Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Physiology
ScB, Neuroscience, Brown University, 1989
PhD, Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, 1994
ScD, Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 2006
Selected Professional Affiliations
International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
American Academy of Neurology
International Society For Autism Research
My research interests mostly come from my background in neurobiology. I am interested in how environmental factors affect the nervous system, as well as the epidemiology of neurologic disorders. Current areas of my work include how environmental exposures relate to:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Mental health
- Cognitive function/Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Some examples of my current work include exploring how exposure to toxicants (e.g., lead, manganese, and air pollution) affect cognitive function and psychiatric symptoms; how air pollution and other toxicants relate to autism spectrum disorder (ASD); and how toxicant exposures like formaldehyde and lead relate to the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, I have a large study in Israel and Denmark to explore the relationship of currently used medications to ALS. I am also very interested in issues of epidemiological methods and causal inferences as they relate to my work.
Although not exclusively, much of my work is conducted within large cohorts. I have worked on risk factors for ALS mortality using the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II cohort, which was the largest prospective cohort study of risk factors for ALS with a cohort size of over 1 million. I am now exploring risk factors for ALS within the entire Danish population using their registry system and in large health care databases of several million people in Israel. I have explored the relationship between air pollution exposures and risk of ASD among children of women in the Nurses’ Health Study 2, and am currently examining these questions in the entire Israeli population. I am developing efforts in the Nurses’ Health Study 3 to assess the health of the children of this cohort (in particular ASD and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) related to the exposures of their mothers. I also work with the Normative Aging Study, a cohort of community-dwelling men in the Greater Boston area.
An important direction of my research involves developing new ways of examining impacts on the nervous system. My past laboratory research examined the cellular and molecular mechanisms of plasticity in different areas of the brain, processes that are believed to underlie learning, memory, and emotional regulation at the behavioral level. I am building on this background to develop new biomarkers of effects on the nervous system in humans that may be earlier indicators—and potentially more sensitive ones—of adverse effects, specifically examining the effects of metal exposures on behavioral modifications of the acoustic startle reflex that relate to learning and attention. These approaches get at basic biological phenomena thought to underlie clinical behaviors and have direct parallels in animal models, thus facilitating comparison with that literature.
See Sites of Note for reports and videos on some of this work.
Kioumourtzoglou MA, Raz R, Wilson A, Fluss R, Nirel R, Broday DM, Yuval, Hacker MR, McElrath TF, Grotto I, Koutrakis P, Weisskopf MG. Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Pregnancy Loss. Epidemiology. 30(1):4-10, 2019.
Kioumourtzoglou MA, Coull BA, O’Reilly EJ, Ascherio A, Weisskopf MG. Association of Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol During Pregnancy With Multigenerational Neurodevelopmental Deficits. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(7):670-677, 2018.
Raz R, Levine H, Pinto O, Broday DM, Yuval, Weisskopf MG. Traffic Related Air Pollution and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population Based Nested Case-Control Study in Israel. Am. J. Epidemiol. 187(4):717-725, 2018.
Rotem, RS, Chodick G, Davidovitch M, Hauser R, Coull BA, Weisskopf MG. Congenital Abnormalities of the Male Reproductive System and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Am. J. Epidemiol. 187(4):656-663, 2018.
Weisskopf MG, Seals R, Webster TJ. Bias amplification in epidemiologic analysis of exposure to mixtures. Environ. Health Perspect., 126(4), 2018.
Specht AJ, Parish CN, Wallens EK, Watson RT, Nie LH, Weisskopf MG. Feasibility of a portable X-ray fluorescence device for bone lead measurements of condor bones. Sci. Total Environ. 2018, 615:398-403.
Weisskopf MG, Webster TF. Trade-offs of personal vs. more proxy exposure measures in environmental epidemiology. Epidemiology. 28(5):635-643, 2017.
Seals RM, Kioumourtzoglou MA, Gredal O, Hansen J, Weisskopf MG. Occupational Formaldehyde and ALS. European Journal of Epidemiology 2017, 32(10):893-899.
Weisskopf MG, Tchetgen-Tchetgen EJ, Raz R. On the use of imperfect negative control exposures in epidemiological studies. Epidemiology 2016 May;27(3):365-7.
Seals RM, Kioumourtzoglou MA, Gredal O, Hansen J, Weisskopf MG. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and the Military: A Population-Based Study in the Danish Registries. Epidemiology 2016, 27(2):188-93.
Weisskopf MG, Sparrow D, Hu H, Power MC. Biased exposure–health effect estimates from selection in cohort studies: are environmental studies at particular risk? Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Nov;123 (11):1113-22.
Weisskopf MG, Kioumourtzoglou M-A, Roberts AL. Air Pollution and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Causal or Confounded? Curr. Environ. Health Rep., 2(4):430-9, 2015.
Raz R, Roberts AL, Kristen L, Hart JE, Just AC, Laden F, Weisskopf MG. Autism spectrum disorder and particulate matter air pollution before, during, and after pregnancy: a nested case–control analysis within the Nurses’ Health Study II Cohort. Environ. Health Perspect., 123(3):264-70, 2015.
Power MC, Kioumourtzoglou M-A, Hart JE, Okereke OI, Laden F, Weisskopf MG. The relation between past exposure to fine particulate air pollution and prevalent anxiety: an observational cohort study. BMJ, 350:h1111, 2015.
Kioumourtzoglou M-A, Rotem RS, Seals RM, Gredal O, Hansen J, Weisskopf MG. Diabetes, obesity and diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a population-based study. JAMA Neurol., 72(8):905-11, 2015.
