John Bucher, PhD

John Bucher, PhD
Program: 
Ph.D.

Previous education:

MS
Biochemistry
University of North Carolina
PhD
Pharmacology/Toxicology
The University of Iowa
Year of degree: 
1981
Current research description: 

Dr. John Bucher inherited an interest in science from his physician father, but he combined it with a strong interest in politics. A college student “at a time after ‘Silent Spring’ and before Love Canal,” he was aware of the impact toxicology could have on society. He also recalls President Nixon’s “war on cancer” that led to the creation of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the National Cancer Institute’s bioassay program. With an MS in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina, Dr. Bucher came to the University of Iowa to earn a PhD in pharmacology/toxicology (1981). His dissertation on "Oxygen-Induced Alterations in the Morphology, Biochemistry, and Physiology of the Developing Rat Lung" was written under the direction of Dr. Robert J. (“Butch”) Roberts, Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Pharmacology.


Following a position as a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University, Dr. Bucher joined the National Toxicology Program in 1983. Over the years he assumed positions of increasing responsibility, leading scientific groups, the Toxicology Branch, and since June 2007 the NTP itself as Associate Director (the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences serves as NTP director).


An internationally recognized expert in the design and interpretation of cancer bioassays, Bucher has played a key role in shaping the national program’s research and policies. For example, having identified the issue that manufactured nanomaterials could have different toxic properties than larger-scale products, he organized one of the first conferences to explore the field of nanotoxicology.


At the NTP, he has played a major role in developing the agency’s “Vision and Roadmap for the 21st Century.” The vision is to move toxicology from a predominantly observational to a predominantly predictive science and to play a key role in helping regulatory agencies understand and appreciate the “new” science and how to translate finding into regulations.

Counsel for current toxicology students: 
“Don’t get pigeonholed into just understanding methodology since the science is changing so fast. And don’t lose sight of the overall purpose of toxicology which is to advance public health.”Don’t get pigeonholed into just understanding methodology since the science is changing so fast. And don’t lose sight of the overall purpose of toxicology which is to advance public health.”

Current position: 
Associate Director, National Toxicology Program
Current employer/institution: 
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (National Institutes of Health)
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