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Frederick vom Saal

Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences
PhD, 1976 Rutgers University

Office: 105 Lefevre Hall
Phone: 573-882-4367
Additional: Website
Headshot of Frederick vom Saal


Research summary

Effects of estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals on fetal development

Research description

Research in my laboratory concerns the effects on fetal development of endogenous sex hormones, naturally occurring estrogenic chemicals in food, (such as phytoestrogens in soy), and estrogenic manmade chemicals in consumer products (such as bisphenol A in plastic). We collect fetal mouse reproductive tissues and use primary mouse and human cell culture to investigate cellular mechanisms that mediate responses to hormones and other chemicals. We have confirm observations from in vivo experiments using mice. An important aspect of this research is that we use a physiologically based approach to determine the doses of chemicals that we examine. This approach has led to findings that fetal tissues are extremely sensitive to much lower doses of endogenous estradiol and manmade estrogenic chemicals than had previously been appreciated.

Select Publications

Select Publications

Heindel, J.J., Blumberg, B., Cave, M., Machtinger, R., Mantovani, A., Mendez, M.A., Nadal, A., Palanza, P., Panzica, G., Sargis, R., Vandenberg, L.N., vom Saal, F. Metabolism disrupting chemicals and metabolic disorders(2017) Reproductive Toxicology, 68, pp. 3-33.

Vandenberg, L.N., Blumberg, B., Antoniou, M.N., Benbrook, C.M., Carroll, L., Colborn, T., Everett, L.G., Hansen, M., Landrigan, P.J., Lanphear, B.P., Mesnage, R., vom Saal, F.S., Welshons, W.V., Myers, J.P. Is it time to reassess current safety standards for glyphosate-based herbicides? (2017) Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 71 (6), pp. 613-618.

Jandegian, C.M., Deem, S.L., Bhandari, R.K., Holliday, C.M., Nicks, D., Rosenfeld, C.S., Selcer, K.W., Tillitt, D.E., vom Saal, F.S., Vélez-Rivera, V., Yang, Y., Holliday, D.K. Corrigendum to “Developmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) alters sexual differentiation in painted turtles (Chrysemys picta)” [Gen. Comp. Endocr. 216 (2015) 77–85] (S0016648015000933) (10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.04.003) (2017) General and Comparative Endocrinology, 247, p. 223.

Myers JP, Antoniou MN, Blumberg B, Carroll L, Colborn T, Everett LG, Hansen M, Landrigan PJ, Lanphear BP, Mesnage R et al: Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: A consensus statement. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2016, 15(1).

Palanza P, Nagel SC, Parmigiani S, vom Saal FS: Perinatal exposure to endocrine disruptors: Sex, timing and behavioral endpoints. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 2016, 7:69-75.

Stahlhut RW, van Breemen RB, Gerona RR, Taylor JA, Welshons WV, Vom Saal FS: Comment on “Optimal exposure biomarkers for nonpersistent chemicals in environmental epidemiology”. Environmental Health Perspectives 2016, 124(4):A66.

Vom Saal FS, Welshons WV: Endocrine disruptors: Manmade and natural oestrogens: Opposite effects on assisted reproduction. Nature Reviews Endocrinology 2016, 12(5):251-252.

Vandenberg, L.N., Gerona, R.R., Kannan, K., Taylor, J.A., Van Breemen, R.B., Dickenson, C.A., Liao, C., Yuan, Y., Newbold, R.R., Padmanabhan, V., Vom Saal, F.S., Woodruff, T.J. Erratum: A round robin approach to the analysis of bisphenol a (BPA) in human blood samples (2016) Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 15 (1), art. no. 126, .

Vom Saal, F.S. Triennial Reproduction Symposium: Environmental programming of reproduction during fetal life: Effects of intrauterine position and the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (2016) Journal of Animal Science, 94 (7), pp. 2722-2736.

Trasande, L., Vandenberg, L.N., Bourguignon, J.-P., Myers, J.P., Slama, R., vom Saal, F., Zoeller, R.T. Peer-reviewed and unbiased research, rather than 'sound science', should be used to evaluate endocrine-disrupting chemicals (2016) Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70 (11), pp. 1051-1056.

Schug, T.T., Johnson, A.F., Birnbaum, L.S., Colborn, T., Guillette, L.J., Crews, D.P., Collins, T., Soto, A.M., Vom Saal, F.S., McLachlan, J.A., Sonnenschein, C., Heindel, J.J. Minireview: Endocrine disruptors: Past lessons and future directions (2016) Molecular Endocrinology, 30 (8), pp. 833-847.

