Her research has been on the effects of ambient air pollution during pregnancy on adverse birth outcomes including preterm birth, low birth weight and birth defects. The projects have expanded to evaluate social factors including neighborhood socioeconomic status and acculturation and comorbidities including diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy. More recently, she investigated interactions between biotransformation enzymes gene variants and air pollution and risk of congenital anomalies. She is a co-investigator of the NIH’s Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) study at UCSF. This study is currently recruiting pregnant women to examine the relationship between endocrine disrupting chemicals and psychosocial stress during pregnancy and their effects on adverse birth and child health outcomes. Dr. Padula was awarded an K99/R00 Transition to Independence Award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science and grant to investigate cumulative environmental, social and biological factors and disparities in preterm birth in California. In 2017, she was named one of the 20 Pioneers under 40 in Environmental Public Health by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. In 2020, Dr. Padula was awarded the Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science to investigate the impact of wildfires on preterm birth in California.