Roberta F. White, PhD
Boston University School of Public Health
Dept of Environmental Health

PhD, Wayne State University
MA, Wayne State University

Roberta F. White is a trans-disciplinary scientist whose research focuses on the effects of exposure to industrial pollutants on brain function. Initially trained as a clinical psychologist/neuropsychologist, her work employs cognitive and behavioral test measures and neuroimaging techniques to identify pollutant effects on the central nervous system. Combining the fields of public health, behavioral neuroscience, and epidemiology as well as clinical neuropsychology, she has explored the effects of occupational lead and solvent exposures on cognitive and affective expressions of brain function; elucidated prenatal effects of exposure to methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyls on cognitive function and neuropsychological outcomes; identified chemical exposures that are associated with the occurrence of Gulf War Illness (GWI) following the Gulf War in 1991, and uncovered cognitive and neuroimaging evidence of structural brain damage associated with GWI and sarin exposure in the GW veteran population. Her work has had significant public health impact in setting standards for occupational exposure to lead, environmental exposure to methylmercury in utero, and acceptance of GWI as a physical illness related to chemical exposures in theatre. She has written extensively on the clinical correlates of encephalopathies caused by exposure to chemical pollutants and co-wrote the World Health Organization criteria for diagnosis of solvent encephalopathy that are used internationally.

Dr. White’s research and clinical career have led to leadership positions in the field of public health and psychology. She was Chair of the Department of Environmental Health 2003-2017 and was Associate Dean for Research at Boston University School of Public Health from 2008-2015. In addition, she was Scientific Director of the Congressionally mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness from 2008-2015, which advises the Veterans Administration on its GWI research portfolio. She has testified before Congress and the National Academy of Medicine many times in her areas of research expertise, particularly GWI. Prior to beginning her tenure as Chair of Environmental Health, she ran the neuropsychology programs at BUSM and VA Boston Medical Center, overseeing clinical work as well as APA-approved doctoral and post-doctoral training programs in clinical neuropsychology. She also directed a VA-funded center on Environmental Hazards through two funding cycles before leaving the VA to work fulltime at BUSPH.

Boston University School of Medicine

Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences

2010 Environmental Health Perspectives: Top Reviewer
2010 Neurotoxicology: Top 25 Reviewers
2006 Fellow, American Psychological Association, Division 12
1998 Collegium Ramazzini: Fellow
1993 Fellow, American Psychological Association, Division 40
1985-1988 Career Development Award. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
1975-1976 Administration on Aging. U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Doctoral Fellowship
1972-1973 Wayne State University Graduate Division Tuition Scholarship
1971-1972 Public Health Service Fellowship

Early Life Exposure to Metal Mixtures and Internalizing Behaviors in Childhood
09/30/2018 - 08/31/2021 (Subcontract PI)
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai NIH NIEHS

Public Health Support Services for ATSDR Public Health Assessment Activities
06/26/2019 - 06/25/2021 (Subcontract PI)
ABT Associates, Inc. HHS CDC

Roberta White: Organizing Committee member and Scientific Expert
01/01/2019 - 06/30/2019 (PI)
President and Fellows of Harvard College dba Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Prenatal Exposure to Polyfluoralkyl Chemicals (PFCs) and Child Growth Development
06/11/2015 - 05/31/2017 (Subcontract PI)
University of California, Berkeley NIH NIEHS

Personnel Agreement for Research Services of Peter Rivoira
10/09/2012 - 09/29/2016 (PI)
Department of Defense/U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine

Personnel Agreement for Research Services of Megan Yee
10/21/2013 - 04/29/2016 (PI of Sub-Project / SP)
PI: Margaret A. Naeser, PhD
VA Boston Healthcare System

Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses at Boston University
04/01/2011 - 09/30/2015 (PI)
Department of Veterans Administration, Bedford

Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses at Boston University
04/01/2011 - 09/30/2015 (PI)
Department of Veterans Administration, Bedford

Personnel Agreement for Research Services of Megan Yee
10/01/2013 - 08/31/2015 (PI)
VA Boston Healthcare System

ANAM4 manuscript preperation
01/01/2013 - 06/30/2013 (Subcontract PI)
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation For The Advancement Of Military Medicine, Inc. DOD Army Med Resrch

Showing 10 of 15 results. Show All Results


Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Bauer JA, Fruh V, Howe CG, White RF, Claus Henn B. Associations of metals and neurodevelopment: A review of recent evidence on susceptibility factors. Current Epidemiology Reports. 2020. View Publication
  2. Aschengrau A, Grippo A, Winter MR, Shea MG, White RF, Saitz R. Drug use disorder following early life exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water: a retrospective cohort study. Environ Health. 2020 09 17; 19(1):99.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32943075
  3. Bauer JA, Devick KL, Bobb JF, Coull BA, Bellinger D, Benedetti C, Cagna G, Fedrighi C, Guazzetti S, Oppini M, Placidi D, Webster TF, White RF, Yang Q, Zoni S, Wright RO, Smith DR, Lucchini RG, Claus Henn B. Associations of a Metal Mixture Measured in Multiple Biomarkers with IQ: Evidence from Italian Adolescents Living near Ferroalloy Industry. Environ Health Perspect. 2020 09; 128(9):97002.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32897104; DOI: 10.1289/EHP6803;
  4. Aschengrau A, Weinberg JM, Janulewicz PA, Romano ME, Gallagher LG, Winter MR, Martin BR, Vieira VM, Webster TF, White RF, Ozonoff DM. Correction to: Occurrence of mental illness following prenatal and early childhood exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated drinking water: a retrospective cohort study. Environ Health. 2020 Apr 09; 19(1):40.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32272944
  5. White, Roberta F, Brand Caitlin. Cognitive disorders in adults. Neurotoxicant disorders. Oxford University Press. New York. 2019.
  6. White, Roberta F, Brand Caitlin. Cognitive disorders in adults. Neurotoxicant disorders. Oxford University Press. New York. 2019.
  7. Harris MH, Oken E, Rifas-Shiman SL, Calafat AM, Ye X, Bellinger DC, Webster TF, White RF, Sagiv SK. Prenatal and childhood exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and child cognition. Environ Int. 2018 06; 115:358-369.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29705692
  8. Maule AL, Janulewicz PA, Sullivan KA, Krengel MH, Yee MK, McClean M, White RF. Meta-analysis of self-reported health symptoms in 1990-1991 Gulf War and Gulf War-era veterans. BMJ Open. 2018 02 13; 8(2):e016086.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29440208; DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016086;
  9. Sullivan K, Krengel M, Bradford W, Stone C, Thompson TA, Heeren T, White RF. Neuropsychological functioning in military pesticide applicators from the Gulf War: Effects on information processing speed, attention and visual memory. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2018 Jan - Feb; 65:1-13.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29126934; DOI: 10.1016/;
  10. Bauer JA, Claus Henn B, Austin C, Zoni S, Fedrighi C, Cagna G, Placidi D, White RF, Yang Q, Coull BA, Smith D, Lucchini RG, Wright RO, Arora M. Manganese in teeth and neurobehavior: Sex-specific windows of susceptibility. Environ Int. 2017 Nov; 108:299-308.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28941415; DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.08.013;
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This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 263 publications over 39 distinct years, with a maximum of 20 publications in 1997

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715 Albany St Talbot Building
Boston MA 02118
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