Photo of Mitchell Turker, Ph.D., J.D.

Mitchell Turker Ph.D., J.D.

  •      (503) 494-2168
    • Professor Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
    • Professor 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.

Areas of interest

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


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

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

Memberships and associations

  • AACRRadiation Research Society


  • "Accelerated 48Ti Ions Induce Autosomal Mutations in Mouse Kidney Epithelium at Low Dose and Fluence" Radiation Research October 1 2015
  • "Multidrug resistance phenotype associated with selection of an aminopterin resistant dog kidney cell line" Pharmacogenetics and Genomics  1991
  • "DNA repair modulates the vulnerability of the developing brain to alkylating agents" DNA Repair March 1 2009
  • "Aberrant epigenetic silencing is triggered by a transient reduction in gene expression" PLoS One March 12 2009
  • "Erratum" Radiation Research January 2010
  • "Autosomal mutation in somatic cells of the mouse" Mutagenesis January 2003
  • "High frequency "switchingâˆ� at the adenine phosphoribosyltransferase locus in multipotent mouse teratocarcinoma stem cells" Somatic Cell and Molecular Genetics January 1984
  • "Aberrantly silenced promoters retain a persistent memory of the silenced state after long-term reactivation" Mutation Research January 10 2011
  • "Marked aneuploidy and loss of multiple chromosomes are common in autosomal mutants isolated from normal mouse kidney epithelium" Genes Chromosomes and Cancer April 2011
  • "Molecular genetic changes in human epithelial ovarian malignancies" Gynecologic Oncology  1992
  • "Oxidative mutagenesis, mismatch repair, and aging." Science of aging knowledge environment [electronic resource] : SAGE KE  2005
  • "Model systems for the genetic analysis of mechanisms of aging" Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences  1988
  • "Spontaneously immortalized cell lines obtained from adult Atm null mice retain sensitivity to ionizing radiation and exhibit a mutational pattern suggestive of oxidative stress" Oncogene July 19 2001
  • "The establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation patterns in mouse somatic cells" Seminars in Cancer Biology October 1999
  • "Autosomal mutants of proton-exposed kidney cells display frequent loss of heterozygosity on nonselected chromosomes" Radiation Research  2014
  • "Isolation and characterization of mutations in the mouse APRT gene that encode functional enzymes with resistance to toxic adenine analogs" Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology  1995
  • "Region- and cell type-specific de novo DNA methylation in cultured mammalian cells" Somatic Cell and Molecular Genetics March 1991
  • "Podospora anserina does not senesce when serially passaged in liquid culture" Journal of Bacteriology  1987
  • "Silencing of the DNA Mismatch Repair Gene MLH1 Induced by Hypoxic Stress in a Pathway Dependent on the Histone Demethylase LSD1" Cell Reports July 24 2014
  • "High frequency induction of CC to TT tandem mutations in DNA repair-proficient mammalian cells" Photochemistry and Photobiology January 2008
  • "Preparation of multivesicular liposomes" Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes March 9 1983
  • "Tandem B1 elements located in a mouse methylation center provide a target for de novo DNA methylation" Journal of Biological Chemistry December 17 1999
  • "The spectra of large second-step mutations are similar for two different mouse autosomes" Mutation Research January 1 2008
  • "28Silicon Irradiation Impairs Contextual Fear Memory in B6D2F1 Mice" Radiation Research June 1 2015
  • "Comparative analysis of cell killing and autosomal mutation in mouse kidney epithelium exposed to 1 GeV/nucleon iron ions in vitro or in situ." Radiation Research November 2009
  • "Gene silencing in mammalian cells and the spread of DNA methylation" Oncogene August 12 2002
  • "Multiple mutations are common at mouse Aprt in genotoxin-exposed mismatch repair deficient cells" Oncogene March 7 2002
  • "Isolation and partial characterization of an opioid-like 88 kDa hibernation-related protein" Comparative biochemistry and physiology. B, Comparative biochemistry  1998
  • "Excision-amplification of mitochondrial DNA during senescence in Podospora anserina. A potential role for an 11 base-pair consensus sequence in the excision process" Journal of Molecular Biology November 20 1987
  • "A novel signature mutation for oxidative damage resembles a mutational pattern found commonly in human cancers" Journal of Cancer Research April 15 1999

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