Pamela Lein, Ph.D.

 Pamela  Lein, Ph.D.


  • Professor
  • Molecular Biosciences


Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Neurotoxicity

Research Summary

Dr Lein received a B.S. in Biology from Cornell University in 1981, a M.S. in Environmental Health from East Tennessee State University in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Buffalo School Of Medicine in 1990.  She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular Immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute from 1990 until 1992.  Following her postdoctoral training, she worked for one year as an environmental health analyst at a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in western NY.  In 1993, she joined the faculty of the Biology department at Canisius College, a primarily undergraduate institute in Buffalo, NY, where she developed a successful undergraduate program in neuroscience.  In 1999, she left Canisius College for a faculty position in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Division of Toxicological Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she started an independent research program in developmental neurotoxicology.  In 2003, Dr. Lein was recruited to the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET) at Oregon Health & Science University, and in 2008, she was recruited to the University of California-Davis where she currently holds the position of Professor in Neurotoxicology in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, and Chair of the graduate group in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Her teaching responsibilities include both veterinary and graduate courses in neurochemistry, developmental neurobiology, neurotoxicology and autonomic pharmacology.  Dr. Lein serves as a standing member on NIH study section, as an associate editor for the journals Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology and NeuroToxicology and as a member of the editorial board for Toxicological Sciences.  She is currently president of the Neurotoxicology Specialty Section in the Society of Toxicology.  Dr. Lein’s research focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotoxicity with particular emphasis on mechanisms by which organophosphorus pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls or inflammatory mediators interfere with neuronal connectivity and contribute to childhood diseases such as autism and asthma.  She is also interested in the development of alternative models for developmental neurotoxicity testing (DNT) and is a member of the steering committee for TestSmart: DNT, a collaborative program between the U.S.E.P.A. and the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) that is focused on developing alternative models for developmental neurotoxicity testing.

Select Publications

Wayman GA, Yang D, Bose DD, Lesiak A, Ledoux V, Bruun D, Pessah IN, Lein PJ (2012) PCB 95 promotes dendritic growth via ryanodine receptor-dependent mechanisms. Environ Health Perspect 120(7): 997-1002.

Wayman GA, Bose DD, Yang D, Lesiak A, Bruun D, Impey S, Ledoux V, Pessah IN, Lein PJ (2012) PCB 95 modulates calcium-dependent signaling pathway responsible for activity-dependent dendritic growth. Environ Health Perspect 120(7):1003-9.

Garred MM, Wang MM, Guo X, Harrington CA and Lein PJ (2011) Transcriptional responses of cultured rat sympathetic neuron during BMP-7-induced dendritic growth. PLoS ONE, 6(7): e21754. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021754.

Yang D, Lauridsen H, Buels K, Chi L-H, La Du J, Bruun DA, Olson JR, Tanguay RL, Lein PJ (2011) Chlorpyrifos-oxon disrupts zebrafish axonal growth and motor behavior. Toxicol Sci 121:46-59.

Proskocil BJ, Bruun DA, Thompson CM, Fryer AD, Lein PJ (2010) Organophosphorus pesticides decrease M2 muscarinic receptor function in guinea pig airway nerves via indirect mechanisms. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10562. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010562.

Bucelli RC, Gonsiorek EA, Kim W-Y, Bruun D, Rabin RA, Higgins D, Lein PJ. (2008) Statins decrease expression of the proinflammatory neuropeptides calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P in sensory neurons. J Pharmacol Exp Therap 324(3): 1172-1180.

Proskocil BJ, Bruun DA, Lorton JK, Blensly KA, Jacoby DB, Lein PJ, Fryer AD (2008) Antigen sensitization influences organophosphorus pesticide-induced airway hyperreactivity. Environ Health Perspect 116(3): 381-388. 

Yang D, Howard A, Bruun D, Ajua-Alemanj M, Pickart C, Lein PJ (2008) Chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-oxon inhibit axon outgrowth by disrupting the morphogenic activity of acetylcholinesterase. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 228: 32-41.

Dziennis S, Yang D, Cheng J, Anderson K, Alkayed NJ, Hurn PD, Lein PJ (2008) Developmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls influences stroke outcome in adult rats.  Environ Health Perspect. 116(4): 474-480.

Lein PJ, Guo X, Shi GX, Moholt-Siebert M, Bruun D, Andres DA (2007) The novel GTPase Rit differentially regulates axonal and dendritic growth. J Neurosci 27(17): 4725-4736.

Lein PJ, Johnson M, Guo X, Rueger D, Higgins D (1995) Osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) induces dendritic growth in rat sympathetic neurons. Neuron 15:597-605.


Pharmacology and Toxicology (PTX) Graduate Group

Graduate Group in Immunology