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The NIEHS is pleased to announce that Richard E. Peterson, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, has received an award under the Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award Program. MERIT Awards are offered to investigations who have demonstrated superior skill and outstanding productivity during the course of their research careers. MERIT Awards relieve investigators from writing frequent renewal applications by providing the opportunity to gain up to 10 years of support in two segments.

Richardson Peterson is an internationally recognized and respected expert in the merchanism of action of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, or dioxin). He is the past recipient of an NIEHS Research Career Development Award and the Society of Toxicology's Frank Blood Award for his original research on the developmental reproductive toxicity of TCDD. His research interest is related to the evaluation of risks to reproduction and development in fish and mammals caused by the accumulation of halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons, which disrupt endoctrine function. Because his program has both a human health and an environmental focus, it has had wide toxicological impact.

His initial studies TCDD focused on liver toxicity, demonstrating that the site of action was the liver plasma membrane, which caused a retro-differentiation of the neutral steroid transport system. This disproved the then-current hypothesis that toxicity was due to necrosis. Over time his research focus evolved to the gastrointestinal tract and then to developmental effects on the male reproductive system. Most recently, he has shifted to understanding prostate development. While the target organ has changed over the years, the basis of his studies has always been to elucidate the mechanisms by that TCDD and exerts its action, providing a better understanding of the potential danger that TCDD and other halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons present in the environment may pose to human health.
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Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Oct 1, 2000
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