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Deborah A. Slechta, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-7060

Fax: (585) 256-2591

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments



Dr. Deborah Cory-Slechta became a faculty member at the University of Rochester Medical School (URMC) in 1982. She went on to become Chair of its Department of Environmental Medicine and Director of the NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Center in 1998. She served as Dean for Research at the University of Rochester Medical School from 2000-2002. She then moved to NJ to become Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Community Medicine at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School from 2003-2007, before returning to URMC as Professor in Environmental Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Cory-Slechta has served on numerous national review and advisory panels of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Center for Toxicological Research, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control. In addition, Dr. Cory-Slechta has served on the editorial boards of the journals Neurotoxicology, Toxicology, Toxicological Sciences, Fundamental and Applied Toxicology, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, and American Journal of Mental Retardation. She has held the elected positions of President of the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology, President of the Behavioral Toxicology Society, and been named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Her research has focused largely on the relationships between brain neurotransmitter systems and children's neurodevelopment, and how such relationships are altered by exposures to environmental toxicants, including the role played by environmental neurotoxicant exposures in developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases. These research efforts have resulted in over 150 papers and book chapters to date.
Dr. Cory-Slechta is the co-director of the Behavioral Sciences Facility Core and director of the Animal Behavior Core which provides consultation and assistance to any investigators seeking to develop or implement a behavioral project aiming advance translational neurobehavioral research and enhance our understanding of human disease. The Behavioral Sciences Facility Core's mission is to advance the field of behavioral science by providing high quality services to scientists performing behavioral studies. Our ability to perform both animal and human behavioral testing allows us to work bi-directionally, applying lessons learned from animal work to human studies and vice versa. For this reason, our facility works on the cutting edge of translational behavioral research.
Dr. Cory-Slechta also directs the K12 WHEEL program at URMC. The Women's Health and the Environment Over the Entire Lifespan program provides career development for promising scientists interested in pursuing a research career in women's environmental health. Environmental exposures can affect males and females differently, often by acting on hormonal systems. These exposures appear to have greatest impact during critical periods across the lifespan (including prenatal, perinatal, childhood, mid-life and late-life).



BS | Western Michigan Univ

MA | Western Michigan Univ

PhD | Univ Minnesota-Minneapolis

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

1979 - 1982
Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Toxicology and Pharmacology, Department of Radiation Biology and Biophysics, University of Rochester. Advisors: Drs. Bernard Weiss and Victor G. Laties

1977 - 1979
Junior Staff Fellow, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR


Honoree, Fourth Annual Women in Science Symposium, Joint Programs of University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers University, sponsored by The Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Douglass College Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science and Engineering, Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology, and the Joint Postdoctoral Program in Exposure Assessment, Piscataway, NJ

1982 - 1985
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences New Investigator Award

1979 - 1982
National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship

Alpha Lambda Delta, honorary sorority

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Journal Articles

Payne-Sturges D, De Saram S, Cory-Slechta DA. "Cumulative Risk Evaluation of Phthalates Under TSCA." Environmental science & technology.. 2023 Apr 12; Epub 2023 Apr 12.

Payne-Sturges DC, Ballard E, Cory-Slechta DA, Thomas SB, Hovmand P. "Making the invisible visible: Using a qualitative system dynamics model to map disparities in cumulative environmental stressors and children's neurodevelopment." Environmental research.. 2023 Jan 18; :115295. Epub 2023 Jan 18.

Cory-Slechta DA, Sobolewski M. "Neurotoxic effects of air pollution: an urgent public health concern." Nature reviews. Neuroscience.. 2023 Jan 6; Epub 2023 Jan 06.