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

Biokinetics, Effects and Mechanisms of Inhaled Micro- and Nano- Particles: Dosimetry, Risk Extrapolation and Risk Assessment

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 (National)

Special Recognition Award | Society of Toxicology - Nanotoxicology Specialty Section 2014
Discussion and Lecture Tour Award, Fellowship for Eminent Scientist | Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) 2014
ISAM 2013 Career Achievement Award, For outstanding achievements in aerosol science | Intl. Soc. for Aerosols in Medicine 2013
Herbert Stokinger Award, For significant contributions in the broad field of industrial and environmental toxicology | American Conference of Governmental and Industrial Hygienists 2013
Plenary Speaker Award at 6th Intl. Conf. on Nanotoxicology | Beijing, China 2012
Val Vallyathan Senior Investigator Award, For outstanding contributions to basic/translational science occupational lung disease | American Thoracic Society 2011
Juraj Ferin Award for outstanding contributions to ISAM | ISAM (Intl. Soc. for Aerosols in Med.) 2009
EHP Paper of the Year, Most frequently cited article over the preceding 60 mos. in the environmental health sciences literature | Environmental Health Perspectives 2008
Emerging Research Fronts Paper in the Multidisciplinary Field | Thomson Reuters' ScienceWatch | 2008
Thomas T. Mercer Joint Prize for outstanding contributions in the field of aerosols in medicine | AAAR and ISAM 2003
Paper of the Year Award | Inhalation Specialty Section of SOT 1997
Career Achievement Award, for meritorious contributions to the field of Inhalation Toxicology | Inhalation Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology 1996
Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, for demonstrating pulmonary carcinogenicity of inhaled Cd in rats | Munich, F.R.Germany 1982

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 253 available »

2016 Oct
Guttenberg M, Bezerra L, Neu-Baker NM, Del Pilar Sosa Idelchik M, Elder A, Oberdörster G, Brenner SA. "Biodistribution of inhaled metal oxide nanoparticles mimicking occupational exposure: a preliminary investigation using enhanced darkfield microscopy." Journal of biophotonics. 2016 Oct; 9(10):987-993. Epub 2016 Aug 16.
2016 Sep
Weldon BA, M Faustman E, Oberdörster G, Workman T, Griffith WC, Kneuer C, Yu IJ. "Occupational exposure limit for silver nanoparticles: considerations on the derivation of a general health-based value." Nanotoxicology. 2016 Sep; 10(7):945-56. Epub 2016 Mar 16.
2015 Oct 31
Pedata P, Stoeger T, Zimmermann R, Peters A, Oberdörster G, D'Anna A. ""Are we forgetting the smallest, sub 10 nm combustion generated particles?"." Particle and fibre toxicology. 2015 Oct 31; 12:34. Epub 2015 Oct 31.
2015 Jul
Madl AK, Kovochich M, Liong M, Finley BL, Paustenbach DJ, Oberdörster G. "Toxicology of wear particles of cobalt-chromium alloy metal-on-metal hip implants Part II: Importance of physicochemical properties and dose in animal and in vitro studies as a basis for risk assessment." Nanomedicine : nanotechnology, biology, and medicine. 2015 Jul; 11(5):1285-98. Epub 2015 Feb 28.
2015 Jul
Madl AK, Liong M, Kovochich M, Finley BL, Paustenbach DJ, Oberdörster G. "Toxicology of wear particles of cobalt-chromium alloy metal-on-metal hip implants Part I: physicochemical properties in patient and simulator studies." Nanomedicine : nanotechnology, biology, and medicine. 2015 Jul; 11(5):1201-15. Epub 2015 Mar 03.

Current Appointments

Professor Emeritus - 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