Skip to main content
Explore URMC

Alison Elder, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-2324

Fax: (585) 256-2631

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments



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.



BS | Chatham College

PhD | Univ of Cal Irvine
Environmental Toxicology

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

1997 - 2000
Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester


Young Investigator Award, Inhalation and Respiratory Specialty Section, Society of Toxicology

Cornerstone Alumna Award in Environmental Medicine, Chatham University

1995 - 1996
Graduate Student Fellowship, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

College Chemistry Award, Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh

VIEW ALL expand_more


Journal Articles

Borm PJA, Lison D, Driscoll K, Duffin R, Harkema J, Weber K, Elder A. "Inflammation as a Key Outcome Pathway in Particle Induced Effects in the Lung." Frontiers in public health.. 2022 10:869041. Epub 2022 May 25.

Keller JG, Graham UM, Koltermann-Jülly J, Gelein R, Ma-Hock L, Landsiedel R, Wiemann M, Oberdörster G, Elder A, Wohlleben W. "Author Correction: Predicting dissolution and transformation of inhaled nanoparticles in the lung using abiotic flow cells: The case of barium sulphate." Scientific reports.. 2021 Apr 19; 11(1):8813. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Herr D, Jew K, Wong C, Kennell A, Gelein R, Chalupa D, Raab A, Oberdörster G, Olschowka J, O'Banion MK, Elder A. "Effects of concentrated ambient ultrafine particulate matter on hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease in the 3xTgAD mouse model." Neurotoxicology.. 2021 Mar 29; Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Particles and the autonomic nervous system
Book Title: Particles and Cardiovascular Disease Mechanisms
Author List: Upadhyay S, Elder A, Cascio WE, Schulz H
Edited By: F.R. Cassee, N.L. Mills, D.E. Newby
Published By: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010 in Hoboken, NJ

Chapter Title: Human Health Risks of Engineered Nanomaterials
Book Title: Nanotechnology: Risks and Benefits
Author List: Elder A, Lynch I, Grieger K, Chan-Remillard S, Gatti A, Gnewuch H, Kenawy E, Korenstein R, Kuhlbusch T, Linker F, Matias S, Monteiro-Riviere N, Pinto V, Rudnitsky R, Savoleinen K, Shvedova A
Edited By: Linkov I, Steevens J
Published By: Springer 2009 in Dordrecht

Chapter Title: Disposition of Nanoparticles as a Function of their Interactions with Biomolecules
Book Title: Nanotechnology: Risks and Benefits
Author List: Lynch I, Elder A
Edited By: Linkov I, Steevens J
Published By: Springer 2009 in Dordrecht