John Bucher, who studied toxic agents from A to Z, retires from NIEHS

NIEHS News Environmental Factor May 2021

During almost four decades at the institute, he brought innovation to many complex issues, such as reducing animal use in research.


John Bucher, Ph.D., senior scientist in the NIEHS Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP), retired in April after nearly four decades at the institute. His scientific achievements, innovative thinking, and mentorship will leave a lasting influence, according to colleagues.

Throughout his career, Bucher advanced knowledge on the health effects of numerous environmental agents, such as fluoride and cell phone radiation. He also expanded understanding and adoption of nonanimal approaches to toxicological research.

Reducing use of animals

After earning his undergraduate degree in biology from Knox College in Illinois, Bucher received a master’s in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then took up pharmacology as a doctoral student at the University of Iowa.

Later, Bucher drew insights from pharmacology when developing ways to reduce the use of animals in toxicological research and study chemicals more rapidly and efficiently. He said that his achievements in this regard are especially rewarding.

“Traditional toxicology studies often are too expensive and time-consuming, and it can take years for findings to be disseminated,” said Bucher. “I am proud that my colleagues and I recognized that this was unsustainable and worked to advance novel experimental approaches.”

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