Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Alumni Association

Dennis J. Thiele, Ph.D.

Dennis J. Thiele was born in Syracuse, New York on July 25, 1956 and graduated from Penfield, N.Y. High School in 1974.  Thiele earned a B.S. degree in Biology as a New York State Regents Scholar from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, in 1978. Subsequently, Thiele carried out doctoral studies in the Department of Microbiology (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) at UMDNJ-Rutgers Medical School (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) under the direction of Dr. Michael J. Leibowitz, where he studied the structure and expression of double-stranded RNA viruses, receiving the Ph.D. degree in 1983.  Thiele carried out postdoctoral training with Dr. Dean H. Hamer in the Laboratory of Biochemistry at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland from 1984-1987, as a Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellow, where he investigated the function and transcriptional regulation of yeast metallothionein genes.  In 1987 Thiele moved to the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan as Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry, where his laboratory investigated metal and stress regulation of gene expression and copper transport and homeostasis in yeast, fruit flies and mice. While at the University of Michigan Medical Center Thiele rose to the rank of Professor and was the recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Toxicology Scholar Award (1994-1999), the University of Michigan Faculty Recognition Award (1997) and the University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (2001). In 2003 Thiele moved to the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina where he currently holds the title of Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology. Dr. Thiele has been the organizer of numerous international meetings on metal homeostasis and stress responses, served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Biological Chemistry and currently serves as a member of the National Institutes of Health Molecular Genetics B Study Section. Thiele has trained over twenty-five graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom hold independent research and teaching positions in academia or industry around the globe.  Thiele is married to Maria Sippola-Thiele, Assistant Dean for Business Development at Duke University and resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with their two children, John (14) and Katri (11) and their dog, Yogi Berra.