Headshot photo of Mitchell Turker, Ph.D., J.D.

Mitchell Turker, Ph.D., J.D.

  • Professor Emeritus, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
  • Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Medical Genetics, School of Medicine
  • Molecular and Medical Genetics Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Cancer Biology Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine


Dr. Turker received his PhD in Pathology from the University of Washington (UW) and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He served as a Research Instructor in the Department of Pathology at UW. He went on to the University of Kentucky where he served as an Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Microbiology/Immunology and Director, Experimental Pathology. Prior to joining CROET, he was a visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University.Research ActivitiesI am interested in the mechanisms of abnormal gene inactivation and the relevance of these events to cancer and aging. Cancer and aging are linked because the incidence of cancer increases as we get older, but the reasons for this link are not understood. One possible mechanism that can explain this link is aberrant gene inactivation, because it is known that gene inactivation plays a critical role in cancer, and it is believed that the frequency of gene inactivation increases as a function of age. Abnormal gene inactivation results from two distinct types of events. The first is DNA mutation, which represents a change in the structure of DNA that alters expression of a given gene. The second type of event is DNA methylation, which causes silencing of a gene without affecting the gene sequence. My laboratory is using the autosomal mouse Aprt gene to study both mutational and DNA methylation events. With regard to mutational events, we are interested in both endogenous and exogenous genotoxins that can affect the frequency and types of mutations that occur within the animal. Our work with DNA methylation focuses on how methylation patterns are formed and on how perturbations of these patterns can lead to silencing of genes.

Education and training

  • Degrees

    • Ph.D., 1984, University of Washington
    • J.D., 2008, Lewis and Clark Law School

Memberships and associations:

  • AACRRadiation Research Society

Areas of interest

  • Biological effects of ionizing radiation
  • Space radiation
  • Mutagenesis
  • Environmental epigenetics
  • Circadian rhythm epigenetics

Honors and awards

  • Jefferson Science Fellow, US Department of State, 2010-2011
  • 2014-2015 Institute of Medicine’s Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides ­-Tenth Biennial Update



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