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Free Radical Metabolism Group

Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress

Ronald P. Mason, Ph.D.
Ronald P. Mason, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Tel (919) 541-3910
Fax (919) 541-1043

Curriculum Vitae (  Download Adobe Reader
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop F0-03
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

Dr. Mason is a renowned scientist who received the 2007 Senior Investigator Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine ( Exit NIEHS. This honor was also featured in an article ( published in the NIH Record. In 2006, he was selected as the NIEHS Scientist of the Year (/research/atniehs/labs/lpc/freerad/docs/science_star_mason.pdf)  Download Adobe Reader (517K). In 2008, he was selected as the NIEHS Mentor of the Year.

Free radicals are constantly formed in the body during normal metabolic processes, and biological systems have evolved to live with them, control them and even utilize them. However, when their formation is greatly increased, or protective mechanisms compromised, a state of oxidative stress will result. If oxidative stress is persistent, it will lead to molecular damage and tissue injury. Although oxidative stress is thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of several diseases and aging, to date, molecular mechanisms remain poorly defined and the measurement of oxidative stress in humans has not been established for clinical diagnosis. The Free Radical Metabolism Group uses electron spin resonance (ESR) and the newly developed immuno-spin trapping technique to detect and identify free radical Metabolism of toxic chemicals, drugs and biochemicals to unravel the molecular mechanisms that lead to oxidative stress. In addition, the group has become interested in determining measurable, sensitive and specific biomarkers for oxidative damage in rodents, non-human primates and humans.

Major areas of research:

  • Producing polyclonal antibodies that bind to the spin trap/protein adduct of DMPO in immunological-spin trapping techniques
  • Extracting radical adducts generated in tissues and in vivo, and detecting radical adducts in biological fluids
  • Establishing the role of hydroxyl radicals in iron and copper toxicity using ESR

Current projects:

Ronald P. Mason, Ph.D., heads the Free Radical Metabolism Group within the Laboratory of Pharmacology. He received his B.A. from the University of California-Riverside in 1966 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972. He has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles in leading biomedical journals, as well as ~100 review articles and book chapters. He was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine & Pathology at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis before joining NIEHS in 1978.

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Last Reviewed: December 11, 2008