Jeffrey M. Duerr, PhD

Professor of Biology

Research Interests

  • Membrane transport proteins
  • Cellular respiration
Jeffrey M. Duerr

Jeff Duerr's passion is to share with students the power of the scientific method, one of the most successful means of acquiring knowledge of the created world, and the power of integrating scientific knowledge with the spiritual knowledge God has revealed in his written Word. He believes that a successful integration of science and faith affords an enriched appreciation of our Creator.

As Duerr sees it, an ideal community is one in which Jesus Christ is central and the life of the mind is both celebrated and nurtured. George Fox is just such a place, and he has grown spiritually and intellectually since joining the biology faculty in 1999.

It was Sir Thomas Browne who once remarked that "Nature is the art of God." For Duerr, teaching and learning about the living creation is not only an act of admiration, but is a form of worship. 

Academic Background

BA, Chemistry, Whitworth University (1989)
BS, Biology , Whitworth University (1989)
MS, Biology - Comparative Physiology, Portland State University (1991)
PhD, Zoology - Cell Physiology, University of Hawaii at Manoa (1997)

Expertise and Research Interests

Duerr's primary research interests focus on membrane transport proteins and cellular respiration. Most recently, he has focused on the physiology of the mitochondrion in two model systems: diapausing killifish embryos and the cultured prostate cancer cell line LNCaP.

The annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus provides an interesting system to study the physiology of a genetically programmed hypometabolic state (diapause). Current investigations are examining how mitochondrial respiration is altered during and following diapause, and the mechanisms controlling those changes.

Applications of this research include improvements in organ preservation and inducing hypometabolic states in critical care patients. Much of his research in this area is in collaboration with a colleague at Portland State University.

The role of mitochondria in cancer is now well established. Mitochondria play a central function in cellular energy transformations, biosynthetic pathways, and programmed cell death (apoptosis). Presently, research is focused on elucidating the mechanism of angiotensin II on metabolic changes in prostate tumors.

Angiotensin II can influence prostate cancer progression in different ways depending on which of two angiotensin II receptors are expressed and activated. A relatively new but ongoing project in his lab is probing the effects of angiotensin II on respiratory control of mitochondria in cultured LNCaP cells.

Current Projects

Duerr is currently working on two projects examining the role of mitochondria in cellular metabolic and bioenergetic profiles. One project examines the effect of Angiotensin II (originally recognized as a vasoactive hormone) on mitochondrial respiratory activity in the continuous prostate cancer cell line LNCaP in an effort to understand the role of ACE inhibitors on prostate cancer progression and prognosis.

The other project focuses on developmental regulation of mitochondrial activity during entry and exit from hypometabolic states in the annual killifish Austrofundulus limnaeus, whose embryos enter diapause and exhibit extreme tolerance to environmental insult. Results from such studies can potentially be applied to advances in organ cryopreservation. 

Select Research Bibliography

Publications and Presentations

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

BIOL 212 - General Biology II
BIOL 367 - Essentials of Microbiology
BIOL 420 - Cell Biology
BIOL 450 - Advanced Human Anatomy

Outside the Classroom

Duerr lives in Newberg with his wife and three daughters, all of whom keep him busy as they explore the beauty of the state of Oregon. They love to camp from the high desert to the beaches, enjoy biking through Champoeg State Park, and visiting family in central Oregon.

He particularly enjoys combining both the left and right sides of his brain in culinary pursuits, both in the kitchen and the grill during the summer months. He is passionate about reading and music and a great fan of classic literature, Christian apologetics and theology (C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer come to mind), classical music and jazz.