Tom K. Hei, Ph.D.

Vice-Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology
Associate Director, Center for Radiological Research
Professor of Radiation Oncology
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

Department of Radiation Oncology, Center for Radiological Research

Dept. Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health

Contact Information: 

Center for Radiological Research
630 West 168th Street
VC 11-205/218
New York, NY 10032

Telephone: (212) 305-8462
Fax: (212) 305-3229



BSc, Biology, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 1977

PhD, Experimental Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, 1983


Dr. Hei's research program focuses on environmental carcinogenesis, specifically mechanisms of chemical and radiation carcinogenesis/mutagenesis at the cellular and molecular levels. In risk assessment studies, in vitro neoplastic transformation assays based on rodent fibroblasts are used to obtain quantitative dose response data for environmental carcinogens such as tobacco smoke, radon, asbestos fibers, and heavy metals. Immortalized human bronchial and breast epithelial cell models are used to examine the molecular mechanisms involved in the multistage nature of human carcinogenesis. Activation of oncogenes, loss of tumor suppressor genes, altered signal transduction pathways in radon and asbestos induced bronchial carcinogenesis are currently funded research programs.

A second area of research centers around fiber toxicology, particularly, the how and why of mineral fibers, including asbestos and other man-made fibers, in causing lung fibrosis and cancers of the lung and peritoneum. Emphases are on mechanisms of fiber mutagenesis, effects of reactive oxygen species in fiber toxicology, and the synergistic interaction of asbestos with other environmental carcinogenesis such as radon and cigarette smoke.

A third but related area of research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis by various environmental carcinogens. Since exposure of human to environmental agents frequently involve more than one agent, the emphasis is on the identification of "molecular signature" among mutant induced by a combination of these agents.

Selected Activities

Adjunct Professor of Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University
Adjunct Professor and Ph.D. Mentor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Adjunct Professor, School of Radiation Medicine and Public Health, Soochow University
Chinese academy of Sciences Special Appointment Professor, Hefei Institute Physical Science
Distinguished Visiting Scientist, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan
Director of Cancer Research Core, NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan

Editor, Advances in Space Research (Radiation Biology Section)
Associate Editor, Journal of Radiation Research

Ad Hoc Member, Cancer Etiology Study Section, NIH
Member, NASA Radiation Health Panel, 1999-2002
Member, NIH Intramural Review Board, 2001-2003
Vice-Chair, Committee F of the Commission on Space Radiation Research, 2004-



Huang SX, Partridge MA, Ghandhi SA, Davidson MM, Amundson SA, Hei TK. Mitochondria-Derived Reactive Intermediate Species Mediate Asbestos-Induced Genotoxicity and Oxidative Stress-Responsive Signaling Pathways. Environ Health Perspect, in press, 2012.

Hu B, Grabham P, Nie J, Balajee AS, Zhou H, Hei TK, Geard CR. Intrachromosomal changes and genomic instability in site-specific microbeam-irradiated and bystander human-hamster hybrid cells. Radiat Res 177, 25-34, 2012.

Ivanov VN, Hei TK. Regulation of apoptosis in human melanoma and neuroblastoma cells by statins, sodium arsenite and TRAIL: a role of combined treatment versus monotherapy. Apoptosis 16, 1268-1284, 2011.

Hei TK, Zhao Y, Zhou H, Ivanov V. Mechanism of radiation carcinogenesis: role of the TGFBI gene and the inflammatory signaling cascade. Adv Exp Med Biol 720, 163-170, 2011.

Ponnaiya B, Suzuki M, Tsuruoka C, Uchihori Y, Wei Y, Hei TK. Detection of chromosomal instability in bystander cells after Si490-ion irradiation. Radiat Res 176, 280-290, 2011.

Wen G, Hong M, Li B, Liao W, Cheng SK, Hu B, Calaf GM, Lu P, Partridge MA, Tong J, Hei TK. Transforming growth factor-β-induced protein (TGFBI) suppresses mesothelioma progression through the Akt/mTOR pathway. Int J Oncol 39, 1001-1009, 2011.

Wen G, Partridge MA, Li B, Hong M, Liao W, Cheng SK, Zhao Y, Calaf GM, Liu T, Zhou J, Zhang Z, Hei TK. TGFBI expression reduces in vitro and in vivo metastatic potential of lung and breast tumor cells. Cancer Lett 308, 23-32, 2011.

Huang SX, Jaurand MC, Kamp DW, Whysner J, Hei TK. Role of mutagenicity in asbestos fiber-induced carcinogenicity and other diseases. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev 14, 179-245, 2011.

Ivanov VN, Ghandhi SA, Zhou H, Huang SX, Chai Y, Amundson SA, Hei TK. Radiation response and regulation of apoptosis induced by a combination of TRAIL and CHX in cells lacking mitochondrial DNA: a role for NF-κB-STAT3-directed gene expression. Exp Cell Res 317, 1548-1566, 2011.

Ivanov VN, Zhou H, Ghandhi SA, Karasic TB, Yaghoubian B, Amundson SA, Hei TK. Radiation-induced bystander signaling pathways in human fibroblasts: a role for interleukin-33 in the signal transmission. Cell Signal 22, 1076-1087, 2010.


Honors and Awards

President, Radiation Research Society, 2011
Keynote Speaker, 8th Chinese Radiation and Environment Meeting, Kunming, 2005
Rudbeck Lecturer, Annual Meeting of the Nordic Radiobiology Society, 2004
Keynote Speaker, Asbestos and Nanoparticles, Torino, Italy, 2004
Keynote Speaker, 9th National Radon Meeting, Las Vegas, 1999 and 2002
Distinguished Cancer Center Speaker, University of Kentucky, 2000