Norman Kleiman

Norman Kleiman

Norman Kleiman

Associate Research Scientist
Environmental Health Sciences


722 West 168th Street, 11th Floor
New York NY USA 10032


Norman J. Kleiman, PhD, works at the intersection of public health, radiation research and ophthalmology, often using the eye as a model system to study the effects of environmental exposures, and ionizing radiation in particular, on human health. His work on NASA and DOE funded research is directed towards understanding how exposure to small amounts of low-LET radiation, like X-rays, or high energy space radiation, causes cataract in animal models, including those that have gene defects involving DNA damage recognition and repair or cell cycle control. Other research of Dr. Kleiman estimates relative risk of radiation cataract in medical workers such as interventional cardiologists and associated nursing personnel following occupational exposure to X-ray. A collaborative study with Ukrainian colleagues examines radiation risk in Chernobyl accident cleanup workers, and a NIEHS funded project investigates the potential relationship between arsenic exposure and eye pathology. Dr. Kleiman also studies how radiation or other environmental stresses cause DNA damage, misrepair and mutagenesis that lead to disease and how individual genetic determinants influence risk. These investigations help in formulating appropriate risk policies and aid in development of human radiation exposure guidelines as well as having important therapeutic implications for radio- and/or chemo-sensitive subsets of the human population. Dr. Kleiman is a technical cooperation expert for the International Atomic Energy Agency and serves on scientific committees of the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).



PhD, 1985, Vanderbilt University
MS, 1982, Vanderbilt University
BS, 1979, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Columbia Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan

Columbia Affiliations

Director, Eye Radiation and Environmental Research Laboratory

Additional Affiliations

Areas of Expertise

Bioterrorism, Arsenic Exposure, Gene-Environment Interactions, Radiation Exposure, Genetic Susceptibility, Genetics

Select Urban Health Activities

NYAS Science Research Training Program (SRTP) Mentor:
Judge, NYAS NYCSEF Competition:
Judge, NYAS JSHS Competition: The Metro NYC Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) provides a forum for High School students to present the results of their original research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 75 semi-finalists are invited to give ten minute oral presentations, based both on their performance at the NYC Science & Engineering Fair and the quality of their submitted research paper. Five finalists are awarded an expense-paid trip to the National Symposium where the regional 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers receive tuition scholarship awards.

Select Global Activities

ICRP Task Group on Tissue Reactions and Non-Cancer Effects of Radiation, Committe 1, World: The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), a multi-national, independent network of specialists in various fields of radiological protection, provides recommendations and guidance on all aspects of protection against ionizing radiation to the general public and to governmental regulatory bodies and agencies. Its reports are published by Elsevier in the "Annals of the ICRP". The ICRP uses Task Groups of specialists (performing defined tasks) and Working Parties (developing ideas) to prepare its reports. At any one time, about one hundred scientists are actively involved in the work of the ICRP.
U.S. Director; Ukranian American Chernobyl Ocular Study (UACOS), Ukraine: The Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in 1986 and resultant explosion and fire caused radioactive contamination of large areas of Belarus and Ukraine. More than 250,000 individuals (Liquidators) were involved in clean-up and maintenance activities at the site. Many thousands were exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation. The Ukranian American Chernobyl Ocular Study (UACOS) was established in 1996 to monitor the effects of this radiation exposure on the eyes of clean-up workers. Among eye tissue, the lens is most radiosensitive. Time and dose dependent development of posterior subcapsular cataracts (psc) following radiation exposure is well established as a marker of radiosensitivity. The goals of the UACOS are to monitor development of psc in a subset of the Liquidator population that undergoes periodic health and ophthalmological examinations and for whom there is good bio-dosimetry data associated with the clean-up efforts. In particular, this multi-decade, longitudinal study measures radiation cataract incidence, non-subjectively grades and records lens opacification using Scheimpflug imaging and, in cases where cataracts are surgically removed, stores lens capsule-epithelial fragments for biochemical and molecular biological analysis. To date, findings from this study have led to a significant lowering of the supposed cataract "threshold" radiation dose to about 130 mSv, and have called into question the prevailing view of radiation cataract as a deterministic event. If, in point of fact, radiation cataract development is not deterministic but instead, stochastic, with no radiation threshold, then re-evaluation of current risk-assessment standards is warranted.
NCRP Scientific Committee SC 2-3: Radiation Safety in Image-Guided Interventional Procedures, United States: The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964 as a not-for-profit public service organization whose mission is to to formulate and widely disseminate information, guidance and recommendations on radiation protection and measurements. The NCRP provides the scientific basis for radiation protection efforts. The NCRP mission also includes responsibility for facilitating and stimulating cooperation among other radiation protection and measurement organizations worldwide. NCRP works closely with various international bodies concerned with radiation protection, such as the International Commission on Radiological Protection. In the United States, NCRP recommendations are utilized by medical, industrial and governmental organizations employing radiation sources as well as the general public and non-governmental groups concerned with radiation exposure. Various governmental organizations, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Public Health Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and state governments utilize NCRP's recommendations as the scientific basis of their radiation protection activities.

Select Publications

Kleiman, N.J. Radiation Cataract European Commission (EU) Luxembourg European Commission proceedings of the working par 2007
Ciraj-Bjelac, O., Rehani, M.M., Sim, K.H., Liew, H.B., Vano, E. and Kleiman, N.J Risk for radiation induced cataract for staff in interventional cardiology: Is there reason for concern? Catheter. Cardio. Inte. 76 826-834. 2010
Cooper, M.A., Son, A.I., Komlos, D.I., Sun, Y., Kleiman, N.J. and Zhou, R. Loss of ephrin-A5 function disrupts lens fiber cell packing and leads to cataract. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105 16620-16625 2008
Blakely, E.A., Kleiman, N.J., Neriishi, K., Chodick, G., Chylack, L.T., Cucinotta, F.A., Minamoto, A., Nakashima, E., Kumagami, T., Kitaoka, T., Kanamoto, T., Kiuchi, Y., Chang, P., Fuji, N. and Shore, R.E. Meeting Report: Radiation cataractogenesis: Epidemiology and biology Radiat. Res. 173 709-717 2010
Vano, E., Kleiman, N.J., Duran, A., Rehani, M., Echeverri, D. and Cabrera, M. Risk for radiation cataract in interventional cardiology personnel Radiat. Res. 174 490-495 2010
Kleiman, N.J., David, J., Elliston, C.D., Hopkins, K.M., Smilenov, L.B., Brenner, D.J., Worgul, B.V., Hall, E.J. and Lieberman, H.B. Mrad9 and Atm Haploinsufficiency Enhance Spontaneous and X-ray-Induced Cataractogenesis in Mice. Radiation Research 168 567-573 2007
Worgul, B.V., Lieberman, H.B., Smilenov, L.B., Brenner, D.J., Kleiman, N.J., Junk, A.K. and Hall, E.J. Genetic susceptibility to radiation cataractogenesis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 47 S4737 2006
Kleiman, N.J. Radiation Cataract. Radiation Protection; New insights in radiation risk and basic safety standards 145 81-95 2007
Worgul, B.V., Kleiman, N.J. and David, J.D. A positive and a negative bystander effect influences cataract outcome in the irradiated lens. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 46 S832 2005
Ma, W, Li, D., Sun, F., Kleiman, N.J. and Spector, A. The effect of stress withdrawal upon gene expression and certain biochemical and cell biological properties of peroxide-conditioned cell lines. FASEB J. 18 480-488 2004
Ma, W., Kleiman, N.J., Sun, F. and Spector, A. Characteristics of tertiarybutyl hydroperoxide and hydrogen peroxide conditioned cells withdrawn from peroxide stress. Exp. Eye Res. 78 1037-1039 2004
Ma, W., Kleiman, N.J., Sun, F., Li, D. and Spector, A. Peroxide toxicity in conditioned lens epithelial cells-evaluation of multi-defense systems. Exp. Eye Res. 77 711-720 2003
Spector, A., Ma, W., Sun, F., Li, D. and Kleiman, N.J. The effect of H2O2 and tertiary butyl hydroperoxide upon a murine immortal lens epithelial cell line, alphaTN4-1. Exp. Eye Res. 75 573-582 2002
Spector, A., Ma, W., Sun, F., Li, D. and Kleiman, N.J. The effect of H2O2 and tertiary butyl hydroperoxide upon a murine immortal lens epithelial cell line, alpha TN4-1. Exp. Eye Res. 75 573-582 2002
W. Tasman and E.A. Jaeger Duane's Foundations of Clinical Ophthalmology J.P. Lippincott Co. Philadelphia 1-39 1994
Auran, J.D., Koester, C.J., Kleiman, N.J., Rapaport, R., Bomann, J.S., Wirotsko, B.M., Florakis, J. and Koniarek, J. Scanning slit confocal microscopy of cell morphology and movement within the normal human cornea. Ophthalmology 102 33-41 1995
Kleiman, N.J., Wang, R.-R. and Spector, A. Hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage in bovine lens epithelial cells. Mutat. Res. 240 35-45 1990
Kleiman, N.J., Chiesa, R., Gawinowicz-Kolks, M.A., and Spector, A. Phosphorylation of BB2 crystallin in the bovine lens. J. Biol. Chem. 263 14978-14983 1988

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