Michael Denison, 1954-2022, UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor
Internationally recognized environmental toxicologist Michael “Mike” Steven Denison, a distinguished emeritus professor within the UC Davis Division of Environmental Toxicology and an integral a part of the UC Davis Superfund Analysis Program (SRP), died March 22 at age 67 of most cancers (glioblastomar). He was a resident of Woodland.
Professor Denison, who retired in 2018, joined the division in 1992 and superior to professor in 1997. He served as a researcher within the UC Davis SRP, funded by Nationwide Institute of Environmental Well being Sciences (NIEHS), for greater than 25 years.
Over a 44-year interval, Denison targeted his analysis on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which a protein generally known as the Ah receptor mediates the organic/toxicological actions of dioxins and associated chemical substances. He was extensively acclaimed for his growth of the Chemical Activated LUciferase gene eXpression (CALUX) assay, a cell-based bioassay used to detect particular environmental contaminants, together with, however not restricted, to dioxin-like chemical substances and environmental hormones (endocrine disruptors).
The check, authorised by the intergovernmental Group of Financial Cooperation and the U.S. Division of Environmental Safety Company, is the worldwide commonplace for detecting environmental contaminants within the safety of human well being. Denison additionally made different seminal contributions to the Ah receptor subject and was a frontrunner in advancing the research of Ah receptor biology, mentioned UC Davis distinguished professor Bruce Hammock, the founding director of UC Davis SRP and a detailed good friend and colleague of Denison’s.
The Denison household: Mike and Grace with their canine, Murphy, a Coton de Tulear. Murphy handed in April 2020.
“Mike made essential discoveries to higher shield human well being from publicity to persistent natural pollution and was a formidable chief, innovator, scientist, instructor, mentor, and advocate who positively impacted the lives of his many college students and colleagues,” mentioned Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the Division of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Complete Most cancers Middle.
“He’s finest presumably recognized for his elementary work on the mechanism of motion of TCDD and the interpretation of this information right into a quantitative, fast and cheap assays for tetrachlorodioxin like chemical substances and different chemical substances that certain to the aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase receptor,” Hammock mentioned. “He went on to make use of the CALUX format to measure quite a lot of different small molecule receptor interactions. Mike was additionally funded for a lot of his profession by aggressive grants from NIEHS, together with his MS and PhD work.”
Robert Rice, professor and chair of the Division of Environmental Toxicology, mentioned that “Mike’s absence leaves fairly a void in our division. Even in retirement, he continued to be a supply of knowledge and amusement, and he was nonetheless an inspiration to college students.”
Rice added that he first met Denison in 1992 when he joined the school, “and I ended up being division chair in recent times after he declined the place.”
Denison, educated in biology, marine biology, animal physiology and environmental toxicology, obtained his affiliate of arts diploma in biology from the County Faculty of Morris, N.J. in 1975, and his bachelor’s diploma in marine biology from St. Francis Faculty, Biddeford, Maine, in 1977. He obtained his grasp’s diploma in animal physiology from Mississippi State College, Starkville, in 1980, and went on to obtain his doctorate in environmental toxicology from Cornell College, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1983. Denison did postdoctoral analysis on the Division of Scientific Pharmacology, Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto, Canada, from 1983 to 1985, and with Stanford College’s Division of Pharmacology, 1985-1988.
Denison started his tutorial profession as an assistant professor within the Division of Biochemistry at Michigan State College, East Lansing, from 1988 to 1992, after which relocated to the UC Davis Division of Environmental Toxicology.
Michael and his twin brother, Steven, had been born on Dec. 8, 1954, in Shirley, Mass., the sons of Alan (deceased) and Alma Denison. Whereas the daddy served within the U.S. Military, the household lived in quite a few locations around the globe and settled in Wharton, N.J. when boys had been 11.
“Michael was a cheerful and optimistic individual,” mentioned his widow Grace Bedoian, who retired in 2014 as a UC Davis SRP administrator and a member of the Hammock lab. “The one factor he took significantly was science, which he cherished.”
“His typical day was spent at work, conducting his analysis and mentoring college students, returning residence and making a beautiful dinner on the finish of the day, after which retreating to his residence workplace to work till the wee hours of the next morning,” she mentioned. “He maintained curiosity and surprise of the world round him. He cherished to unravel issues and determine how issues labored. He was beneficiant along with his associates and colleagues alike and all the time fast to supply his providers to these in want.”
Denison is survived by his widow, Grace; his mom, Alma; two brothers (Steven and Daniel) and their wives (Gloria and Angela); two nieces, two nephews, and several other grandnephews.
The household thanks the workers at Yolo Cares of Davis for “their distinctive experience, kindness and compassion in offering in-home hospice look after Michael. All the workers members at Yolo Cares are really angels on this earth.” In lieu of flowers, donations could also be made to Yolo Cares by contacting (530) 758-5566 or http://www.yolocares.org.
Donations additionally could also be made to the Michael S. Denison, Ph.D. ’83 Environmental Toxicology Analysis Fund, an endowment created at Cornell College by a colleague. Checks payable to Cornell College could also be mailed to Cornell College, Field 37334, Boone, IA 50037-0334. Within the memo subject or within the correspondence, donors are requested so as to add: Michael S. Denison, Ph.D. ’83 Environmental Toxicology Analysis Fund #0018594. On-line items will be made at https://giving.cornell.edu/, notating Michael S. Denison, Ph.D. ’83 Environmental Toxicology Analysis Fund #0018594 on the web giving type. ChristyAgnese, director of growth within the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell College, could also be contacted at (607) 279-6884 for additional help.