ritz B, Yu Y. Invited Perspective: Air Pollution and Dementia: Challenges and Opportunities. Environ Health Perspectives. 129(8) Aug 2021
  • Ritz B, Yu Y. Noise exposure and dementia: a rising concern in ageing populations. BMJ 2021;374:n2120
  • Ritz B, Yan Q, Uppal K, Liew Z, Cui X, Ling C, Inoue K, v Ehrenstein O, Walker DI, Jones D.  Untargeted metabolomics screen of mid-pregnancy maternal serum and autism in offspring. Autism Research 2020 (Vol 13): 1258-1269
  • Ritz B, Liew Z, Yan Q., Cui X, Virk J, Ketzel M,  Raaschou-Nielsen O. Air pollution and Autism in Denmark. Environ Epidemiol. 2018 Dec; 2(4): e028
  • Lee PC, Liu LL, Sun Y, Chen YA, Liu CC, Li CY, Yu HL, Ritz BTraffic-related air pollution increased the risk of Parkinson's disease in Taiwan: A nationwide study. Environ Int. 2016 Nov;96:75-81.
  • Liew Z, Ritz B, Virk J, Olsen J. Maternal Use of Acetaminophen During Pregnancy and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Childhood: a Danish National Birth Cohort Study. Autism Res. 2016 Sep;9(9):951-8.
  • Horvath S, Ritz BR. Increased epigenetic age and granulocyte counts in the blood of Parkinson's disease patients. Aging (Albany NY). 2015 Dec;7(12):1130-42.
  • Ritz B, Paul KC, Bronstein JM. Of Pesticides and Men: A California Story of Genes and Environment in Parkinson’s Disease. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2016 Mar;3(1):40-52. 
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