Dr. Trygve Tollefsbol Named 2015 Winner of Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction

Dr. Trygve Tollefsbol is a leader in the growing field of epigenetics. His work in this emerging and important field stands out among the work of an array of international scholars.
Dr. Trygve Tollefsbol is a leader in the growing field of epigenetics. The author of eight books on the subject, as well as the lead on numerous articles and presentations, Dr. Tollefsbol’s work in this emerging and important field stands out among the work of an array of international scholars.

Trgyve TollefsbolTollefsbol’s research has shown that altering one’s diet can result in fundamental, beneficial changes to a person’s DNA in a way that protects them from aging and other biological damage. In a recent review paper in Clinical Epigenetics that was widely publicized, Dr. Tollefsbol and fellow UAB colleagues explained how a diet rich in broccoli, green tea, grapes, and other important ingredients can fight off cancer and aging-related diseases. “The most important concept of epigenetics is that you can take control of your genes,” Tollefsbol said in a UAB Magazine story last year. “What you do affects your genes. In other words, you’re not predestined to a certain life because of your genetics, as we once thought. The genes you inherit aren’t going to necessarily limit you for the rest of your life.”

As a result of the quality of his scholarship and impact on his field, Dr. Tollefsbol has been named the recipient of the 2015 Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction.

Dr. Tollefsbol received his B.S. from the University of Houston in 1974 and his M.S. from the University of North Texas in 1977. He completed his doctorate in osteopathic medicine from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in 1979, and his Ph.D. from the university in 1982.

Throughout the course of Dr. Tollefsbol’s remarkable career, he has held positions in medicine as well as in biological research. He has practiced medicine at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, been a postdoctoral and senior fellow as well as assistant professor of medicine at the Duke University Medical Center, been a surgical resident at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, and a fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Tollefsbol came to UAB as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology in 1998, and has held many positions across an array of interdisciplinary platforms, including the director of the UAB Cell Senescence Culture Facility; a senior scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, the Comprehensive Diabetes Center, and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center; a preceptor at the Dental School and the Center for Research and Clinical and Applied Gerontology; and an Assistant Professor at the Vision Science Research Center. He serves on the editorial boards of Molecular Biotechnology as well as Clinical Epigenetics. He is the series editor for Translational Epigenetics, the associate editor for Frontiers in Genetics, Clinical Epigenetics, and a contributing editor to Levin’s GENES classic textbook on molecular biology.

“I am delighted that Dr. Tollefsbol’s many contributions to UAB, the College of Arts and Sciences, and his field of research, are being recognized by the prestigious Ireland Award,” says Dean Robert E. Palazzo, Ph.D. Dr. Tollefsbol is a world renowned expert in epigenetics. He has been an exceptional mentor to numerous students and postdoctoral trainees. UAB is fortunate to have someone of his caliber as a scientist and a professor.”

Dr. Tollefsbol plans to donate the $5,000 award proceeds to the Dr. Trygve Tollefsbol Best Paper Award in the Department of Biology.

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