R. Thomas Zoeller

Emeritus Professor

Photograph of First Last
412A Morrill III South

B.S. Indiana University, 1977
Ph.D. Oregon State University, 1984


1984-1988 National Institute of Mental Health
1988 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Research Interests: 
Thyroid Hormone Action on Brain Development and Environmental Disruption of Thyroid Hormone Action

Thyroid hormone is essential for normal brain development. The main focus of research in the laboratory is to understand the molecular mechanism(s) by which thyroid hormone affects brain development and brain function. We pursue this goal within the context of two large projects. First, we are cloning genes expressed in the fetal brain that are regulated by maternal thyroid hormone. These genes have led us to examine the effect of thyroid hormone on cortical cell proliferation, differentiation and fate specification. Second, we are examining the mechanisms by which thyroid hormone action can be disrupted by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These chemicals are structurally similar to thyroid hormone. PCBs are known to affect neural development and they can alter circulating levels of thyroid hormone.

Representative Publications: 

Zoeller, R.T. Regulation of endocrine-disrupting chemicals insufficient to safeguard public health. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab, 2014, Jun; 99(6): 1993-4.

Wadzinski, T.L., Geromini, K., McKinley, Brewer, J., Bansal, R., Abdelouahab, N., Langlois, M.F., et al. Endocrine Disruption in Human Placenta: Expression of the Dioxin-Inducible Enzyme, Cyp1a1, Is Correlated With That of Thyroid Hormone-Regulated Genes. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab., 2014 Oct; 9: jc20142629.

Naveau, E., Pinson, A., Gerard, A., Nguyen, L., Charlier, C., Thome, J.P., et al. Alteration of rat fetal cerebral cortex development after prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls. PLoS One, 2014; 9(3): e91903.

Dong, H., You, S-H, Williams, A., Wade, M.G., Yauk, C.L., Thomas Zoeller, R. Transient Maternal Hypothyroxinemia Potentiates the Transcriptional Response to Exogenous Thyroid Hormone in the Fetal Cerebral Cortex Before the Onset of Fetal Thyroid Function: A Messenger and MicroRNA Profiling Study. Cereb Cortex, 2014, January 15, 2014.

Bansal, R., Tighe, D., Danai, A., Rawn, D.F., Gaertner, D.W., Arnold, D.L., et al. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (DE-71) Interferes With Thyroid Hormone Action Independent of Effects on Circulating Levels of Thyroid Hormone in Male Rats. Endocrinology, 2014, Oct; 155(10): 4104-12.

Zota, A.R., Linderholm, L., Park, J.S., Petreas, M., Guo, T., Privalsky, M.L., et al. Temporal comparison of PBDEs, OH-PBDEs, PCBs, and OH-PCBs in the serum of second trimester pregnant women recruited from San Francisco General Hospital, California. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013 Oct 15; 47(20): 11776-84.

Vandenberg, L.N., Colborn, T., Hayes, T.B., Heindel, J.J., Jacobs, D.R., Jr., Lee, D.H., et al. Regulatory Decisions on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Should be Based on the Principles of Endocrinology. Reprod. Toxicol., 2013 Feb 11.

Schug, TT., Heindel, J.J., Camacho, L., Delclos, K.B., Howard, P., Johnson, A.F., et al. A new approach to synergize academic and guideline-compliant research: the CLARITY-BPA research program. Reprod. Toxicol., 2013 Sep; 40: 35-40.

Schug, T.T., Abagyan, R., Blumberg, B., Collins, T.J., Crews, D., DeFur, P.L., et al. Designing endocrine disruption out of the next generation of chemicals. Green Chemistry, 2013; 15(1): 181-98.

Gilbert, M.E., Hedge, J.M., Valentin-Blasini, L., Blount, B.C., Kannan, K., Tietge, J., et al. An animal model of marginal iodine deficiency during development: the thyroid axis and neurodevelopmental outcome. Toxicol. Sci. 2013 Mar; 132(1): 177-95.

Giera, S., Zoeller, R.T. Effects and Predicted Consequences of Persistent and Bioactive Organic Pollutants on Thyroid Function. Effects of Persistent and Bioactive Organic Pollutants on Human Health. 2013: 203-36.

Fisher, J.W., Li, S., Crofton, K., Zoeller, R.T., McLanahan, E.D., Lumen, A., et al. Evaluation of iodide deficiency in the lactating rat and pup using a biologically based dose-response model. Toxicol Sci. 2013 Mar; 132(1): 75-86.

