Guenter Oberdoerster, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Guenter Oberdoerster, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box EHSC
Rochester, NY 14642

Research Bio

Toxicology of Airborne Environmental and Occupational Particles and Nanoparticles

Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that acute adverse health effects are associated with exposures to ambient airborne particles. These effects occur mostly in sensitive parts of the population such as the elderly with a compromised cardiorespiratory system. We hypothesize that ultrafine particles (particle size below 0.1 µm) are one potential source causing these effects. Such particles occur in fumes generated by heating and combustion processes and are also normal constituents of the ambient aerosol, specifically in urban areas generated from numerous sources (e.g., internal combustion engines, power plants, incinerators). In addition, a new source of exposure to particles below 100 nm in size - engineered nanoparticles - has become a cause for concern, giving rise to the emerging field of nanotoxicology (see below).

Our studies with laboratory-generated ultrafine particles have shown that these particles have a significantly greater potency to induce inflammatory lung injury than larger-sized particles with the same chemical composition. Our studies are aimed at investigating cellular and molecular mechanisms of ultrafine particle-induced lung injury as well as secondary effects on the cardiovascular and the central nervous systems. An important component of this research is to develop rodent models with a compromised target organ system to evaluate cellular mechanisms of effects following inhalation exposure. Evaluating translocation pathways of inhaled nano-sized particles after deposition in the respiratory tract to other organ systems is an important part of our studies.

A more recent area of activity involves nanotoxicology, investigating the unique biokinetics and the toxicological potential of engineered nanoparticles. We investigate the propensity of these particles of different shapes (e.g., spheres, tubes, rods), different chemistries (e.g., metals, semiconductors, carbon) and different surface characteristics (coating, charge, porosity) to translocate from the site of deposition in the respiratory tract to extrapulmonary organs such as heart, liver, bone marrow and brain is being studied. Examination of the influence of physicochemical properties of nanoparticles on their effects and biokinetics is the ultimate objective of these studies. We engage in multidisciplinary team efforts to determine effects and underlying mechanisms of translocated nanoparticles (e.g., cellular oxidative stress).

Awards & Honors (Local)

Thomas T. Mercer Joint Prize, 2003 (awarded by AAAR and ISAM for outstanding contributions in the field of aerosols in medicine). 2003
Paper of the Year Award, Inhalation Specialty Section of SOT, 1997 (Pulmonary inflammatory chemokine and mutagenic response in rats after subchronic inhalation of carbon black. Tox. & Appl. Pharma.136: 372-380, 1996). 1997
Career Achievement Award, Inhalation Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology, 1996 (for meritorious contributions to the field of Inhalation Toxicology) 1996
Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, 1982 (Munich, F.R.Germany)(for demonstrating pulmonary carcinogenicity of inhaled Cd in rats) 1982

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 237 available »

2014 Apr 1
Allen JL, Liu X, Weston D, Prince L, Oberdörster G, Finkelstein JN, Johnston CJ, Cory-Slechta DA. "Developmental Exposure to Concentrated Ambient Ultrafine Particulate Matter Air Pollution in Mice Results in Persistent and Sex-Dependent Behavioral Neurotoxicity and Glial Activation." Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology.. 2014 Apr 1; Epub 2014 Apr 01.
2014 Mar
Allen JL, Liu X, Weston D, Conrad K, Oberdörster G, Cory-Slechta DA. "Consequences of developmental exposure to concentrated ambient ultrafine particle air pollution combined with the adult paraquat and maneb model of the Parkinson's disease phenotype in male mice." Neurotoxicology.. 2014 Mar; 41:80-8. Epub 2014 Jan 30.
2013 Jan
Allen JL, Conrad K, Oberdörster G, Sleezer B, Cory-Slechta DA. "Developmental exposure to concentrated ambient particles and preference for immediate reward in mice." Environmental health perspectives.. 2013 Jan; 121(1):32-8. Epub 2012 Oct 11.
2012 Jan
Oberdörster G. "Nanotoxicology: in vitro-in vivo dosimetry." Environmental health perspectives.. 2012 Jan; 120(1):A13; author reply A13.
2011 Sep 5
Han X, Gelein R, Corson N, Wade-Mercer P, Jiang J, Biswas P, Finkelstein JN, Elder A, Oberdörster G. "Validation of an LDH assay for assessing nanoparticle toxicity." Toxicology.. 2011 Sep 5; 287(1-3):99-104. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Environmental Medicine (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Pharmacology | Germany-J Liebig U, Giessen1966
DVM | Pharmacology, All Other | Germany-J Liebig U, Giessen1964

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Laboratory of Pharmacology: Troponwerke, Cologne, F.R. Germany (Pharmac. Indust.) - postdoctoral training 1967