ESR Facility (EMRB 68)
Med Labs B180K (Office)
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242-1181, USA
Tel: 319-335-8015 (Office)
or 5-6749 (ESR)
Dr. Buettner’s research focuses on the flow of electrons through chemical, biochemical, and biological systems and the consequences of changing the current in different biological circuits. In mitochondria electrons flow through a high flux circuit efficiently producing ATP, and H2O (respiration); however, some do not flow to dioxygen, rather just to NAD+ (glycolysis). Of special interest is the flow of electrons into the many low flux biochemical circuits that partially reduce dioxygen producing superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. Understanding quantitatively the elements of these circuits (e.g. antioxidants, redox enzymes, and proteins) and how they dictate the fundamental biology of cells and tissues and overall health of organisms is the primary goal. Using this information to improve human health is the ultimate reward.
Dr. Buettner’s goal is to understand the basic chemistry and biology of free radicals and related oxidants in human health and of course antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, glutathione, as well as the enzyme systems that work in concert with these molecules. His work has provided a new view of ascorbate as the terminal, small molecule, water-soluble antioxidant. See: The pecking order of free radicals and antioxidants: Lipid peroxidation, -tocopherol, and ascorbate (PMID: 8434935); The ascorbate free radical as a marker of oxidative stress: An EPR study (PMID: 8384150); The concentration of glutathione in human erythrocytes is a heritable trait (PMID: 23938402).
His basic research on vitamin C has lead to the hypothesis that ascorbate at pharmacological concentrations can be used as a pro-drug for the delivery of hydrogen peroxide to tumor cells and thereby serve as a component of the therapy of certain cancers. See: Ascorbic acid at pharmacologic concentrations selectively kills cancer cells: ascorbic acid as a pro-drug for hydrogen peroxide delivery to tissues (PMID: 16157892); Mechanisms of ascorbate-induced cytotoxicity in pancreatic cancer (PMID: 20068072).
Nitric oxide as a membrane antioxidant. He has contributed to the understanding of fundamental chemistry of this small molecule functioning as an antioxidant; only 10-50 nano molar are needed serve this function. See: Nitric oxide as a cellular antioxidant: A little goes a long way (PMID: 16443165).
He has initiated the new research field of Quantitative Redox Biology. This represents a transition from understanding basic biology of cells and tissues at an observational level to a true mechanistic level. His work in this arena changed the working paradigm of redox biology. Examples are: The pecking order of free radicals and antioxidants: Lipid peroxidation, alpha-tocopherol, and ascorbate (PMID: 8434935); Redox state of the cell as viewed though the glutathione disulfide/glutathione couple (PMID: 11368918); and A new paradigm: Manganese superoxide dismutase influences the production of H2O2 in cells and thereby their biological state (PMID: 17015180).
The primary goal of our research program is: to do some good.
- Du J, Cullen JJ, Buettner GR. (2012) Ascorbic acid: chemistry, biology and the treatment of cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Reviews on Cancer. 1826:443-457. PMID: 22728050 http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.bbcan.2012.06.003 PMCID: PMC3608474
- Welsh JL, Wagner BA, van ’t Erve TJ, Zehr PS, Berg DJ, Halfdanarson TR, Yee NS, Bodeker KL, Du J, Roberts LJ 2nd, Levine M, Buettner GR, Cullen JJ. (2013) Pharmacological ascorbate with gemcitabine for the control of metastatic and node-positive pancreatic cancer (PACMAN): Results from a phase I clinical trial. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 71(3):765-775. PMID: 23381814 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00280-013-2070-8 PMCID: PMC3587047
- Wagner BA, Witmer JR, van ‘t Erve TJ, Buettner GR. (2013) An assay for the rate of removal of extracellular hydrogen peroxide by cells. Redox Biology. 1: 210-217. PMID: 23936757 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2013.01.011 Open Access PMCID: PMC3736862
- van ‘t Erve TJ, Wagner BA, Rykman KK, Raife TJ, Buettner GR. (2013) The concentration of glutathione in human erythrocytes is a heritable trait. Free Radic Biol Med. 65:742-749. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.08.002 PMID: 23938402 PMCID: PMC3859832
- Moser JC, Rawal M, Wagner BA, Du J, Cullen JJ, Buettner GR. (2014) Pharmacological ascorbate and ionizing radiation (IR) increase labile iron in pancreatic cancer. Redox Biology. 2:22-27, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2013.11.005 PMID: 24396727 PMCID: PMC3881203
- Doskey CM, van ‘t Erve TJ, Wagner BA, Buettner GR. (2015) Moles of a substance per cell Is a highly informative dosing metric in cell culture. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0132572. PMID: 26172833 http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132572 PMCID: PMC4501792
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology: http://toxicology.grad.uiowa.edu
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center: http://www.uihealthcare.org/HoldenComprehensiveCancerCenter/
Environmental Health Science Research Center: http://cph.uiowa.edu/ehsrc/
Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research: http://cgrer.uiowa.edu
Honors, Awards and Organizations
- Lifetime Achievement Award (2010), Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine. This award is bestowed on a scientist whose aggregate body of work, over their lifetime has contributed to the field of free radical biology and medicine.
Silver Medal Biology/Medicine, 2009, International EPR (ESR) Society (The award committee especially noted his fundamental contributions that have advanced the use of EPR spin trapping in biology and medicine.)
AAAS Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Science), 2008, for distinguished contributions and leadership in the field of free radical biology, particularly the application of thermodynamics to elucidate the role of antioxidants in biology.
President, 2004-2006, Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, the largest professional society devoted to the study of free radical and redox biology.
Distinguished Service Award, 2006, Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine
Staples Distinguished Lecturer, 2000, The University of Maine,
Master Teacher Award, 1999, given by the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, formerly the Oxygen Society/Free Radical Research Society.
Citation Classic selection by the Institute for Scientific Information, the publishers of Current Contents, for: Oberley LW and Buettner GR (1979) The role of superoxide dismutase in cancer: A review. Cancer Research 39: 1141-1149. [Citation Commentary] [Abstract] [PDF]
Citation Classic selection by the Institute for Scientific Information, the publishers of Current Contents, for: Buettner GR, Oberley LW, and Leuthauser SWHC. (1978) The effect of iron on the distribution of superoxide and hydroxyl radicals as seen by spin trapping and on the superoxide dismutase assay. Photochem Photobiol 28: 693-695. [Citation Commentary] [PDF]
Citation Classic selection by the Institute for Scientific Information, the publishers of Current Contents, for: Buettner GR and Oberley LW. (1978) Considerations in the spin trapping of superoxide and hydroxyl radicals in aqueous systems using 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-1-oxide. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 83: 64-74 [Citation Commentary] [PDF]
1995-Present, Editorial Board Archives Biochemistry and Biophysics
1995-Present, Editorial Board Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine
1999-2004, Editorial Board Free Radical Research
1985-1987, Fulbright Scholar GSF Research Institute, Munich, Germany
Ph.D. Chemistry, The University of Iowa, 1976.
M.S. Chemistry, The University of Iowa, 1969.
B.A. Chemistry, University of Northern Iowa, 1967.
Fulbright Scholar GSF Research Institute, Munich, Germany, 1985-1987.
NRSA Senior Fellow NIEHS, North Carolina, 1984-1985.
NRSA Post Doctoral Fellow Radiation Research Lab, The University of Iowa, 1976-1978