Jennifer Schlezinger

Jennifer J Schlezinger, PhD

Associate Professor, Environmental Health - Boston University School of Public Health


Dr. Schlezinger’s expertise is in the field of molecular toxicology and focused on how environmental toxicants usurp the function of ligand-activated transcription factors to disrupt physiological function. In the early part of her career, she focused on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and its activation by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls. She collaborated with Dr. David Sherr, an immunologist, to determine how PAHs suppress B lymphocyte development and impair immune function. This led to her introduction to nuclear receptors, as she transitioned to investigate the effects of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPARγ) ligands on B cell development. She found that PPARγ ligands were not only directly acting on the developing B cells, but also changing the microenvironment of the bone marrow, because PPARγ ligands skew multipotent cell differentiation from bone formation to adipose formation. For the past ten years, the overarching goal of her laboratory’s research is to determine how exposure to environmental toxicants impair bone, liver and adipose homeostasis, which lays the foundation for osteoporosis and metabolic disease. She has investigated nuclear receptor activation (e.g., PPARγ, RXRs, LXRs) in bone/adipocyte forming cells and the physiological impact of environmental chemical-driven changes in the activities of these receptors. She then expanded her focus to include examining the role of environmental toxicants in development of metabolic disease, showing that environmental PPARγ ligands contribute to the development of pathological adipose tissue and metabolic dyshomeostasis. Most recently, Dr. Schlezinger’s research has turned to investigating the effects of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on activation of diverse nuclear receptors (e.g., PPARα, CAR and PXR) and the consequences for metabolic and bone health. She also is currently investigating the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 infection with PFAS exposure with viral immunologist, Dr. Florian Douam (NEIDL). To conduct human relevant research on PFAS in animal models, she has developed novel animal models and experimental designs to maximize the applicability of the results to understanding adverse health effects in people.

Other Positions

  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research - Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students) - Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD Field of Study: Oceanography
  • Boston College, BS Field of Study: Biology


Classes Taught

  • SPHEH705
  • SPHEH768
  • SPHOM701
  • SPHPH720


  • Published on 3/20/2024

    Sen P, Fan Y, Schlezinger JJ, Ehrlich SD, Webster TF, Hyötyläinen T, Pedersen O, Orešic M. Exposure to environmental toxicants is associated with gut microbiome dysbiosis, insulin resistance and obesity. Environ Int. 2024 Apr; 186:108569. PMID: 38522229.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/30/2023

    Zahm S, Bonde JP, Chiu WA, Hoppin J, Kanno J, Abdallah M, Blystone CR, Calkins MM, Dong GH, Dorman DC, Fry R, Guo H, Haug LS, Hofmann JN, Iwasaki M, Machala M, Mancini FR, Maria-Engler SS, Møller P, Ng JC, Pallardy M, Post GB, Salihovic S, Schlezinger J, Soshilov A, Steenland K, Steffensen IL, Tryndyak V, White A, Woskie S, Fletcher T, Ahmadi A, Ahmadi N, Benbrahim-Tallaa L, Bijoux W, Chittiboyina S, de Conti A, Facchin C, Madia F, Mattock H, Merdas M, Pasqual E, Suonio E, Viegas S, Zupunski L, Wedekind R, Schubauer-Berigan MK. Carcinogenicity of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. Lancet Oncol. 2024 Jan; 25(1):16-17. PMID: 38043561.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 5/10/2023

    Dragon J, Hoaglund M, Badireddy AR, Nielsen G, Schlezinger J, Shukla A. Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Affect Inflammation in Lung Cells and Tissues. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 May 10; 24(10). PMID: 37239886.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 4/27/2023

    Pennoyer EH, Heiger-Bernays W, Aro R, Yeung LWY, Schlezinger JJ, Webster TF. Unknown Organofluorine Mixtures in U.S. Adult Serum:Contribution from Pharmaceuticals? Toxics. 2023 Apr 27; 11(5). PMID: 37235230.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/13/2022

    Post GB, Birnbaum LS, DeWitt JC, Goeden H, Heiger-Bernays WJ, Schlezinger JJ. Letter to the editors regarding "The conundrum of the PFOA human half-life, an international collaboration". Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2022 Oct; 134:105240. PMID: 35973622.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 12/10/2021

    Lu D, Demissie S, Horowitz NB, Gower AC, Lenburg ME, Alekseyev YO, Hussein AI, Bragdon B, Liu Y, Daukss D, Page JM, Webster MZ, Schlezinger JJ, Morgan EF, Gerstenfeld LC. Temporal and Quantitative Transcriptomic Differences Define Sexual Dimorphism in Murine Postnatal Bone Aging. JBMR Plus. 2022 Feb; 6(2):e10579. PMID: 35229061.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/4/2021

    Nielsen G, Heiger-Bernays WJ, Schlezinger JJ, Webster TF. Predicting the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance mixtures on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha activity in vitro. Toxicology. 2022 01 15; 465:153024. PMID: 34743024.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/7/2021

    Sen P, Qadri S, Luukkonen PK, Ragnarsdottir O, McGlinchey A, Jäntti S, Juuti A, Arola J, Schlezinger JJ, Webster TF, Orešic M, Yki-Järvinen H, Hyötyläinen T. Exposure to environmental contaminants is associated with altered hepatic lipid metabolism in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol. 2022 02; 76(2):283-293. PMID: 34627976.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/5/2021

    Freid R, Hussein AI, Schlezinger JJ. Tributyltin protects against ovariectomy-induced trabecular bone loss in C57BL/6J mice with an attenuated effect in high fat fed mice. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2021 11 15; 431:115736. PMID: 34619157.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/17/2021

    Kassotis CD, Hoffman K, Völker J, Pu Y, Veiga-Lopez A, Kim SM, Schlezinger JJ, Bovolin P, Cottone E, Saraceni A, Scandiffio R, Atlas E, Leingartner K, Krager S, Tischkau SA, Ermler S, Legler J, Chappell VA, Fenton SE, Mesmar F, Bondesson M, Fernández MF, Stapleton HM. Reproducibility of adipogenic responses to metabolism disrupting chemicals in the 3T3-L1 pre-adipocyte model system: An interlaboratory study. Toxicology. 2021 09; 461:152900. PMID: 34411659.

    Read At: PubMed

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