Mila Rechcigl

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Miloslav Rechcigl
Miloslav Rechcigl.jpg
Mila Rechcigl
Born 30 July 1930 (1930-07-30) (age 86)
Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia
Education Cornell University
Occupation

biochemist, nutritionist, cancer researcher,

writer, editor, historian, bibliographer, genealogist
Spouse(s) Eva Rechcigl
Children Jack Rechcigl
Karen Rechcigl
Parent(s) Miloslav Rechcigl, Sr.

Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr., or Mila Rechcigl, is a trained biochemist, nutritionist and cancer researcher, writer, editor, historian, bibliographer and genealogist. He was one of the founders and past President for many years of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences.

Biography[edit]

He was born on July 30, 1930 in Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia.[1] His father, Miloslav Rechcigl, Sr., was a prominent politician in the pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, having been elected as the youngest member to the Czechoslovak Parliament and who held the position of President of the Millers Association of Bohemia and Moravia.[2] After the communist takeover, he escaped from his native country and in 1950 immigrated to the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1955.[3] He studied at Cornell University from 1951–58, receiving his B.S., M.N.S., and Ph.D. degrees there, specializing in biochemistry, nutrition, physiology, and food science.

He then spent two years conducting research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Subsequently, he was appointed as research biochemist to the staff of the Laboratory of Biochemistry at the National Cancer Institute.[4] During 1968-69 he was selected for one year of training in a special USPHS executive program in health administration, research management, grants administration, and science policy.[5][6]

This led to his appointment as Special Assistant for Nutrition and Health in the Health Services and Mental Health Administration.[7] In 1970 he joined the US Agency for International Development,which was originally a part of the US Department of State, as nutrition advisor and later was put in charge of research program.[8][9]

Research activities[edit]

In his research,[10][11][12] he initially specialized in amino acid metabolism, including the utilization of D-amino acids and non specific forms of nitrogen. He then studied the relationship between protein and vitamin A which led to the finding that the amount, as well as biological value, of dietary protein are important in the process of converting carotene to vitamin A. Other studies dealt with metabolic changes during cachexia of tumor-bearing animals. One of the most striking affects of tumor on the host was the depression of enzyme catalase in the livers and in the kidneys which some investigators thought was due to a hypothetical substance, referred to as toxohormone. This was disproved by finding significant levels of the enzyme in liver tumors.

A number of his studies dealt with the question of enzyme turnover in vivo. Using specific metabolic inhibitors, he evaluated relative rates of synthesis and degradation of the enzyme catalase under a variety of physiological, pathological and pharmacological conditions. These studies led to the conclusion that the rate of synthesis rather than the rate of destruction may be the preferential way of the mammalian organism to control its enzyme levels.

His finding of greatly different levels of catalase activity in certain substrains of mice, which were under genetic control, provided an excellent model for pursuing fundamental research in biochemical genetics in the mammalian system. The analyses of the first, the second the backcross generations between high-enzyme and low-enzyme mouse substrains showed that the difference was due to a single autosomal gene pair with low dominant to high. Using specific metabolic inhibitors, it was subsequently found that the genetic difference between the two substrains lies primarily in the markedly increased rate of the enzyme destruction in the liver of one of the substrains. This was a unique finding since in all normal rats and mice studied previously the rates of enzyme destruction seemed to be almost constant. Although transient alteration in the rate of enzyme degradation has been observed under certain physiological conditions with other enzyme systems, the observation on catalase iwas believed to be the first demonstration of such regulatory mechanism under genetic control.

Other studies dealt with the morphology, biochemistry and physiology of microbodies, on which he collaborated with Prof. Z.. Hruban of the University of Chicago, that led to the monograph Microbodies and Related Particles (1969).

Scientific publications[edit]

He is the author or editor of over thirty monographs and handbooks [13] in the field of biochemistry, physiology, nutrition, food science and food technology, agriculture, and international development, in addition to a large number of scientific articles and book chapters, including:

Monographs[edit]

