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NextGen Discovery Series - March 8

The NextGen Precision Health Discovery Series provides learning opportunities for UM System faculty and staff across disciplines, the statewide community and our other partners to learn about the scope of precision health research and identify potential collaborative opportunities. The series consists of monthly lectures geared toward a broad multidisciplinary audience so all can participate and appreciate the spectrum of precision health efforts. 

Information about the upcoming talk, including continuing education, is available below.

For questions about this event or any others in the Discovery Series, please reach out to Mary Christie at

Oxygen, stress, and antioxidants: Should we be scared of reactive oxygen species?

Speaker: Dr. Ron Mittler, Division of Plant Sciences and Technology, MU College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources and Interdisciplinary Plant Group; and Department of Surgery, MU School of Medicine


Oxygen is essential for life, but it also has a dark side. In the presence of oxygen (that is abundant in our atmosphere) all cells can and do produce toxic compounds called reactive oxygen species. These compounds can attack proteins, DNA, lipids, and other cellular components and induce a dangerous state called ‘oxidative stress’. The damaged caused by reactive oxygen species was blamed for aging, cancer and several other diseases, and a whole industry of antioxidants (for example, Vitamin C and E) emerged on the basis of this blame. In recent years however a complete overhaul of this concept is taking precedence, and numerous studies have shown that reactive oxygen species are required for life, acting as important regulators of many essential processes in different organisms. Examples for these include the immune response, proliferation of stem cells, and responses of cells to different stresses and pathogens. So, what should we believe? In this presentation, Dr. Mittler provided a balanced view of these two opposing viewpoints and showed by using different examples that, as with almost everything in life, balance is the answer.

Learning objectives:

  • What are reactive oxygen species?
  • How are they produced and controlled in cells?
  • How are they used as important signaling molecules?
  • How can we avoid oxidative stress?

About the Speaker Mittler Headshot


  • 1986-1989, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Agriculture, B.A. & M.Sc. (Cum Laude)
  • 1990-1993, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Ph.D. in Biochemistry

Memberships in professional societies:

  • American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB),
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),
  • American Physiological Society (APS)

Honors: 2014-Present Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher (8 years in a row)

Editor/Editorial Board member: Plant Journal, Trends in Plant Science, Antioxidants, Physiologia Plantarum.

Since moving to MU in 2019, Dr. Mittler has published over 50 papers and obtained over $2.5M in grants.


Continuing Professional Education Credit


Up to 1.0 contact hour will be awarded to all participants who view the live sessions in their entirety and complete the evaluation form.

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing is approved as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Midwest Multistate Division, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Midwest Multistate Division Provider Number MO1022-6


The Office of Continuing Education, School of Medicine, University of Missouri is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The Office of Continuing Education, School of Medicine, University of Missouri designates this live educational activity for a maximum of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: All persons with influence over the content of this program have been asked to disclose relevant financial interests in the last 12 months that might have an impact. John Spertus, MD, is a consultant for Jannsen, Bayer, Myokardia, Merck and Novartis, and receives research support from Abbott Vascular. No other speaker or planning committee member has a relevant financial interest.