College of Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
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EPISODE: The Engineering Physics Department Newsletter


Fall / Winter 2006-2007
Featured articles

University of Wisconsin Energy Institute engages stakeholders in creative solutions

Designing ways to help ITER operate safely

Learning why fusion plasmas sometimes act unpredictably

GOOD HEAVENS: Space telescopes may have steadier view

EP alum honored on Engineers' Day

A "hot" idea for insulating tiny batteries

Regular Features

Message from the chair

Department News

Alumni News with Alumni Profile: John Parkyn


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Randy L. Jirtle:
EP alum honored on Engineers' Day

Randy Jirtle

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Decorative initial cap On Oct. 13, the College of Engineering honored eight alumni whose personal and professional accomplishments have broadened knowledge in cancer medicine, improved healthcare information technology, strengthened the role of plastics in Wisconsin’s economy, and benefited their own companies and industries in countless ways. These engineers, executives and entrepreneurs received their awards at an evening banquet during the college’s 59th annual Engineers’ Day celebration. Alum Randy L. Jirtle (BSNEEP ’70, MS ’73 and PhD ’76, radiation biology), a professor of radiation oncology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, was among the honorees.

Jirtle’s faculty career as a professor of radiation oncology and an associate professor of pathology at Duke University has enabled him to explore the human genome and the relatively new field of epigenetics, the study of how genes and the environment produce their effects on an organism’s visible characteristics.

Among his accomplishments, Jirtle identified the IGF2R as being a tumor suppressor, and demonstrated that its mutation increases risk of cancer and decreased intelligence. He also showed that maternal nutrition during pregnancy affects adult disease susceptibility, not by mutating the genome, but by altering the epigenome, the set of DNA instructions that controls gene expression. His most recent research efforts to understand the impact of radiation on the epigenome enable him to identify nutritional supplements that protect the body from low-dose radiation.

An invited speaker at the 2004 Nobel Symposium on Epigenetics, Jirtle has more than 150 published articles to his credit, as well as numerous book chapters and a book on liver regeneration and carcinogenesis.


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Date last modified: Friday, 22-Dec-2006 11:49:00 CDT
Date created: 22-Dec-2006