Radiation Oncology

Garry R. Buettner, PhD


Director, ESR Facility
Professor of Radiology Free Radical & Radiation Biology Program
Professor of Radiation Oncology in the Free Radical & Radiation Biology Program
Professor of Radiation Oncology
Professor of Toxicology

Contact Information

Primary Office: B180K ML
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: +1319-335-8015

Phone: 319-335-6749

Email: garry-buettner@uiowa.edu
Web: More information


BA, Chemistry, University of Northern Iowa
MS, Chemistry, The University of Iowa
PhD, Chemistry, The University of Iowa

Fellowship, Radiation Research Lab, The University of Iowa
Fellowship, NRSA, NIH/NIEHS North Carolina

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Free Radical and Radiation Biology Graduate Program
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology

Research Summary

Dr. Buettner's research focuses on the basic chemistry and biology of free radicals and related oxidants in human health. His research program touches on many themes that include: The fundamental chemistry and biochemistry of vitamins C and E and other small molecular weight antioxidants. Work from his laboratory has played a major role in establishing the current paradigm of how these antioxidants function. This work has provided a new view of ascorbate as the terminal, small molecule, water-soluble antioxidant. See: The pecking order of free radicals and antioxidants: Lipid peroxidation, -tocopherol, and ascorbate. PMID: 8434935 and The ascorbate free radical as a marker of oxidative stress: An EPR study. PMID: 8384150. Our work on ascorbate has lead to the hypothesis that ascorbate at physiological concentrations can be used as a pro-drug for the delivery of hydrogen peroxide to tumor cells and thereby serve as a component of the therapy of certain cancers. See: Ascorbic acid at pharmacologic concentrations selectively kills cancer cells: ascorbic acid as a pro-drug for hydrogen peroxide delivery to tissues. PMID: 16157892 and Mechanisms of ascorbate-induced cytotoxicity in pancreatic cancer. PMID: 20068072. Nitric Oxide as a membrane antioxidant. We have contributed to the understanding of fundamental chemistry of this small molecule functioning as and antioxidant. We have found that levels of only 10-50 micro molar are needed serve this function. See: Nitric oxide as a cellular antioxidant: A little goes a long way. PMID: 16443165. We have initiated the new research field of Quantitative Redox Biology. This represents a transition from understanding basic biology of cells and tissues at an observational level to a true mechanistic level. Our work in this arena changed the working paradigm of redox biology. Examples are: The pecking order of free radicals and antioxidants: Lipid peroxidation, -tocopherol, and ascorbate. PMID: 8434935; Redox state of the cell as viewed though the glutathione disulfide/glutathione couple. PMID: 11368918; and A new paradigm: Manganese superoxide dismutase influences the production of H2O2 in cells and thereby their biological state. PMID: 17015180. The primary goal of our research program is: to do some good.

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Cardiovascular Research Center
Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research
Environmental Health Sciences Research Center
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
Institute for Clinical and Translational Science

Selected Publications

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Du J, Cullen J, Buettner G.  Ascorbic acid: Chemistry, biology and the treatment of cancer.  Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – Reviews on Cancer.  2012 December. 1826:443-457.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48