Dr Norman Kleiman

IAS Fellow at Trevelyan College, Durham University (January – March 2014)

Dr Norman J. Kleiman works at the intersection of public health, radiation research and ophthalmology, often using the eye as a model system to study the effects of environmental exposures, and ionizing radiation in particular, on human health.

He has contiguous funding from NASA, and the Department of Energy. This funded research is directed towards understanding how exposure to small amounts of low-LET radiation, like X-rays, or high energy space radiation, causes cataracts in animal models, including those that have gene defects involving DNA damage recognition and repair or cell cycle control. Other research of Dr. Kleiman estimates relative risk of radiation cataract in medical workers such as interventional cardiologists and associated nursing personnel following occupational exposure to X-ray.

A collaborative study with Ukrainian colleagues examines radiation risk in Chernobyl accident clean-up workers, and a NIEHS funded project investigates the potential relationship between arsenic exposure and eye pathology. Dr. Kleiman also studies how radiation or other environmental stresses cause DNA damage, misrepair and mutagenesis that lead to disease and how individual genetic determinants influence risk. These investigations help in formulating appropriate risk policies and aid in development of human radiation exposure guidelines as well as having important therapeutic implications for radio- and/or chemo-sensitive subsets of the human population.

His recent work with respect to arsenicals impacts another key world environmental health issue – namely the effect of water contamination on human health. Both areas of research are receiving greater recognition in line with the increasing public and government importance associated with diminishing resources (water and energy).

Dr Kleiman is currently President of the Board for Fight for Sight USA; is a technical cooperation expert for the International Atomic Energy Agency and serves on scientific committees of the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). He is U.S. Director for the Ukrainian American Chernobyl Ocular Study (UACOS).

While in Durham Dr Kleiman will contribute to the IAS subtheme of Light for Health and Wellbeing and particularly the activities involved in Sensing Light and Light Responses.