VandeVoort, C.A., Gerona, R.R., Vom Saal, F.S., Tarantal, A.F., Hunt, P.A., Hillenweck, A., Zalko, D. Maternal and fetal pharmacokinetics of oral radiolabeled and authentic bisphenol a in the rhesus monkey (2016) PLoS ONE, 11 (12), art. no. e0165410,

Bhandari RK, Deem SL, Holliday DK, Jandegian CM, Kassotis CD, Nagel SC, Tillitt DE, vom Saal FS, Rosenfeld CS: Effects of the environmental estrogenic contaminants bisphenol A and 17α-ethinyl estradiol on sexual development and adult behaviors in aquatic wildlife species. General and Comparative Endocrinology 2015, 214:195-219.

Bhandari RK, Vom Saal FS, Tillitt DE: Transgenerational effects from early developmental exposures to bisphenol A or 17α-ethinylestradiol in medaka, Oryzias latipes. Scientific Reports 2015, 5.

Gioiosa L, Palanza P, Parmigiani S, Vom Saal FS: Risk evaluation of endocrine-disrupting chemicals: Effects of developmental exposure to low doses of bisphenol a on behavior and physiology in mice (Mus musculus). Dose-Response 2015, 13(4).

Heindel JJ, Vom Saal FS, Blumberg B, Bovolin P, Calamandrei G, Ceresini G, Cohn BA, Fabbri E, Gioiosa L, Kassotis C et al: Parma consensus statement on metabolic disruptors. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2015, 14(1).

Jandegian CM, Deem SL, Bhandari RK, Holliday CM, Nicks D, Rosenfeld CS, Selcer KW, Tillitt DE, vom Saal FS, Vélez-Rivera V et al: Developmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) alters sexual differentiation in painted turtles (Chrysemys picta). General and Comparative Endocrinology 2015, 216:77-85.

Kassotis CD, Alvarez DA, Taylor JA, vom Saal FS, Nagel SC, Tillitt DE: Characterization of Missouri surface waters near point sources of pollution reveals potential novel atmospheric route of exposure for bisphenol A and wastewater hormonal activity pattern. Science of the Total Environment 2015, 524-525:384-393.

Oreskes N, Carlat D, Mann ME, Thacker PD, Vom Saal FS: Viewpoint: Why Disclosure Matters. Environmental Science and Technology 2015, 49(13):7527-7528.

Vom Saal FS, Vandevoort CA, Taylor JA, Welshons WV, Toutain PL, Hunt PA: Bisphenol A (BPA) pharmacokinetics with daily oral bolus or continuous exposure via silastic capsules in pregnant rhesus monkeys: Relevance for human exposures. Reproductive Toxicology 2014, 45:105-116.

Vandenberg LN, Gerona RR, Kannan K, Taylor JA, Van Breemen RB, Dickenson CA, Liao C, Yuan Y, Newbold RR, Padmanabhan V et al: A round robin approach to the analysis of bisphenol a (BPA) in human blood samples. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2014, 13(1).

Hormann AM, Vom Saal FS, Nagel SC, Stahlhut RW, Moyer CL, Ellersieck MR, Welshons WV, Toutain PL, Taylor JA: Holding thermal receipt paper and eating food after using hand sanitizer results in high serum bioactive and urine total levels of bisphenol A (BPA). PLoS ONE 2014, 9(10).

Lathi RB, Liebert CA, Brookfield KF, Taylor JA, Vom Saal FS, Fujimoto VY, Baker VL: Conjugated bisphenol A in maternal serum in relation to miscarriage risk. Fertility and Sterility 2014, 102(1):123-128.

Vandenberg LN, Welshons WV, Vom Saal FS, Toutain PL, Myers JP: Should oral gavage be abandoned in toxicity testing of endocrine disruptors? Environmental health : a global access science source 2014, 13(1).

vom Saal FS, Welshons WV: Evidence that bisphenol A (BPA) can be accurately measured without contamination in human serum and urine, and that BPA causes numerous hazards from multiple routes of exposure. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 2014, 398(1-2):101-113.

Vandenberg LN, Colborn T, Hayes TB, Heindel JJ, Jacobs DR, Lee DH, Myers JP, Shioda T, Soto AM, vom Saal FS et al: Regulatory decisions on endocrine disrupting chemicals should be based on the principles of endocrinology. Reproductive Toxicology 2013, 38:1-15.

