Susan Schantz

2347 Beckman Institute
Office: 217 333-6230

Mail to:
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
405 N. Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801
Lab Page

Susan Schantz

Professor, Comparative Biosciences,
Beckman Institute
B.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
University Scholar

Director NIEHS Training Program in Endocrine, Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology

Director, NIEHS-USEPA Children's Environmental Health Research Center at Illinois


One aspect of my research centers on understanding the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on nervous system function during development and aging, two periods when the nervous system is particularly vulnerable to toxic insult. My approach includes laboratory-based animal studies and parallel epidemiological studies. Currently we are recruiting a pregnancy cohort of 600 women and following their infants prospectively from birth to assess the impact of prenatal exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals found in consumer products on early neurodevelopment. One aspect of my laboratory animal research program is mechanistically based, focusing on understanding the specific functional domains that are altered or impaired by these chemicals and the biological mechanisms underlying those impairments. Another aspect is risk-based, modeling actual human exposure to endocrine disruptors and documenting what neurobehavioral outcomes that are affected. Another aspect of my program focuses on assessing the impact of dietary estrogens on cognitive function during aging. Specifically we are using animal models to assess the effects of estrogenic dietary supplements on cognitive functions as well as the underlying mechanisms for these effects.

Collaborative Projects

Children's Environmental Health Research Center includes collaborations with other neuroscience and psychology faculty including Drs. Janice Juraska, Renee Baillargeon and Daniel Hyde.

Botanical Research Center includes collaborations with Dr. Donna Korol, formerly a member of the neuroscience program and now a faculty member at Syracuse University.

Studies on developmental PCB exposure and auditory function include a collaboration with Dr. Daniel Llano of the neuroscience program.

Research Areas

Major Grants

NIEHS 5 T32 ES007326-16-20; Research Training Program in Environmental Toxicology, 7/1/2000-6/30/2020, Role: Director

NIEHS 1 P01 ES022848/USEPA RD835434010; Novel Methods to Assess the Effects of Chemicals on Child Development (Children’s Environmental Health Research Center), 6/1/2013-4/30/2018, Role: Director and PI of Project 1. Joint Effects of Endocrine Disruptors, Diet and BMI on Child Neurodevelopment.

NCCAM 1 P50 AT006268; Botanical Estrogens, Mechanism, Dose and Target Tissue (Botanical Research Center); 9/1/2010-8/31/16, Role: Associate Director and PI of Project 3: Botanical Estrogens and Cognitive Function.

Representative Publications

Poon E, Powers BE, McAlonan RM, Ferguson DC, and Schantz, SL (2011) Effects of developmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and/or polybrominated diphenyl ethers on cochlear function. Toxicological Sciences, 124, 161-168, PMID:21873374; PMC3196655.

Paule, M.G., Green, L., Myerson, J., Alvarado, M., Bachevalier, J., Schneider, J.S. and Schantz, S.L. (2012) Behavioral toxicology of cognition: Extrapolation from experimental animal models to humans. Neurotoxicology and Teratology; 34:263-73. PMID: 22311110; PMC3308173

Pisani, S.L., Neese, S.L., Doerge, D.R., Helferich, W.G., Schantz, S.L., Korol, D.L. (2012). Acute genistein treatment mimics the effects of estradiol by enhancing place learning and impairing response learning in young adult female rats. Hormones and Behavior 62:491-9. PMID: 22944517; PMC3495242

Poon, E., Monaikul, S., Kostyniak, PJ, Chi, LH, Schantz, SL and Sable, HJ. (2013) Developmental exposure to polychlorinated bihphenyls reduces amphetamine behavioral sensitization in Long Evans Rats. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 38:6-12.PMID: 23623962 [PubMed – in process]

Neese, S.L., Korol, D.L. and Schantz, S.L. (2013) Voluntary exercise exacerbates an estradiol-induced working memory impairment in ovariectomized middle-aged rats. Hormones and Behavior. 64:579-88.

Yolton, K., Cornelius, M., Ornoy, A., McGough, J., Makris, S. and Schantz, S. (2014) Exposure to neurotoxicants and the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and associated behaviors in childhood. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 44:30-45.

Sadowski RN, Wise LM, Park PY, Schantz SL, Juraska JM. (2014) Early exposure to bisphenol A alters neuron and glia number in the rat prefrontal cortex of adult males, but not females. Neuroscience 279:122-31.

Poon, E., Bandara, S., Allen, J., Sadowski, R.N. and Schantz, S.L. (2015) Developmental PCB exposure increases susceptibility to audiogenic seizures in adulthood. Neurotoxicology 46:117-124.

Dzwilewski, K.L. and Schantz, S.L. (2015) Prenatal chemical exposures and child language development. Journal of Communication Disorders 57:41-65.

Bandara, S.B., Eubig, P.A., Sadowski, R.N. and Schantz, S.L. (2016) Developmental PCB exposure increases audiogenic seizures and decreases glutamic acid decarboxylase in the inferior colliculus. Toxicological Sciences (Epub ahead of print).

Pisani, S.L., Neese, S.L., Katzenellenbogen, J.A., Schantz, S.L. and Korol, D.L. (2016) Estrogen receptor-selective agonists modulate learning in female rats in a dose- and task-specific manner. Endocrinology 157:292-303.