Bergman, A., Heindel, J.J., Kasten, T., Kidd, K.A., Jobling, S., Neira, M., et al. The impact of endocrine disruption: a consensus statement on the state of the science. Environ. Health Perspect., 2013 Apr; 121(4): A104-6.

Bergman, A., Heindel, J.J., Jobling, S., Kidd, K.A., Zoeller, R.T. State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012. Summary for Decision Makers. United National Environment Programme and World Health Organization; 2013.

Bergman, A., Heindel, J.J., Jobling, S, Kidd, K.A, Zoeller, R.T. State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012. United National Environment Programme and World Health Organization; 2013.

Bergman, A., Andersson, A.M., Becher, G., van den Berg, M., Blumberg, B., Bjerregaard, P, et al. Science and policy on endocrine disrupters must not be mixed: a reply to a "common sense" intervention by toxicology journal editors. Environ. Health., 2013 Aug 27; 12(1): 69.

Zoeller, R.T., Brown, T.R., Doan, L.L., Gore, A.C., Skakkebaek, N.E., Soto, A.M., et al. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and public health protection: a statement of principles from the endocrine society. Endocrinology, 2012 Sep; 153(9): 4097-110.

Zoeller, R.T. Neuroendocrine Regulation of Development, Growth and Metabolism - Thyroid. In: Fink G, Pfaff DW, Levine JE, editors. Handbook of Neuroendocrinology. London, Waltham, San Diego: Academic Press, Elsevier; 2012.

Wise, A., Parham, F., Axelrad, D.A., Guyton, K.Z., Portier, C., Zeise, L., et al. Upstream adverse effects in risk assessment: A model of polychlorinated biphenyls, thyroid hormone disruption and neurological outcomes in humans. Environ. Res., 2012 Aug; 117: 90-9.

Vandenberg, L.N., Colborn, T., Hayes, T.B, Heindel, J.J., Jacobs, D.R., Jr., Lee, D.H., et al. Hormones and endocrine-disrupting chemicals: low-dose effects and nonmonotonic dose responses. Endocr. Rev., 2012 Jun; 33(3): 378-455.

Paul, K.B., Hedge, J.M., Bansal, R., Zoeller, R.T., Peter R, Devito MJ, et al. Developmental triclosan exposure decreases maternal, fetal, and early neonatal thyroxine: A dynamic and kinetic evaluation of a putative mode-of-action. Toxicology, 2012 Oct 9; 300(1-2): 31-45.

Jahagirdar, V., Zoeller, T.R., Tighe, D.P., Wagner CK. Maternal hypothyroidism decreases progesterone receptor expression in the cortical subplate of foetal rat brain. J. Neuroendocrinol., 2012 Aug; 24(8): 1126-34.

Zota, A.R., Park, J.S., Wang, Y., Petreas, M., Zoeller, R.T., Woodruff, T.J. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and measures of thyroid function in second trimester pregnant women in California. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011 Sep 15; 45(18): 7896-905.

Giera, S., Bansal, R., Ortiz-Toro, T.M., Taub, D.G., Zoeller, R.T. Individual Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Congeners Produce Tissue- and Gene-Specific Effects on Thyroid Hormone Signaling during Development. Endocrinology, 2011 Jul; 152(7): 2909-19.

Zoeller, R.T. New insights into thyroid hormone action in the developing brain: the importance of T3 degradation. Endocrinology, 2010 Nov; 151(11): 5089-91.

Zoeller, R.T. Environmental chemicals targeting thyroid. Hormones (Athens), 2010 Jan-Mar; 9(1): 28-40.

vom Saal, F.S., Akingbemi, B.T., Belcher, S.M., Crain, D.A., Crews, D., Guidice, L.C., et al. Flawed experimental design reveals the need for guidelines requiring appropriate positive controls in endocrine disruption research. Toxicol. Sci. 2010 Jun; 115(2): 612-3; author reply 4-20.

Sharlin, D.S., Gilbert, M.E., Taylor, M.A., Ferguson, D.C., Zoeller, R.T. The nature of the compensatory response to low thyroid hormone in the developing brain. J. Neuroendocrinol. 2010; 22(3): 153-65.

Dong, H., Paquette, M., Williams, A., Zoeller, R.T., Wade M., Yauk, C. Thyroid hormone may regulate mRNA abundance in liver by acting on microRNAs. PLoS One, 2010; 5(8): e12136.