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John M. Pezzuto, Ph.D.
John M. Pezzuto, Ph.D.

Dean and Professor

Dr. Pezzuto received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Rutgers University (1973), and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (1977). He then performed two years of postdoctoral work in the Department of Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute. Following a one-year stay at the University of Virginia, as Instructor of Chemistry, he accepted a faculty position (Assistant Professor) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1980).

He was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1984, and to full professor in both the College of Pharmacy (1991-2002) and the College of Medicine (1994-2002) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was named Distinguished University Professor in 2002. He served as Interim Head (1993-1995) of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy at the UIC College of Pharmacy, Associate Director of the UIC Cancer Center (1991-1995), and Director of the Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences (1995-1998), the leading research unit affiliated with the UIC College of Pharmacy. He later served as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, UIC College of Pharmacy (1998-2002), Deputy Director of the UIC Cancer Center (2000-2002), and Head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy (2001-2002). In 2002, Dr. Pezzuto accepted the position of Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and Dean of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences, at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (2002-2006). He also served as Chief Scientific Officer for pharmaceutical development at McClure Park, Inc., an affiliate of the Purdue Research Foundation (2004-2006). He is currently Professor and Founding Dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (2006-present).

He is an author of over 500 publications, co-inventor of several patents, the editor of four books, member of over ten editorial boards of international journals, the former editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Pharmacognosy (1990-1995), the former editor-in-chief of Combinatorial Chemistry and High Throughput Screening (1996-1997), and the current editor-in-chief of Pharmaceutical Biology. He has served on many advisory and grant review boards, including serving as a full member of Subcommittee E (cancer epidemiology, prevention and control) of the National Cancer Institute (2003-2006). He was the recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Cancer Institute (1984-1989) and a Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1990-1991).During the period of the Humboldt fellowship, he held a research position in the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Munich.

Dr. Pezzuto has directed the research of numerous doctoral students, postdoctoral associates, and visiting scholars. He was elected Senior University Scholar at UIC in 1999, UIC Inventor of the Year in 2000, and designated Distinguished University Professor in 2002. He was elected a Fellow of the AAAS in 2013. His current research interests are predominately in the areas of biology-driven natural product drug discovery and characterization, with primary emphasis in the fields of cancer chemotherapy, cancer chemoprevention, malaria, and AIDS. He has served as the Director of a Program Project grant in cancer chemoprevention, Program Leader for an International Collaborative Biodiversity Group, and a Program Leader for a National Collaborative Drug Discovery Group. He has been supported by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1977. He resides in Hilo, Hawaii, with his wife and three children.

Ph.D. Dissertation

"Studies on the Metabolic Activation of Benzo(a)pyrene and Subsequent Binding to Nuclear Macromolecules", University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, 1977.


Sample Articles

1. Pezzuto, J.M., Yang, C.S., Yang, S.K., McCourt, D.W., and Gelboin, H.V. Metabolism of benzo(a)pyrene and (-)trans-7,8¬-dihydroxy-7,8-dihydrobenzo(a)pyrene by rat liver nuclei and microsomes. Cancer Res. 38: 1241-1245, 1978.

2. Pezzuto, J.M., Lau, P.P., Luh, Y., Moore, P.D., Wogan, G.N., and Hecht, S.M. There is a correlation between the DNA affinity and mutagenicity of several 3-amino-l-methyl-5H-¬pyrido(4,3-b)indoles. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77: 1427-1431, 1980.

3. Pezzuto, J.M., Moore, P.D., and Hecht, S.M. Metabolic activation of 3-amino-l-methyl-5H-pyrido(4,3-b)indole and several structurally related mutagens. Biochemistry 20: 298-305, 1981.

4. Compadre, C.M., Pezzuto, J.M., Kinghorn, A.D., and Kamath, S.K. Hernandulcin: an intensely sweet compound discovered by review of ancient literature. Science 227: 417-419, 1985.

5. Ratko, T.A. and Pezzuto, J.M. An improved fluorometric method for quantitative high-performance liquid chromatographic analysis of methylated guanine in DNA. J. Chromatogr. 324: 484-488, 1985.

6. Pezzuto, J.M., Compadre, C.M., Swanson, S.M., Nanayakkara, N.P.D., and Kinghorn, A.D. Metabolically activated steviol, the aglycone of stevioside, is mutagenic. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 82: 2478-2482, 1985.

7. Pezzuto, J.M., Shieh, H.-L., Shaughnessy, E., and Beattie, C.W. Approaches for drug development in treatment of advanced melanoma. Sem. Oncol. 15: 578-588, 1988.

8. Angerhofer, C.K., Pezzuto, J.M., König, G.M., Wright, A.D., and Sticher, O. Antimalarial sesquiterpenes from the marine sponge, Acanthella klethra. J. Nat. Prod. 55: 1787-1789, 1992.

9. Pezzuto, J.M., Che, C.-T., McPherson, D.D., Topçu, G., Erdelmeier, C.A.J., and Cordell, G.A. DNA as an affinity probe useful in the detection and isolation of biologically active natural products. J. Nat. Prod. 54: 1522-1530, 1991.

10. Mar, W., Tan, G.T., Cordell, G.A., Pezzuto, J.M., Jurcic, K., Redl, K., Steinke, B., and Wagner, H. Biological activity of novel macrocyclic alkaloids (Budmunchiamines) from Albizia amara detected on the basis of interaction with DNA. J. Nat. Prod., 54: 1531-1542, 1991.

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