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Rita Loch-Caruso

Rita Loch-Caruso, Ph.D.

Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Professor, Program in the Environment, LS&A

6618 SPH Tower      Vcard icon
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029

Office: (734) 936-1256; Fax: (734) 763-8095

E-mail: rlc@umich.edu

Website(s): Loch-Caruso Lab website

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Summary

Rita Loch-Caruso is a toxicologist with a research focus in female reproductive toxicology and, in particular, mechanisms of toxicity related to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth. In addition to university-related activities, she has served on numerous local, state and national committees including the City of Ann Arbor Environmental Commission, NIH grant review panels, and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Understanding Premature Birth and Assuring Healthy Outcomes.

She is a participating faculty member in the Environmental Toxicology, Reproductive Sciences, Pharmacological Sciences, and Cellular and Molecular Basis of Systems and Integrative Biology graduate and postdoctoral training programs.

Courses Taught

EHS623: Mechanisms of Reproductive Toxicology
ENVIRON 310: Environmental Chemicals and Diseases


Ph.D., Toxicology, University of Cincinnati, 1982
B.A., Psychology, University of Cincinnati, 1976
B.S., Biology, University of Cincinnati, 1976

Research Interests & Projects

> > Loch-Caruso Lab - Pollutants and Parturition (Leader)

The Loch-Caruso Lab is interested in toxicants as potential risks for normal and timely childbirth. Working with cell, tissue and animal experimental models, our work focuses on mechanisms by which environmental chemical exposures modify cellular and physiological processess involved in parturition. Using multip-disciplinary approaches that span molecular biology to human subjects research, current studies focus on toxicant- and infection-stimulated inflammation.... More >>

Pollutants and Parturition 

> > Xi Lab - Biofilms, Water Quality, and Human Health (Member)

Research in the Xi Lab mainly focuses on biofilms, water quality, and human health. We use molecular and genomic tools to understand molecular mechanisms of persistence and resistance of pathogens in natural, engineered and industrial environments; transmission routes of pathogens from environments to hosts; and their impacts on health of general public and industrial workers. We are particularly interested in the role of biofilms in these processes. In addition, we use advanced imaging tools, high throughput screening techniques, and nanotechnology ... More >>

Biofilms, Water Quality, and Human Health 

> > Characterization and Validation of a Human Gestational Membrane Transwell Culture System (Principal Investigator)

The main objective is to characterize human gestational membrane cell and tissue culture systems for the study of toxicant-stimulated inflammatory responses.... More >>

Characterization and Validation of a Human Gestational Membrane Transwell Culture System 

> > Inflammatory responses of human gestational membranes (Principal Investigator)

The objectives are to determine the mechanisms and downstream consequences of inflammatory responses in human gestational membranes exposed in vitro to environmental pollutants. ... More >>


> > PBDE concentrations in human gestational tissues (Principal Investigator)

The aim is to quantify partitioning of PBDEs into human placenta, extra-placental maternal/fetal membranes and umbilical cord blood in the general population.... More >>

PBDE concentrations in human gestational tissues 

> > Mechanisms of modification of uterine contraction by environmental chemicals (Principal Investigator)

The elucidation of mechanisms by which environmental chemicals modify uterine contractility using uterine smooth muscle cell cultures and and rat uterine strips suspended in muscle baths.... More >>

Mechanisms of modification of uterine contraction by environmental chemicals 

> > Phthalate-stimulated inflammatory responses in human gestational membranes (Principal Investigator)

Phthalates are common pollutants used as plasticizers in polyvinyl plastics, as fragrance stabilizers in personal care products, and as ingredients of coatings for pharmaceuticals and varnishes, among other uses. Recent studies by the US Centers for Disease Control show increasing and widespread exposure to phthalates in the US population.... More >>

Phthalate-stimulated inflammatory responses in human gestational membranes 

Selected Publications

Search PubMed for publications by Rita Loch-Caruso >>

Boldenow E, K.A. Hogan, M.C. Chames, D.M. Aronoff, C. Xi and R. Loch-Caruso (2014). Role of Cytokine Signaling in Group B Streptococcus-Stimulated Expression of Human Beta Defensin-2 in Human Extraplacental Membranes. American Journal Reproductive Immunology, Epub ahead of print.

Korrir, M.L., D. Knupp, K. LeMerise, E. Boldenow, R. Loch-Caruso, D.M. Aronoff and S.D. Manning (2014). Association and Virulence Gene Expression Varies among Serotype III Group B Streptococci Following Exposure to Decidual and Lung Epithelial Cells. Infect Immun, Epub ahead of print.

Ferguson, K.K., T.F. McElrath, Y.H. Chen, R. Loch-Caruso, B. Mukherjee and J.D. Meeker (2014). Repeated measures of urinary oxidative stress biomarkers during pregnancy and preterm birth. American Journal Obstetric Gynecology, 14, 00819-9.

Ferguson K.K,, D.E. Cantonwine, L.O. Rivera-González, R. Loch-Caruso, B. Mukherjee, L.V. Anzalota Del Toro, B. Jiménez-Vélez, A.M. Calafat, X. Ye, A.N. AlshawabkehN, J.F. Cordero and J.M., Meeker (2014). Urinary phthalate metabolite associations with biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress across pregnancy in Puerto Rico. Environmental Science and Technology, 48(12), 7018-25.

Park H.R., P.W. Kamau and R. Loch-Caruso (January, 2014). Involvement of reactive oxygen species in brominated diphenyl ether-47-induced inflammatory cytokine release from human extravillous trophoblasts in vitro Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2, 283-292.

Tetz, L., Kamau, P.W., Cheng, A.A., Meeker, J.D., Loch-Caruso, R. (2013). Troubleshooting the dichlorofluorescein assay to avoid artifacts in measurement of toxicant-stimulated cellular production of reactive oxidant species Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods, 2, 56–60.

Tetz L.M., A.A. Cheng AA, C.S. Korte, R.W. Giese, P. Wang , C. Harris, J.D. Meeker and R. Loch-Caruso (2013). Mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate induces oxidative stress responses in human placental cells in vitro. Toxicological Applied Pharmacology, 268(1), 47-54.

Mao X, S. Yuan, N. Fallahpour, A. Ciblak, J. Howard I. Padilla, R. Loch-Caruso and A.N. Alshawabkeh (2012). Electrochemically induced dual reactive barriers for transformation of TCE and mixture of contaminants in groundwater. Environmental Science and Tehcnology, 46(21), 12003-11.

Mao, X., Ciblak, A., Baek, K., Amiri, M., Loch-Caruso, R., Alshawabkeh, A.N. (2012). Optimization of electrochemical dechlorination of trichloroethylene in reducing electrolytes. Water Research, 6, 1847-1857.

Miller M.F., S.M. Chernyak, S.E. Domino, S.A. Batterman and R. Loch-Caruso (2012). Concentrations and speciation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in human amniotic fluid. Science of the Total Environmental, 417-418, 294-8.