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Robert A. Roth

Robert A. Roth

Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology; Graduate Program Director, Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences, Institute for Integrative Toxicology

1129 FARM LN ROOM 221

Research Interests:
Dr. Roth's work is in the area of liver toxicology, especially the role of inflammation as a determinant of sensitivity to hepatotoxic chemicals (pyrrolizidine alkaloids, aflatoxin, drugs). Researchers in his laboratory are interested in how modest inflammatory stress can make individuals particularly responsive to toxic chemicals. In rodents, they have created modest inflammation by administering a small dose of endotoxin (a bacterial product) that by itself is noninjurious. The modest inflammation markedly enhances liver injury caused by drugs and toxic chemicals. For example, aflatoxin B 1 is a toxic metabolite produced by a fungus that contaminates nuts and grains. People are exposed to small amounts of it when they eat products made from peanuts or corn, and it is of concern because it can cause liver damage and hepatic cancer in people and animals. The Roth lab has found that a small dose of endotoxin that is without effect by itself markedly enhances the hepatotoxic effects of aflatoxin B 1 , as well as other toxic agents that occur in our food or environment. Thus, endotoxin exposure or underlying inflammation from other causes may be an important determinant of sensitivity of people and animals to toxic chemicals. These findings have led to a potentially important hypothesis that concurrent inflammation may underlie some of the rare, idiosyncratic reactions people experience when they take certain drugs. Roth's team is working to characterize this inflammation-induced augmentation of toxicity and to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie it, with particular emphasis on the role of inflammatory factors such as neutrophils, cytokines and the hemostatic system.

Educational Background:
Duke University, B.A., 1968, Chemistry 
The Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D., 1975, Environ. Toxicology 
Yale University School of Medicine, Postdoc, 1975-77, Pulmonary Pharmacology

Selected Professional Activities:
Burroughs-Wellcome Scholar in Toxicology, 1991-1996; Distinguished Faculty Award, Michigan State University, 1992; Kenneth DuBois Award for scientific achievement in toxicology, Midwest Chapter of the Society of Toxicology, 2001; AstraZeneca Travel Award, Society of Toxicology, 2006. Faculty trainer for the NIEHS training grant.


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