Schug TT, Abagyan R, Blumberg B, Collins TJ, Crews D, Defur PL, Dickerson SM, Edwards TM, Gore AC, Guillette LJ et al: Designing endocrine disruption out of the next generation of chemicals. Green Chemistry 2013, 15(1):181-198.

Gioiosa L, Parmigiani S, vom Saal FS, Palanza P: The effects of bisphenol A on emotional behavior depend upon the timing of exposure, age and gender in mice. Hormones and Behavior 2013, 63(4):598-605.

Vandenberg LN, Hunt PA, Myers JP, Vom Saal FS: Human exposures to bisphenol A: Mismatches between data and assumptions. Reviews on Environmental Health 2013, 28(1):37-58.

Angle BM, Do RP, Ponzi D, Stahlhut RW, Drury BE, Nagel SC, Welshons WV, Besch-Williford CL, Palanza P, Parmigiani S et al: Metabolic disruption in male mice due to fetal exposure to low but not high doses of bisphenol A (BPA): Evidence for effects on body weight, food intake, adipocytes, leptin, adiponectin, insulin and glucose regulation. Reproductive Toxicology 2013, 42:256-268.

Do RP, Stahlhut RW, Ponzi D, vom Saal FS, Taylor JA: Non-monotonic dose effects of in utero exposure to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) on testicular and serum testosterone and anogenital distance in male mouse fetuses. Reproductive Toxicology 2012, 34(4):614-621.

Taylor JA, Richter CA, Suzuki A, Watanabe H, Iguchi T, Coser KR, Shioda T, vom Saal FS: Dose-Related Estrogen Effects on Gene Expression in Fetal Mouse Prostate Mesenchymal Cells. PLoS ONE 2012, 7(10).

Nicholson TM, Ricke EA, Marker PC, Miano JM, Mayer RD, Timms BG, Vom Saal FS, Wood RW, Ricke WA: Testosterone and 17β-estradiol induce glandular prostatic growth, bladder outlet obstruction, and voiding dysfunction in male mice. Endocrinology 2012, 153(11):5556-5565.

Zoeller RT, Brown TR, Doan LL, Gore AC, Skakkebaek NE, Soto AM, Woodruff TJ, Vom Saal FS: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and public health protection: A statement of principles from the Endocrine Society. Endocrinology 2012, 153(9):4097-4110.

Vandenberg LN, Colborn T, Hayes TB, Heindel JJ, Jacobs DR, Lee DH, Shioda T, Soto AM, vom Saal FS, Welshons WV et al: Hormones and endocrine-disrupting chemicals: Low-dose effects and nonmonotonic dose responses. Endocrine Reviews 2012, 33(3):378-455.

vom Saal FS, Nagel SC, Coe BL, Angle BM, Taylor JA: The estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and obesity. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 2012, 354(1-2):74-84.

Hanna CW, Bloom MS, Robinson WP, Kim D, Parsons PJ, Vom Saal FS, Taylor JA, Steuerwald AJ, Fujimoto VY: DNA methylation changes in whole blood is associated with exposure to the environmental contaminants, mercury, lead, cadmium and bisphenol A, in women undergoing ovarian stimulation for IVF. Human Reproduction 2012, 27(5):1401-1410.

Schug TT, Vogel SA, Vandenberg LN, Braun JM, Hauser R, Taylor JA, Vom Saal FS, Heindel JJ: Bisphenol A. In: Dioxins and Health: Including Other Persistent Organic Pollutants and Endocrine Disruptors: Third Edition. 2012: 381-413.

vom Saal FS, Prins GS, Welshons WV: Report of very low real-world exposure to bisphenol A is unwarranted based on a lack of data and flawed assumptions. Toxicological Sciences 2012, 125(1):318-320.

Honors & Awards

Selected honors and awards

Environmental Health Hero Award, CleanMed Association 2010

University of Missouri Alumni Association Faculty Award 2010

Heinz Foundation Award in Environmental Science 2010

Mystical Seven Honor Society 2008

Curators’ Professor-University of Missouri 2007

Upstream Award - Jennifer Altman Foundation 2006

Millennium Award - Indian Institute for Sustainable Future 2001

Elected Fellow - AAAS 1999

Elected Honorary Member - Italian Academy of Science 1990