  • Microbodies and Related Particles. (International Review of Cytology. Supplement No. 1). New York and London, Academic Press, 1969. 296 pp.; also in Russian.
  • Enzyme Synthesis and Degradation in Mammalian Systems. Basel-Munchen-Paris-London-New York-Sydney: S. Karger, 1971. 477 pp.
  • Food, Nutrition and Health. A Multidisciplinary Treatise Addressed to the Major Nutrition Problems from a World Wide Perspective. Basel-Munchen- Paris-London-New York-Sydney: S. Karger, 1973. 516 pp.
  • Man, Food, and Nutrition. Strategies and Technological Measures for Alleviating the World Food Problem. Cleveland, OH: CRC Press, 1973. 344 pp.
  • World Food Problem. A Selective Bibliography of Reviews. Cleveland, OH: CRC Press, 1975. 211 pp.
  • Comparative Animal Nutrition. Vol. 1. Carbohydrates, Lipids, and ccessory Growth Factors. Basel-Munchen-Paris-London-New York-Sydney: S. Karger, 1976. 223 pp.
  • Comparative Animal Nutrition. Vol. 2 Nutrient Elements and Toxicants. Basel-Munchen-Paris-London-New York-Sydney: S. Karger, 1977. 208 pp.
  • Comparative Animal Nutrition. Vol. 3. Nitrogen, Electrolytes, Water and Energy Metabolism. Basel-Munchen-Paris-London-New York- Sydney: S.Karger, 1979. 260 pp.
  • Comparative Animal Nutrition. Vol. 4. Physiology of Growth and Nutrition. Basel-Munchen-Paris-London-New York-Sydney: S. Karger, 1981. 341 pp.
  • Nutrition and World Food Problem. Basel-Munchen-Paris-London-New York-Sydney: S. Karger, 1979. 375 pp.

Handbooks[edit]

  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Nutritional Requirements. Vol. 1. Comparative and Quantitative Requirements. Cleveland, OH: CRC Press, 1977. 551 pp.
  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Sect. G. Diets, Culture Media, Food Supplements. Vol. 1. Dits for Mammals. Cleveland, OH: CRC Press, 1977. 645 pp.
  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Sect. G. Diets, Culture Media, Food Supplements. Vol. 2. Food Habits of and Diets for Invertebrates and Vertebrates. Zoo diets. Cleveland, OH: CRC Press, 1977. 462 pp.
  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Sect. G. Diets, Culture Media, Food Supplements. Vol. 3. Culture Media for Microorganisms and Plants. Cleveland, OH: CRC Press, 1978. 647 pp.
  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Sect. G. Diets, Culture Media, Food Supplements. Vol. 4. Culture Media for Cells, Organs and Embryos. Cleveland, OH: CRC Press, 1977. 469 pp.
  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Sect. E. Nutritional Disorders. Vol. 1. Effect of Nutrient Excesses and Toxicities in Animals and Man. West Palm Beach, FL: CRC Press, 1978. 518 pp.
  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Sect. E. Nutritional Disorders. Vol. 2. Effect of Nutrient Deficiencies in Animals. West Palm Beach, FL: CRC Press, 1978. 548 pp.
  • CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food. Sect. E. Nutritional Disorders. Vol. 3. Effect of Nutrient Deficiencies in Man. West Palm Beach, FL: CRC Press, 1978. 388 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Nutritional Requirements in a Functional Context. Vol. 1. Development and Conditions of Physiologic Stress. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1981. 542 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Nutritional Requirements in a Functional context. vol. 2. Hematopoiesis and Resistance to Physical Stress. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1981. 594 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Nutritive Value of Processed Food. vol. 1. Food for Human Use. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1982. 679 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Nutritive Value of Processed Food. Vol. 2. Animal Feedstuffs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1982. 499 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Agricultural Productivity. Vol. 1. Plant Productivity. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1982. 468 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Agricultural Productivity. vol. 2. Animal Productivity. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1982. 396 pp. CRC Handbook of Nutritional Supplements. Vol. 1. Human Use. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1983. 564 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Nutritional Supplements. Vol. 2. Agricultural Use. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1983. 412 pp.
  • CRC Hanndvook of Naturally Occurring Food Toxicants. Boca Raton. FL: CRC Press, 1983. 339 pp.
  • CRC Handbook of Foodborne Diseases of Biological Origin. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1983. 518 pp.

Czech-American activism[edit]

Apart from his purely scientific endeavors as a researcher and science administrator, Dr. Rechcigl devoted almost 50 years of his life to the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), an international organization, with headquarters in Washington, D. C. [14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] He was responsible for the first two Society's World Congresses, both of which were a great success and which put the Society on the world map. He also edited the Congress lectures and arranged for their publication, under the title The Czechoslovak Contribution to World Culture [22] and Czechoslovakia Past and Present[23] The publications received acclaim in the American academic circles and greatly contributed to the growing prestige of the Society worldwide.

Dr. Rechcigl was also involved, one way or another, with most of the subsequent SVU World Congresses, including the recent SVU Congresses in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Washington, D.C., Plzeň, Olomouc and České Budějovice.Prior to his last term as the SVU President (2004–06),[24] he held similar posts during 1974-76, 1976–78, and again in 1994-96, 1996–98, 1998–2000, 2000–02 and 2002-04.[25][26][27][28][29][30]

In 1999, in conjunction with President Václav Havel's visit to Minnesota, he organized a memorable conference at the University of Minnesota on "Czech and Slovak America: Quo Vadis?"

