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 Schaumburgs Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, Williams & Wilkins, 1980.
Spencer and Schaumburgs Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, Oxford University Press, 2000.
Spencer and Schaumburgs Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, Oxford University Press, 2000 (Chinese)


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:

  • Yu, H., Wang, D., Xu, H., Ren, X., Xu, B., Yuan, J., Liu, J., Zou, L., Zhang, X., Zhu, F. Spencer, P.S., and Yang, X. Proteomic alterations of brain subcellular organelles caused by low-dose copper exposure: Implication for Alzheimer's disease. Archives of Toxicology 92: 1363-1382, 2018.
  • Yu, H., Lin, X., Wang, D., Zhang, Z., Guo, Y., Ren, X., Xu, B., Yuan, J., Liu, J., Spencer, P., Wang, J-Z., and Yang, X. Mitochondrial molecular abnormalities revealed by proteomic analysis of hippocampal organelles of mice triple transgenic for Alzheimer disease. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience 11:74, 2018.
  • Winkler, A.S., Schmutzhard, E., Ardal, C., and Spencer, P.S. Nodding Syndrome: An investment case for global health. Journal of Neuroinfectious Diseases 9:273-277, 2018.
  • Wang, D., Yu, H., Xu, B., Xu, H., Zhang, Z., Ren, X., Yuan, J., Liu, J., Guo, Y., Spencer, P., and Yang, X. TRPC1 deletion causes striatal neuronal cell apoptosis and proteomic alterations in mice. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 10:72, 2018. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00072. eCollection 2018.
  • Gimnez Roldn, S., Morales-Asn, F., Ferrer, I., and Spencer, P.S. New insights into the neuropathology of lathyrism: A 1944 Report by Oliveras de la Riva. Submitted to Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, in press Jan. 2019.
  • Valdes, R.A., Suits, A., Palmer, V.S., Okot, C., Okot, R.A., Atonywalo, C., Kitara, D.L., Gazda, S.K., Lantum, M., and Spencer, P.S. Real-time surveillance of Nodding syndrome in remote regions using lay village mHealth \reporters. PLoS One Neglected Tropical Disease, Jun 15;12(6):e0006588. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006588. eCollection 2018 Jun.
  • Zheng, J., Zheng, W., Zhou, Y., Jiang, S., Spencer, P., Ye, W., Zheng, Y., He, G., and Qu, W. Heavy exposure of waste collectors to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a poor rural area of China. Environmental Science & Technology 2018 Jul 2. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02024.
  • Winkler A, Palmer VS, Schmutzhard E, and Spencer P. Le nodding syndrome: une nouvelle forme dRevue Neurologie, April 2018.