Peter S. Spencer, Ph.D., FANA, FRCPath

  • Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine


Founding Director (1988–2009) of both the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (renamed Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences) and the OHSU Global Health Center (2009–2013), Dr. Spencer specializes in neurotoxicology, occupational and environmental neurology, and in global health. He has received continuous federal research grant support for more than 45 years.

Additional information

Symposium to Recognize Lifetime Research Contributions of P.S. Spencer. The 1997 Arkansas Toxicology Symposium on Neurodegenerative Disease: Chemicals, Drugs, and Diet, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration National Center for Toxicology Research.

Television Documentaries Featuring Research of P.S. Spencer:

The Island of the Colour Blind, internationally aired television documentary and accompanying text by Oliver Sacks, 1996.

The Poison That Waits, internationally aired television documentary, British Broadcasting Corporation, 1988.

The Illness and the Odyssey, international aired television documentary, Berry Minott Productions, 2013. 

Enconium for P.S. Spencer, Bolon, B. Perspectives on Past Practices and Future Trends in Toxicologic Neuropathology: Notes from a Keynote Address by Dr. Peter S. Spencer. Toxicologic Pathology 39:15-18, 2011.


Spencer, P.S., and Schaumburg, H.H. Experimental and Clinical Neurotoxicology, 2nd edition, Oxford, New York, 2000 (1310 pages).

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. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00074 

VValdes, 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, 2018;12(6):e0006588. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006588.

Spencer, P.S. Hypothesis: Etiologic and molecular mechanistic leads for sporadic neurodegenerative diseases based on experience with Western Pacific ALS/PDC. Frontiers in Neurology 2019 Jul 31;10:754. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00754

SpenceSpencer, P.S., Mazumder R., Palmer V.s., and Pollanen, M. Nodding syndrome phenotypes.Revue Neurologique(Paris) 175:679-685, 2019.

Spencer, P.S. Neuroprotein targets of γ-diketone metabolites of aliphatic and aromatic solvents. Toxicologic Pathology, 1-11, 2020.

Education and training

    • B.Sc., 1968, University of London, Faculty of Science (Zoology, Physiology, Biochemistry)
    • Ph.D., 1972, University of London, Faculty of Medicine (Pathology)
  • Internship

    • Postdoctoral, 1972-74. Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Neuroscience)
  • Fellowship

    • 1975-76. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. National Fellow in the Neurosciences

Memberships and associations:

  • American Association of Neuropathologists
  • European Association of Neurology
  • Peripheral Nerve Society
  • Royal College of Pathologists
  • Society of Toxicology and the Specialty Section on Neurotoxicology
  • World Federation of Neurology

Areas of interest

  • Molecular mechanisms and adverse effects of neurotoxic chemicals
  • Etiology and prevention of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases
  • International health research on disease clusters

Honors and awards

  • 2018. Opening Keynote Lecturer, International Turkish Neurology Congress, Antalya, Turkey
  • 2018. Plenary Lecturer, International Conf. on Prevention of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Shenzhen CDC
  • 2017. Keynote Lecturer, The Belt and Road Initiative Global Health International Congress & 2017 Chinese Preventive Medicine Assn. - Chinese Society on Global Health Annual Meeting, Xi’an, China
  • 2015. Edward Jenner Research Award in Neurotoxicology
  • 2013. Honorary Professor of Neuroscience, Gulu University, Republic of Uganda
  • 2013. Keynote Lecturer, Jacob Hooisma, International Neurotoxicology Association, The Netherlands
  • 2012. Keynote Lecturer, International Congress on Neurology and Epidemiology, Nice, France
  • 2010. Keynote Lecturer, Annual Meeting, Society of Toxicologic Pathology and International Federation of Societies of Toxicologic Pathologists, Chicago
  • 2006. Honorary Professor, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, P.R. China
  • 2005. Alice B. Hamilton Lecturer, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
  • 2005. Honorary Professor, Sichuan University, Chengdu, P.R. China
  • 2005. Honorary Member, Indian Academy of Neurosciences, India
  • 2004. President, Pacific Northwest Society of Toxicology
  • 2004. Honorary Professor, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, P. R. China
  • 2004. George H. Germann Memorial Lecturer, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, San Antonio
  • 2004. Advisory Professor, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, P.R. China
  • 2003. Sitlington Lecturer in Toxicology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University
  • 2003. Privileged Professor, Fudan University, Shanghai, P.R. China
  • 2003. Distinguished Service Award, African Society of Toxicological Sciences
  • 2003. Sibte Hasan Zaidi Oration, Lucknow, India
  • 2002. Distinguished Scientist Award in Neurotoxicology, Society of Toxicology.
  • 1998. Alzheimer’s Association Brumback Research Award (outstanding achievement in research)
  • 1997. Snider Foundation Award, Arkansas (for contributions in toxicology)
  • 1994. Director’s Research Award, Portland Veteran Affairs Medical Center
  • 1993. Sylvio O. Conte Award for Environmental Health Science.
  • 1990. Ellerman Lecturer, Swiss Association of Neuropathology
  • 1988. Kugelberg Lecturer, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1988. Hänninen Lecturer, Pan American Health Organization
  • 1987. Honorary Professor, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Beijing, China (later renamed Chinese Center for Disease and Prevention, Beijing, P.R. China
  • 1987. Tarbox Distinguished Neuroscience Lecturer, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
  • 1987. Sterling Visiting Professor, Albany Medical College, New York
  • 1986. Ellerman Lecturer, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 1976. Co-recipient, Moore Award, American Association of Neuropathologists
  • 1975. Recipient, Weil Award, American Association of Neuropathologists
  • 1975. Co-recipient of President's Prize, Canadian Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
  • 1975-76. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. National Fellow in the Neurosciences



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