Together with his wife Eva, he published eight editions of the SVU Biographical Directory, the last of which was printed in Prague in 2003.[31] He was instrumental in launching a new English periodical Kosmas. Czechoslovak and Central European Journal. He also proposed the establishment of the SVU Research Institute [32] and the creation of the SVU Commission for Cooperation with Czechoslovakia,[33] and its Successor States, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which played an important role in the first years after the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Under the sponsorship of the SVU Research Institute, together with his colleagues, he conducted a series of workshops [34] about research management and the art of "grantsmanship" for scientists and scholars, as well as for the administrators and science policy makers, at Czech and Slovak universities, the Academies of Sciences (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Slovak Academy of Sciences) and the Government.

He established the National Heritage Commission with the aim of preserving Czech and Slovak cultural heritage in America.[35] Under its aegis, he had undertaken a comprehensive survey of Czech-related historic sites and archival materials in the US.[36] Based on this survey, he has prepared a detailed listing, Czech-American Historic Sites, Monuments, and Memorials which was published through the courtesy of Palacký University of Olomouc (2004).[37] The second part of the survey, bearing the title Czechoslovak American Archivalia,.[38] was also published by Palacky University (2004).[39]

Among historians, Dr. Rechcigl is well known for his studies on history, genealogy, and bibliography of Czech Americans and Slovak Americans.[40] A number of his publications deal with the early immigrants from the Czech lands and Slovakia, including the immigration of Moravian Brethren to America. In the last few years he has been working on the cultural contributions of Czech Americans and Slovak Americans.[41] A selection of his biographical portraits of prominent Czech Americans from the 17th century to date has been published in Prague, under the title Postavy nasí Ameriky (Personalities of our America).[42] On the occasion of his 75th birthday, the Society published a collection of his essays, under the title Czechs and Slovaks in America, as a part of the East European Monographs series, distributed by the Columbia University Press.[43]

Recognition[edit]

Dr. Rechcigl is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, member of the Scientific Research Society of the Sigma Xi, member of the Cosmos Club, Honorary Member of the International Honor Society of Delta Tau Kappa and Honorary Member of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences. He was also elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists (AIC) and Fellow of the International College of Applied Nutrition.

In 1991, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences awarded him the Hlavka Memorial Medal.[44] In 1997 he received a newly established prize "Gratias agit" from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.[45] In 1999, on the occasion of President Václav Havel's visit to the US, President Havel presented him, on behalf of SVU, the Presidential Memorial Medal.[46] More recently, he was given an honorary title Nebraska Admiral ("Admiral of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska")by the Governor of Nebraska Mike Johanns and the key to the Capital of Nebraska by the Mayor of Lincoln and the SVU Prague Chapter awarded him the 2002 Prague SVU Award. In 2005, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Cyril Svoboda honored him by awarding him the Jan Masaryk Medal [47] for his contributions in preserving and fostering relations between the Czech Republic and the United States. In 2006 he received Comenius Award from the Czech Cultural Center in Houston.

