For Immediate Release
May 31, 2014
San Francisco, CA—At the Institute for Functional Medicine’s 2014 Annual International Conference, held May 29–31, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif., Randy L. Jirtle, PhD, was honored by receiving the Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Award. Dr. Jirtle previously headed the epigenetics and imprinting laboratory at Duke University and is now a professor of Epigenetics at the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, UK, as well as a senior scientist at McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc.
The Linus Pauling Award has been presented by the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) since 1996 to clinicians and researchers whose work has pioneered important principles in the Functional Medicine model. Jeffrey Bland, PhD, IFM Chairman Emeritus, had this to say about Dr. Jirtle’s selection as the 2014 Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Award recipient: “He is an extraordinary discoverer who crossed the boundaries of disciplinary myopia to become the father of environmental epigenomics. I also call him the father of nutritional epigenetics because of the important observation he has made as to the role that nutrients play in developmental biology and modulating the epigenome’s expression into the phenotype. In his work at Duke, with his post-doctoral student Dr. Robert Waterland, they made what I would consider one of those frame-shifting, epic, seismic discoveries that the nutritional environment of the pregnant animal will influence the phenotypic outcome of the offspring.”
Dr. Jirtle has dedicated his life’s work to refuting the previously held belief that genes are only stagnant parameters making up each life, unyielding to external stimuli or deprivation. Jirtle’s work in the field of epigenetics illuminates the dichotomy of nature versus nurture, while allowing for the empowerment of the individual to recognize and optimize functionality of their distinct genes. Jirtle was honored in 2006 with the Distinguished Achievement Award from the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2007, Jirtle was nominated for TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year.” He was the inaugural recipient of the Epigenetic Medicine Award in 2008, and received the STARS Lecture Award in Nutrition and Cancer from the National Cancer Institute in 2009. He has published over 190 peer-reviewed articles, was a featured scientist on the NOVA television program on epigenetics entitled Ghost in Your Genes, and this year published two books on Environmental Epigenomics in Health and Disease.