Seals RM, Hansen J, Gredal O, Weisskopf MG. Age-period-cohort analysis of trends in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Denmark, 1970-2009. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Oct 15;178(8):1265-71.
Weisskopf MG, Moisan F, Tzourio C, Rathouz PJ, Elbaz A. Pesticide exposure and depression among agricultural workers in France. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2013 Oct 1;178(7):1051-8.
Roberts AL, Kristen L, Hart JE, Laden F, Just AC, Bobb JF, Koenen KC, Ascherio A, Weisskopf MG. Perinatal exposure to air pollution is associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder. Environ. Health Perspect. 2013 Aug;121(8):978-84.
Roberts AL, Lyall K, Rich-Edwards JW, Ascherio A, Weisskopf MG. Association of maternal exposure to childhood abuse with elevated risk of autism in offspring. JAMA Psychiatry 70(5):508-515, 2013.
Grashow R, Miller MW, McKinney A, Nie LH, Sparrow D, Hu H, Weisskopf MG. Lead exposure and fear-potentiated startle in the VA Normative Aging Study: a pilot study of a novel physiological approach to investigating neurotoxicant effects. Neurotoxicol. Teratol., 38C:21-28, 2013.
Eum KD, Korrick SA, Weuve J, Okereke O, Kubzansky LD, Hu H, Weisskopf MG. Relation of chronic low-level lead exposure to depressive and phobic anxiety symptoms in women. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jun;120(6):817-23.
Laohaudomchok W, Lin X, Herrick RF, Fang SC, Cavallari JM, Christiani DC, Weisskopf MG. Toenail, blood and urine as biomarkers of manganese exposure. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 53(5):506-10, 2011.
Nie LH, Sanchez S, Newton K, Grodzins L, Cleveland R, Weisskopf MG. In vivo quantification of lead in bone with a portable XRF system – methodology and feasibility. Physics in Medicine and Biology 56(3):N39-51, 2011.
Weisskopf MG, Weuve J, Nie H, Saint-Hilaire MH, Sudarsky L, Simon DK, Hersh B, Schwartz J, Wright RO, Hu H. Association of cumulative lead exposure with Parkinson’s disease. Environ Health Perspect. 118(11): 1609–1613, 2010.
Bouchard M, Bellinger DC, Wright RO, Weisskopf MG. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and urinary organophosphate metabolites in U.S. children 8 to 15 years. Pediatrics 125(6):e1270-77, 2010.
Weisskopf MG, Knekt P, O’Reilly EJ, Lyytinen J, Reunanen A, Laden F, Altshul L, Ascherio A. Prospective study of serum organochlorine pesticides and Parkinson disease risk. Neurology 74(13):1055-61, 2010.
Bouchard M, Bellinger DC, Weuve J, Mathews-Bellinger J, Gilman SE, Wright RO, Schwartz J, Weisskopf MG. Blood lead levels and major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder in U.S. young adults. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 66(12):1313-19, 2009.
Dikmen SS, Corrigan JD, Levin HS, Machamer J, Stiers W, Weisskopf MG. Cognitive outcome following traumatic injury. J. Head Trauma Rehabil. 24(6):430-438, 2009.
Weisskopf MG, Jain N, Nie H, Sparrow D, Vokonas P, Schwartz J, Hu H. A prospective study of bone lead concentration and death from all causes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer in the VA Normative Aging Study. Circulation 120(12):1056-64, 2009.
Weisskopf MG, Morozova N, O’Reilly E, McCullough ML, Calle EE, Thun MJ, Ascherio A. Prospective study of chemical exposures and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry 80(5):558-61, 2009.
Weisskopf MG, O’Reilly E, Chen H, Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A. Plasma urate and risk of Parkinson’s disease. Am. J. Epidemiol. 166(5):561-567, 2007.
Weisskopf MG, Hu H, Sparrow D, Lenkinski RE, WrightRO. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic evidence of glial effects of cumulative lead exposure in the adult human hippocampus. Environ. Health. Perspect. 115(4):519-523, 2007.
Weisskopf MG, O’Reilly EJ, McCullough, ML, Calle EE, Thun MJ, Cudkowicz M, Ascherio A. Prospective study of military service and mortality from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neurology 64(1):32-7, 2005.
Weisskopf MG, Wright RO, Schwartz J, Spiro III A, Sparrow D, Aro A, Hu H. Cumulative lead exposure and prospective change in cognition among elderly men: the VA Normative Aging Study. Am. J. Epidemiol. 160(12):1184-93, 2004.
Weisskopf MG, Hanrahan LP, Anderson HA, for the Great Lakes Consortium. Decreased sex ratio following maternal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls from contaminated Great Lakes sport-caught fish: a retrospective cohort study. Environ. Health. 2:2, 2003.
Weisskopf MG, Bauer EP, LeDoux JE. L-type voltage-gated calcium channels mediate NMDA-independent associative long-term potentiation at thalamic input synapses to the amygdala. J. Neurosci. 19:10512-10519, 1999.
Weisskopf MG, Nicoll RA. Presynaptic changes during mossy fibre LTP revealed by NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic responses. Nature 376:256-259, 1995.
Weisskopf MG, Castillo PE, Zalutsky RA, Nicoll RA. Mediation of hippocampal mossy fiber long-term potentiation by cyclic AMP. Science 265:1878-1882, 1994.
Weisskopf MG, Zalutsky RA, Nicoll RA. The opioid peptide dynorphin mediates heterosynaptic depression of hippocampal mossy fibre synapses and modulates long-term potentiation. Nature 362:423-427, 1993.
ID 215, Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
EPI 284, Epidemiology of Neurologic Diseases
HCM705, A Case-Based Introduction to Environmental Health and Epidemiology