Alison Elder, Ph.D.

Alison Elder, Ph.D.

Contact Information

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

Office: (585) 275-2324
Lab: (585) 275-3821
Fax: (585) 256-2631

Research Bio

Toxicology of Inhaled Ultrafine Particles and Engineered Nanomaterials

Our laboratory has focused for several years on the toxicology of inhaled ultrafine particles (UFPs), the most numerous size fraction of particulate air pollution. Interests include the impacts of age, gaseous co-pollutant exposure, and health status on the response(s) to inhaled UFPs. We are also interested in determining the basis for potential adverse effects of inhaled particles in the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.

This research focus has naturally led to our work with engineered nanomaterials. The research commonalities between UFP and nanomaterials are numerous, including the kinetics of tissue distribution following exposure, mechanisms of response related to oxidative stress, particle-protein interactions, and the physicochemical characteristics of the particles that determine response. Our research aims are met by using a combination of animal and cell culture models as well as detailed particle characterization.

In addition to looking for nanosized particles in tissues via chemical and microscopic means, responses are determined by measuring markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in the lung lining fluid, lung tissue, blood, circulating inflammatory cells, and extrapulmonary tissues (e.g. heart, liver, spleen, kidney, brain regions). We also have specific projects focused on cardiovascular stability and neurodegeneration following exposures to UFPs and nanomaterials.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Young Investigator Award, Inhalation and Respiratory Specialty Section, Society of Toxicology 2009
Cornerstone Alumna Award in Environmental Medicine, Chatham University 2007
Graduate Student Fellowship, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1995 - 1996
College Chemistry Award, Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh 1992

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 54 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 2
Lerner CA, Rutagarama P, Ahmad T, Sundar IK, Elder A, Rahman I. "Electronic cigarette aerosols and copper nanoparticles induce mitochondrial stress and promote DNA fragmentation in lung fibroblasts." Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2016 Sep 2; 477(4):620-5. Epub 2016 Jun 23.
2015 Mar
Lerner CA, Sundar IK, Watson RM, Elder A, Jones R, Done D, Kurtzman R, Ossip DJ, Robinson R, McIntosh S, Rahman I. "Environmental health hazards of e-cigarettes and their components: Oxidants and copper in e-cigarette aerosols." Environmental pollution. 2015 Mar; 198:100-7. Epub 2015 Jan 09.
2014 Apr
Gordon SC, Butala JH, Carter JM, Elder A, Gordon T, Gray G, Sayre PG, Schulte PA, Tsai CS, West J. "Workshop report: strategies for setting occupational exposure limits for engineered nanomaterials." Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology : RTP. 2014 Apr; 68(3):305-11. Epub 2014 Jan 23.
2014 Apr
Sotiriou GA, Watson C, Murdaugh KM, Darrah TH, Pyrgiotakis G, Elder A, Brain JD, Demokritou P. "Engineering safer-by-design, transparent, silica-coated ZnO nanorods with reduced DNA damage potential." Environmental science. Nano. 2014 Apr; 1(2):144-153.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Environmental Medicine (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Environmental Toxicology | Univ of Cal Irvine1997
BS | Chemistry | Chatham College1992

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester 2000