Thomas M. Burbacher, PhD

Professor, Env. and Occ. Health Sciences (Primary department)
Dr. Thomas Burbacher is Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington (UW) where he teaches classes in basic Environmental and Occupational Health and Children's Environmental Health. He is also the Co-director of the UW Pacific Northwest Center for the National Children's Study and the Head of the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences and Director of the Infant Primate Research Laboratory at the UW National Primate Research Center and the Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD). He is also the Head of the Developmental Toxicology Research Emphasis Area at the CHDD and is Director of the Research Translation Core for the UW Superfund Research Program. Dr. Burbacher holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Washington. His postdoctoral work included research in Developmental Toxicology in the Environmental Pathology Training Program at the UW. Dr. Burbacher's research investigates changes in brain development and function caused by prenatal exposure to neuroactive substances. His research reaches across species, including studies with human populations and a variety of animal models, to enhance a fundamental understanding of toxicants and their role in biological and behavioral development. Data from Dr. Burbacher's research program are used to help formulate policies aimed at the protection of human populations from levels of exposure to environmental contaminants such as methylmercury and methanol that are associated with adverse health effects and developmental disabilities.

Contact Information

Box: 357234
1705 NE Pacific Street
Seattle, WA 98195-
Tel: 206-685-1862

Research Interests

  • Children's Environmental Health, Behavioral Toxicology/Teratology
  • KEYWORDS: Developmental Neurotoxicity, Birth defects, Children's health, Developmental Toxicology; Nervous system toxicity

Teaching interests

Children's Environmental Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of Washington, 1983
Selected Publications


Burbacher, G.P. Sackett, & K.S. Grant, K.S, (Eds). (2008). Primate Models of Children's Health and Developmental Disability. New York: Elsevier

Recent Peer Review Publications

Grant KS, Burbacher TM, Faustman EM, Gratttan L. Domoic acid: neurobehavioral consequences of exposure to a prevalent marine biotoxin. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2010; 32(2):132-41. PubMed PMID: 19799996.

Jacobson Misbe EN, Richards TL, McPherson RJ, Burbacher TM, Juul SE. Perinatal asphyxia in a nonhuman primate model. Dev Neurosci. 2011, 33(3-4):210-21 PubMed PMID: 21659720; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3225245.

Cole TB, Fisher JC, Burbacher TM, Costa LG, Furlong CE. Neurobehavioral assessment of mice following repeated postnatal exposure to chlorpyrifos-oxon. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2012 Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22425525.

Burbacher TM, Grant KS. Measuring infant memory: Utility of the visual paired-comparison test paradigm for studies in developmental neurotoxicology. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 2012; 34:473-480. PMID22750243

Tsuchiya A, Duff R, Stern AH, White JW, Krogstad F, Burbacher TM, Faustman EM, Mariën K. Single blood-Hg samples can result in exposure misclassification: temporal monitoring within the Japanese community (United States). Environ Health. 2012; 11:37-44. PMID22676231, PMC3410813

Hinners T, Tsuchiya A, Stern AH, Burbacher TM, Faustman EM, Mariën K. Chronologically matched toenail-Hg to hair-Hg ratio: temporal analysis within the Japanese community (U.S.). Environ Health. 2012; 11:81-90. PMID23113987, PMC3511224

Review date: