Dr. Ritter performs innovative toxicology research and teaches "Principles of Toxicology" at the undergraduate level and "Advanced Principles of Toxicology" at the graduate level.
He co-leads the Environmental and Occupational component of the Ontario Health Study (OHS) with Dr. Shelley Harris of Cancer Care Ontario. The OHS is the largest prospective chronic study of its kind ever undertaken in Ontario to study the major causes of chronic disease, most notably cancer. Drs Harris and Ritter’s interests focus on the contribution of environmental exposures to the etiology of chronic disease. The study will recruit about 150,000 participants between the ages of 35 and 69 and follow their health for at least 20 years. The Ontario component is part of a larger national cohort study recruiting about 290,000 participants across Canada. The national cohort study draws on collaboration with many academic institutions from across Canada, with the Ontario component led by Cancer Care Ontario.
Ritter is a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. He received a medal from the World Health Organization in 2006 recognizing his long-term contributions. He strives to better understand how environmental and occupational exposures cause chronic diseases. He is currently a member of the Health Canada experts group advising on the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Ageing, and the importance of environmental exposures. Ritter views his work not as a ‘job’, but as a privilege and opportunity to improve the lives of people everywhere. He finds motivating students and working on interesting projects to be the most rewarding aspects of his career.
Ritter received his MSc from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in 1973 having studied DNA/RNA biosynthesis in plant tissues. In 1977, he completed his PhD at Queen’s University School of Medicine, having looked at the induction of liver cancer following exposure to environmental contaminants. Dr. Ritter completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Environmental Health Directorate with Health Canada from 1977 to 1979.