Mila Rechcigl lives with his wife Eva in Washington, D.C. area. They have two children, Jack and Karen, who live in Florida. Jack Rechcigl is professor of soil and water sciences at University of Florida and Director of Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mladoboleslavsko v promenách casu (Prague & Mladá Boleslav: Nakladatelství Libri & Okresní muzeum, 1997
  2. ^ Ottuv Slovník Naucný Nové Doby. Prague: "Novina", 1938, vol. V. 1, p.496
  3. ^ "A 'B' for Behavior for the Miller's Son", Welcome to the Heart of Europe, vol. 2, No. 1 (1995), p. 38.
  4. ^ Who's Who in Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 1962-.
  5. ^ NIH Record, June 11, 1968, p. 7
  6. ^ DRG Personal Items (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD), No. 5 (May 1968), p. 2.
  7. ^ ."Appointment of Dr. Miloslav Rechcigl. Jr. as Special Assistant for Nutrition and Health", Regional Medical Programs Service News Information Data 4, No.1 (January 7, 1970), pp. 1-4
  8. ^ The Biographical Register, US Department of State, July 1974, p. 282
  9. ^ Dictionary of International Biography, 1969-
  10. ^ American Men and Women of Science, 1960-
  11. ^ World Who's Who in Science. From Antiquity to the Present'. Chicago, IL: Marquis-Who's Who, 1968, p.1401
  12. ^ Leaders in American Science, Hattiesburg, MI, 1968-69
  13. ^ Contemporary Authors, Gale Res. Co., Detroit, MI, 1976, vol. 17-20, pp. 600-601
  14. ^ Jaroslav Nemec, "Important Anniversary of SVU Officer", Ceskoslovenský týdeník (New York), August 2, 1990
  15. ^ "Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr.", SVU Bulletin 11, No. 3 (August 1990), p.17
  16. ^ Jan Tríska, "Dr. Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr. The Man for All Seasons", News SVU 37, No. 4 (July–August 1995), p. 7-8
  17. ^ Informacní Bulletin CSUZ 0998, September 30, 1998, pp. 7-8
  18. ^ Zdenek Slouka, "Rechcigl -Septuagenarian", Americké Listy 2000, p. 4
  19. ^ "Profile: Miloslav Rechcigl", Czech the News, vol. 9, No. 8 (September 2000), p. 9
  20. ^ Ceskoslovenský biografický slovník (Prague: Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 1992), p. 589
  21. ^ Josef Tomes et al., Ceský biografický slovník XX. století (Prague: Paseka, Petr Meissner, 1999), vol. 3, pp. 27-28
  22. ^ The Hague - London - Paris: Mouton & Co., 1964. 682 p.
  23. ^ The Hague - Paris: Mouton, 1968. 2 vols., 1889 p.
  24. ^ SVU News, vol. 46, No. 5 (September-Oct. 2004), pp. 1-2.
  25. ^ "Miloslav Rechcigl -New SVU President", News SVU, vol. 16, No. 4 (Nov. 1974), pp. 1-2
  26. ^ "SVU Elects New President", SVU Bulletin, vol. 25, No. 4 (Nov. 1994), pp. 1-3
  27. ^ "SVU Inducts New President", News SVU, vol. 38, No. 6 (Nov.-Dec. 1996), pp. 1-3
  28. ^ "Rechcigl again at the Helm of SVU", News SVU, vol. 40, No. 6 (Nov.-Dec. 1998), pp. 1-3
  29. ^ "Rechcigl Reelected SVU President to Unprecedented 6th Term", News SVU, vol. 42, No.6 (Nov.-Dec., 2000), pp. 1-3
  30. ^ SVU News, vol. 44, No. 6 (Nov.-Dec. 2002), pp. 1-4
  31. ^ SVU Directory 2003. Washington, D.C.: SVU Press, 2003.368 p.
  32. ^ "From the SVU Research Institute", SVU Bulletin vol. 13, No. 3 (August 1992), p. 5
  33. ^ "News from the SVU Commission for Cooperation with Czechoslovakia", SVU Bulletin, vol. 11, No. 3 (August 1990), pp.6-7
  34. ^ Interim Report. Workshops on US Practice in Research Management. Prague: SVU Research Institute, December 1991
  35. ^ "SVU New Initiative", News SVU, vol. 40, No. 1 (January–February 1998), pp. 7-8; "Preserving Czech and Slovak American Archival Material", Kosmas 17, No. 2 (Spring 2004), pp.95-96.
  36. ^ Survey of Czech and Slovak Historical Monuments in America", News SVU 41, No. 6 (November–December 1999), 20-21
  37. ^ Czech-American Historic Sites, Monuments, and Memorabilia (Olomouc-Ostrava: Centrum pro ceskoslovenská studia pri Katedre historie Filozofické fakulty Univerzity Palackého v Olomouci, 2004), 142 p.
  38. ^ Czechoslovak American Archivalia", News SVU 43, No. 1 (January–February 2001), pp. 17-19
  39. ^ Czechoslovak American Archivalia. Vol.1. Government Repositories, University-Based Collections, Collections Maintained by Public Museums and Libraries, Collections of Ethnic and Other Related Organizations (Olomouc-Ostrava: Centrum pro ceskoslovenská studia pri Katedre historie Filozofické fakulty Univerzity Palackého v Olomouci, 2004), 206 pp; Vol. 2. Personal Papers and Collections, Repositories Abroad Bearing on the Subject, Virtual Archives on the Internet, Appendixes. 368 p.
  40. ^ Scholars of Bohemian, Czech and Czechoslovak History Studies. (Prague: Institute of History, 2005), Vol. 3, pp. 8-15
  41. ^ See: http://www.svu2000.org/headlines/b98.htm
  42. ^ Postavy nasí Ameriky. Prague: Prazská edice, 200. 355 p.
  43. ^ Czechs and Slovaks in America. Boulder, CO and New York: Columbia Unibversity Press, 2005. 317 p.
  44. ^ ."Agency Official Receives Czech Science Award", AID Front Lines, July 1991, p. 14
  45. ^ Ceský Dialog, No. 8, 1998
  46. ^ "In the Limelight of President Havel's Visit", News SVU, vol. 41, No. 4 (July–August 1999), pp. 1-3
  47. ^ "Medal to SVU President - Mila Rechcigl", News SVU, vol. 48, No. 1 (January–February 2006), pp. 17-19

External links[edit]