R. Thomas Zoeller

Photograph of First Last


Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-2088
Office: 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. 2010. Environmental chemicals targeting thyroid. Hormones (Athens), 9: 28-40.

Zoeller, R.T. 2010. New insights into thyroid hormone action in the developing brain: The importance of T3 degradation. Endocrinology, In Press.

vom Saal, F.S., Akingbemi, B.T., Belcher, S.M., Crain, D.A., Crews, D., Guidice, L.C., Hunt, P.A., Leranth, C., Myers, J.P., Nadal, A., Olea, N., Padmanabhan, V., Rosenfeld, C.S., Schneyer, A., Schoenfelder, G., Sonnenschein, C., Soto, A.M., Stahlhut, R.W., Swan, S.H., Vandenberg, L.N., Wang, H.S., Watson, C.S., Welshons, W.V., Zoeller, R.T. 2010. Flawed experimental design reveals the need for guidelines requiring appropriate positive controls in endocrine disruption research. Toxicol Sci. 115: 612-613; author reply 614-620.

Sharlin, D.S., Gilbert, M.E., Taylor, M.A., Ferguson, D.C., Zoeller, R.T. 2010. The nature of the compensatory response to low thyroid hormone in the developing brain. J. Neuroendocrinology, 22: 153-165.

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

Myers, J.P., Zoeller, R.T., vom Saal, F.S. 2009. A clash of old and new scientific concepts in toxicity, with important implications for public health. Environ. Health Perspect., 117: 1652-1655.

Myers, J.P., vom Saal, F.S., Akingbemi, B.T., Arizono, K., Belcher, S., Colborn, T., Chahoud, I., Crain, D.A., Farabollini, F., Guillette, L.J., Jr., Hassold, T., Ho, S.M., Hunt, P.A., Iguchi, T., Jobling, S., Kanno, J., Laufer, H., Marcus, M., McLachlan, J.A., Nadal, A., Oehlmann, J,, Olea. N,, Palanza, P., Parmigiani, S., Rubin, B.S., Schoenfelder, G., Sonnenschein, C., Soto, A.M., Talsness, C.E., Taylor, J.A., Vandenberg, L.N., Vandenbergh, J.G., Vogel, S., Watson, C.S., Welshons, W.V., Zoeller, R.T. 2009. Why public health agencies cannot depend on good laboratory practices as a criterion for selecting data: the case of bisphenol A. Environ. Health Perspect., 117: 309-315.

Miller, M.D., Crofton, K.M., Rice, D.C., Zoeller, R.T. 2009. Thyroid-disrupting chemicals: interpreting upstream biomarkers of adverse outcomes. Environ. Health Perspect., 117: 1033-1041.

Dong, H., Yauk, C.L., Rowan-Carroll, A., You, S.H., Zoeller, R.T., Lambert, I., Wade, M.G. 2009. Identification of thyroid hormone receptor binding sites and target genes using ChIP-on-chip in developing mouse cerebellum. PLoS ONE, 4: e4610.

Diamanti-Kandarakis, E., Bourguignon, J.P., Giudice, L.C., Hauser, R., Prins, G.S., Soto, A.M., Zoeller, R.T., Gore, A.C. 2009. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: an Endocrine Society scientific statement. Endocrine Reviews, 30: 293-342.

Zoeller, R.T. 2008. Environmental neuroendocrine and thyroid disruption: relevance for reproductive medicine? Fertility and Sterility, 89: e99-e100.

Woodruff, T.J., Zeise, L., Axelrad, D.A., Guyton, K.Z., Janssen, S., Miller, M., Miller, G.G., Schwartz, J.M., Alexeeff, G., Anderson, H., Birnbaum, L., Bois, F., Cogliano, V.J., Crofton, K., Euling, S.Y., Foster, P.M., Germolec, D.R., Gray, E., Hattis, D.B., Kyle, A.D., Luebke, R.W., Luster, M.I., Portier, C., Rice, D.C., Solomon, G., Vandenberg, J., Zoeller, R.T. 2008. Meeting report: moving upstream-evaluating adverse upstream end points for improved risk assessment and decision-making. Environ. Health Perspect., 116: 1568-1575.

Sharlin, D.S., Tighe, D., Gilbert, M.E., Zoeller, R.T. 2008. The Balance between Oligodendrocyte and Astrocyte Production in Major White Matter Tracts Is Linearly Related to Serum Total Thyroxine. Endocrinology, 149: 2527-2536.