R. Thomas Zoeller

Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts

Email: tzoeller@bio.umass.edu
T. Zoeller Biology Dept Website
T. Zoeller Lab Website

Ph.D.: Oregon State University
Postdoctoral Training: National Institute of Mental Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Neuroendocrine Regulation of Thyroid; Mechanisms of Thyroid Hormone Action on Brain Development

There are two major research programs active in the laboratory, both related to thyroid hormones. First, we are interested in understanding the functional organization of neurons in the brain that control pituitary-thyroid activity. These neurons synthesize Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone (TRH). Second, we are interested in the role of thyroid hormone in guiding brain development. To address this, we are cloning novel thyroid hormone-regulated genes in the fetal brain. In addition, there are a number of clinically relevant factors that may interfere with thyroid hormone action during development, including environmental contaminants (e.g., PCBs), and ethanol. We are using the genes we have found to be thyroid hormone-regulated as probes to test whether these factors do in fact disrupt thyroid hormone action in the fetus and in the adult. Two of these genes are transcription factors implicated in cell proliferation. Thus, we are pursuing the possibility that maternal thyroid hormone is involved in the regulation of cortical cell number by regulating the expression of these transcription factors.

Representative publications:

Zota AR, Park JS, Wang Y, Petreas M, Zoeller RT, Woodruff TJ. 2011. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and measures of thyroid function in second trimester pregnant women in california. Environ Sci Technol 45(18): 7896-7905.

Giera S, Bansal R, Ortiz-Toro TM, Taub DG, Zoeller RT. 2011. Individual polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners produce tissue- and gene-specific effects on thyroid hormone signaling during development. Endocrinology 152(7): 2909-2919.

Zoeller RT. 2010. New insights into thyroid hormone action in the developing brain: the importance of T3 degradation. Endocrinology 151(11): 5089-5091.

Zoeller RT. 2010. Environmental chemicals targeting thyroid. Hormones (Athens) 9(1): 28-40.
vom Saal FS, Akingbemi BT, Belcher SM, Crain DA, Crews D, Guidice LC, et al. 2010. Flawed experimental design reveals the need for guidelines requiring appropriate positive controls in endocrine disruption research. Toxicol Sci 115(2): 612-613; author reply 614-620.

Sharlin DS, Gilbert ME, Taylor MA, Ferguson DC, Zoeller RT. 2010. The nature of the compensatory response to low thyroid hormone in the developing brain. J Neuroendocrinol 22(3): 153-165.

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

Myers JP, Zoeller RT, vom Saal FS. 2009. A clash of old and new scientific concepts in toxicity, with important implications for public health. Environ Health Perspect 117(11): 1652-1655.

Myers JP, vom Saal FS, Akingbemi BT, Arizono K, Belcher S, Colborn T, et al. 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(3): 309-315.

Miller MD, Crofton KM, Rice DC, Zoeller RT. 2009. Thyroid-disrupting chemicals: interpreting upstream biomarkers of adverse outcomes. Environ Health Perspect 117(7): 1033-1041.

Dong H, Yauk CL, Rowan-Carroll A, You SH, Zoeller RT, Lambert I, et al. 2009. Identification of thyroid hormone receptor binding sites and target genes using ChIP-on-chip in developing mouse cerebellum. PLoS ONE 4(2): e4610.

Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Bourguignon JP, Giudice LC, Hauser R, Prins GS, Soto AM, et al. 2009. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: an Endocrine Society scientific statement. Endocrine reviews 30(4): 293-342.

Zoeller RT. 2008. Environmental neuroendocrine and thyroid disruption: relevance for reproductive medicine? Fertility and sterility 89(2 Suppl): e99-e100.

Woodruff TJ, Zeise L, Axelrad DA, Guyton KZ, Janssen S, Miller M, et al. 2008. Meeting report: moving upstream-evaluating adverse upstream end points for improved risk assessment and decision-making. Environ Health Perspect 116(11): 1568-1575.

Sharlin DS, Tighe D, Gilbert ME, Zoeller RT. 2008. The Balance between Oligodendrocyte and Astrocyte Production in Major White Matter Tracts Is Linearly Related to Serum Total Thyroxine. Endocrinology 149(5): 2527-2536.

Degon M, Chipkin SR, Hollot CV, Zoeller RT, Chait Y. 2008. A computational model of the human thyroid. Mathematical biosciences 212(1): 22-53.

Bansal R, Zoeller RT. 2008. Polychlorinated biphenyls (Aroclor 1254) do not uniformly produce agonist actions on thyroid hormone responses in the developing rat brain. Endocrinology 149(8): 4001-4008.