Peter Spencer Research Page

Peter Spencer PhD, FANA, FRCPath.
Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine
Professor of Occupational Health Sciences

Dr. Spencers research focuses on the occupational and environmental causes and mechanisms of neurological, neurodegenerative diseases, with particular focus on neglected high-incidence disorders in the global setting. His body of research spans >45 years and includes a standard text on experimental and clinical neurotoxicology (see below), the second edition (year-2000) of which is freely available in English, Chinese and Russian. Spencer served as the founding director and senior scientist of the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (1988-2009), the forerunner of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, and the founding director of the OHSU-wide Global Health Center (2009-2013). He holds honorary professorial positions in three countries, including several Chinese institutions with which he collaborates on matters relating to global public health.


Spencer and Schaumburg's Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, Williams & Wilkins, 1980.
Spencer and Schaumburg's Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, Oxford University Press, 2000.
Spencer and Schaumburg's Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, Oxford University Press, 2000 (Chinese)
Spencer and Schaumburg’s Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, Oxford University Press, 2000 (Russian)


The Poison that Waits, BBC documentary on Western Pacific ALS-PDC
The Illness and the Odyssey, international aired television documentary, Berry Minott Productions, 2013.

Recent publications:

• Spencer PS, Chen X. The role of protein adduction in toxic neuropathies of exogenous and endogenous origin. Toxics 9:98, 2021. doi: 10.3390/toxics9050098.

• Spencer, P.S. and Palmer, V.S. Direct and indirect neurotoxic potential of metal/metalloids in plants and fungi used for food, dietary supplements, and herbal medicine. Toxics 9:57, 2021. doi: 10.3390/toxics9030057.

• Duringer J., Mazumder, R., Palmer, V., Craig A.M., and Spencer, P.S. Case-control study of Nodding syndrome in Acholiland: Urinary multi-mycotoxin screening. Toxins (Basel) 13:313, 2021. doi: 10.3390/toxins13050313.

• Kisby, G.E., Eriksen, J.L., Chlebowski, A.C., and Spencer, P.S. Cycad genotoxin methylazoxymethanol (MAM) disrupts the brain ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, tau and a-synuclein, as reported in ALS-PDC. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 80:286-288, 2021. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlab006

• Spencer, P.S., Palmer, V.S., and Kisby, G.E. Etiology of Western Pacific ALS-PDC: Evidence implicating cycad genotoxins. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 419: 117, 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2020.117185

•  Spencer, P.S. Etiology of retinal and cerebellar pathology in Western Pacific Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinsonism-dementia Complex. Eye and Brain 12:97-104, 2020. doi:10.2147/EB.S260823

Román, G.C., Spencer, P.S., Reis, J., et al. The neurology of COVID-19 revisited: A proposal from the Environmental Neurology Specialty Group of the World Federation of Neurology to implement international neurological registries. Journal of Neurological Sciences 414:116884, 2020. doi:10.1016/j.jns.2020.116884

• Román, G.C., Reis, J., Spencer, P.S. et al. COVID-19 international neurological registries. World Federation of Neurology Environmental Neurology Specialty Group. The Lancet Neurology. 19: 484–485, 2020. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30148-4.

Chen, X., Liu, W., Wang, L., Lin, D., Nie, L., He, K., Guo, Z, Zhu, F., Geng, W., Liu, W., Yuan, J., Yang, X., Spencer, P.S., Liu, J. Diabetes mellitus is associated with elevated urinary pyrrole markers of γ-diketones known to cause axonal neuropathy. BMJ Open Diab Res Care, 2020;8:e001575. doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2020-001575