|University of Rochester|
School of Medicine & Dentistry
|Molecular Toxicology & Environmental Medicine Cluster|
|Ph.D. Program in Toxicology|
Professor of Environmental Medicine
Environmental Health Sciences Center,
and Center for Reproductive Epidemiology.
B.A. 1949 (New York University)
Ph.D. 1953 (University of Rochester)
Neurobiology and Behavior
Our brains, the ultimate product of millions of years of evolution, are what make us human. But over the past few decades, scientists have discovered that many chemicals in our environment threaten the integrity of our brains. Thousands more have never been studied for their effects. We know some of the outcomes: reduced intelligence and cognitive function, increased antisocial tendencies, impaired senory and motor function, and elevated risks of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinsons disease.
Most of these chemicals are ubiquitous and persistent. We are exposed throughout our lifetimes. But some periods of life are more vulnerable than others. Early development is an especially perilous time for exposure to toxic chemicals. The brain is exquisitely sensitive during this period because of the many paths by which it expands and differentiates on the path to maturity. Cells divide and proliferate; they migrate to specific target areas; they grow connections to other cells to form massive neural networks; neurotransmitter systems take root. All these processes are candidates for interference by toxic chemicals. All are reflected in neurobehavioral outcomes that can be measured when organisms mature to a stage at which they can be tested by procedures that are sensitive to such interference. Late in life, we enter another period of enhanced vulnerability. We are not as able as during earlier periods to compensate for toxic processes and many of our organ systems operate at diminished capacity. It is also a period when these reduced capacities may begin to reflect the damage inflicted earlier in life.
My own research aims to relate behavioral measures to neurotoxicant exposure. Behavioral research occupies a special role in safety assessment because it offers the ability to trace changes in function as organisms mature and age. Among the endpoints of salient interest to regulatory agencies such as EPA and to chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers are learning capacity, other aspects of cognitive capacity, motor and sensory performance, and differences between males and females.
My efforts have spanned a variety of agents: metals such as mercury and manganese; solvents such as toluene and methanol; air pollutants such as ozone; adventitious contaminants such as dioxin; and endocrine disruptors, which include common ingredients in consumer products such as phthalates.Complete CV
Weiss, B. The Alzheimer President. 2012. Seattle, WA: Healthy World Press. (A project of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders. 36 pp.)
Weiss B. Endocrine disruptors as a threat to neurological function. J Neurol Sci (in press).
Weiss B. Same sex; no sex; and unaware sex in neurotoxicology. Neurotoxicology. 2010. Sept 26. [Epub ahead of print] DOI information: 10.1016/j.neuro.2010.09.005
Fox DA, Opanashuk L, Zharkovsky A, Weiss B. Gene-chemical interactions in the developing mammalian nervous system: Effects on proliferation, neurogenesis and differentiation. Neurotoxicology. 2010 Apr 8. [Epub ahead of print]
Bushnell PJ, Kavlock RJ, Crofton KM, Weiss B, Rice DC. Behavioral toxicology in the 21st century: challenges and opportunities for behavioral scientists summary of a symposium presented at the annual meeting of the neurobehavioral teratology, June, 2009. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2010; 32:313-28. Epub 2010 Feb 17.
Ishitobi H. Stern S, Thurston SW, Zareba G, Langdon M, Gelein R, Weiss B. Organic and Inorganic Mercury in Neonatal Rat Brain Following Prenatal Exposure to Methylmercury and Mercury Vapor. Environ Health Perspect. 18: 242Ð248 (2010).
Weiss B. The role of behavioural toxicity in risk assessment. In: Ballantyne B, Marrs T, Syversen T (eds.) General and Applied Toxicology, Third Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester UK (2009) pp 1071-1092.
Weiss B. Evaluation of Multiple Neurotoxic Outcomes in Cancer Chemotherapy. 2009. In: Chemofog: Cancer Chemotherapy-Induced Cognitive Deficits, edited by Robert B. Raffa and Ronald J. Tallarida. Landes Bioscience. Austin TX.
Swan SH, Liu F, Hines M, Kruse RL, Wang C, Redmon JB, Sparks A, Weiss B. Prenatal phthalate exposure and reduced masculine play in boys. Int J Androl. 2010 Apr;33(2):259-69. [Epub ahead of print]
Larsson M, Weiss B, Janson S, Sundell J, Bornehag CG. (2009) Associations between indoor environmental factors and parental-reported autistic spectrum disorders in children 6-8 years of age. Neurotoxicology 30:822-831.
Weiss B. The first 83 and the next 83: Perspectives on neurotoxicology, Neurotoxicology 30:832-850 (2009),
Weiss B. (2008) Chemobrain: A translational challenge for neurotoxicology. Neurotoxicology, 29, 891-898.
Weiss B, Cory-Slechta D, Gilbert SG, Mergler D, Miller E, Miller C, Newland MC, Rice D, Schettler T. The new tapestry of risk assessment, Neurotoxicology, 29, 883-890.
Zareba G, Cernichiari E, Hojo R, Nitt SM, Weiss B, Mumtaz MM, Jones DE, Clarkson TW. 2007. Thimerosal distribution and metabolism in neonatal mice: comparison with methyl mercury. J Appl Toxicol. 27:511-518.
Weiss B. Why Methylmercury Remains a Conundrum 50 Years After Minamata. Toxicological Sciences, 97:223-225.
Weiss B. 2007. Can endocrine disruptors influence neuroplasticity in the aging brain? Neurotoxicology, 28:938-950. ]
Davidson PW, Myers GJ, Weiss B, Shamlaye CF, Cox C. 2006. Prenatal methyl mercury exposure from fish consumption and child development: A review of evidence and perspectives from the Seychelles Child Development Study. Neurotoxicology, Dec;27(6):1106-1109.
Davidson PW, Weiss B, Beck C, Cory-Slechta DA, Orlando M, Loiselle D, Carter EY, Sloane-Reeves J, Myers GJ. 2006. Development and validation of a test battery to assess subtle neurodevelopmental differences in children. Neurotoxicology, Dec;27(6):951-969.
Gilbert SG, Weiss, B. 2006. A rationale for lowering the blood lead action level. from 10 to 2 mg/dL. Neurotoxicology 27:693-701.
Weiss B, Bellinger DC. 2006. Social Ecology Of Childrens Vulnerability To Environmental Pollutants. Environmental Health Perspectives. 114:1479-1485.
Weiss B. 2006. Methylmercury: a model neurotoxicant and risk assessment dilemma. In Bellinger DC (ed). Human Developmental Neurotoxicology. New York: Taylor and Francis. 1-23.
Weiss B. 2006. Economic Implications of Manganese Neurotoxicity. Neurotoxicology. 27:362-368.
Weiss B. 2006. Endocrine disruptors as a factor in mental retardation. In: Davidson PE, Myers CJ, Weiss B (eds.) Neurotoxicity and Developmental Disabilities. Academic Press, 2004, 195-223.
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Department of Environmental Medicine
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Revised March 28, 2012 (vgl)