Mark E. Whitacre was born on May 1, 1957 and grew up in Morrow, Ohio. He attended the Little Miami High School in Morrow and was the 1975 senior class president. Afterwards, Dr. Whitacre attended the Ohio State University at Columbus, Ohio and was quickly enrolled into a special honor's program where he completed simultaneously both B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal nutrition (Animal Science Department) in 1979. He graduated from Ohio State “Cum Laude” and “With Distinction”. He then matriculated in the Graduate School at Cornell University at Ithaca, New York, completing a Ph.D. degree (1983) majoring in Nutritional Biochemistry. In the early 1980s, Cornell University required two minors prior to obtaining a Ph.D. degree and Dr. Whitacre’s minors were in Biochemistry and International Nutrition. Dr. Whitacre conducted his Ph.D. dissertation research studying the biochemical role of selenium in the pancreas under the direction of a world renowned selenium researcher, Dr. G.F. Combs, Jr. The following articles illustrate the scientific publications that resulted from Dr. Whitacre’s Ph.D. thesis involving selenium research:
Selenium and mitochondrial integrity in the pancreas of the chick. J Nutr. 1983 Oct;113(10):1972-83.
Influence of dietary vitamin E on nutritional pancreatic atrophy in selenium-deficient chicks. J Nutr. 1987 Mar;117(3):460-7.
Effect of selenium and vitamin E dietary deficiencies on chick lymphoid organ development JA Marsh, GF Combs Jr, ME Whitacre and RR Dietert
Studies of the role of selenium in maintaining the integrity of the exocrine pancreas of the chick [Library title of Mark Whitacre’s Ph.D. 1983 Cornell University Dissertation]
Cypress Systems’ flagship product is SelenoExcell (an organic form of selenium from yeast fermentation). Dr. Whitacre’s research experience at Cornell employed several animal models (e.g., intact chicks, rats, and mice) with appropriate biochemical techniques for the study of questions relevant to human health. His thesis advisor, Dr. G.F. Combs, Jr., may be best known for the work of his team in demonstrating for the first time that nutritional supplements of selenium can substantially reduce cancer risks in humans.
Current Evidence and Research Needs to Support a Health Claim for Selenium and Cancer Prevention
Effects of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in patients with carcinoma of the skin. A randomized controlled trial. Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study Group
Dr. Whitacre views education as a life-long learning process and he continued his education over the next twenty years that followed his Cornell experience. For example, he obtained the law degrees, Juris Doctor and L.L.M., from Northwestern California University in Sacramento, California, and several degrees from Kensington University (Glendale, California) that include an MBA (Master of Business Administration), his first Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, a Ph.D. in Psychology, and his most recent Ph.D. degree (July, 2002) in Economics all through correspondence courses.