Chronic Lead Neurotoxicity

Lead toxicity is a significant public health problem in the U.S. causing impairment of cognitive abilities and significant delays in behavioral development in children. The intellectual deficits persist throughout life. Toxicity often occurs because of the exposure of children to lead which can be found in many homes. In the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology, lead toxicity research employs an animal model of lead exposure, which mimics the toxicity observed clinically in young children. This work is uniquely focused on the effects of lead that most closely relate to the clinical manifestations of public health concern. New concepts from these studies are forming the basis for improved prevention and medical treatment.

Stephen M. Lasley, Ph.D., joined the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology in 1986.  He is a neurotoxicologist, and is widely respected for his discoveries of the way that lead toxicity alters brain chemistry, thereby interfering with the transfer of information between brain cells.  His scientific findings are especially pertinent to the prevention and treatment of chronic lead and manganese exposure in children.  Dr. Lasley has also earned a reputation for discoveries of the changes in brain chemistry which occur during the early phases of development following birth, particularly in response to endocrine disrupting chemicals.