Auburn University’s Newland to give Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecture on effect of environmental contaminants

Christopher Newland will give the 2010 – 2011 Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecture, “Why a Clean Environment Matters: The Behavioral Impact of Environmental Contaminants,” Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 3 p.m. in Langdon Hall. He will be honored with a reception in Hargis Hall following the lecture. All students, faculty and community are invited to attend.

In his lecture, Newland will discuss methylmercury and lead, two environmental contaminants that have been added to the environment with industrialization. Studies of human populations and as well as experimental models have deepened understanding of the impact that these contaminants have had on behavior, academic skills, aging and even criminal activity.

A graduate of Auburn’s engineering school, Newland completed his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982, with a dual minor in neurobiology and mathematics. He was a postdoctoral fellow and research associate in environmental health sciences at the University of Rochester in what is now the Department of Environmental Medicine. He joined Auburn’s Psychology Department in 1988 and was an Alumni Professor from 2001-2006.

Newland says that a major, but largely unsung, public health victory in the 20th century was the removal of lead from gasoline and paint, and that the move is underway to reduce exposure to methylmercury through advisories and new EPA standards. Newland will address these issues, describing how we link experimental studies of these neurotoxic compounds with our understanding of their impact on people to inform public policy.

Newland’s research has been supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute of Drug Abuse and National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. He has served on panels for the National Research Council, EPA and FDA to evaluate and review policies for exposure to neurotoxic substances as well as on editorial boards for key journals in behavioral science and neurotoxicology.

He teaches courses in neuroscience, psychopharmacology and behavioral toxicology. His primary research activity is focused on experimental models of methylmercury’s neurotoxicity across the entire lifespan, but his broader research interests include psychopharmacology and basic research on fundamental behavioral processes.

Newland is the 37th recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecturer award, which is jointly sponsored by the Auburn University Graduate School and Alumni Affairs.

For more information on Newland’s work, go to

Contact: Jessica Nelson, (334) 844-2160 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (