Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

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Anthony D. Wright, Ph.D. Anthony D. Wright

Associate Professor

Tony came to the College of Pharmacy at the Univeristy of Hawaii at Hilo in mid-2007 as Foundation Chair of the College's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (2007-2010), he then took on the post as Chair of the College's PhD Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences Planning Committee (2009-2010) and subsequently became the Foundation Director of the College's PhD Program (2011-2012). With these administrative duties behind him he is now enjoying being an Associate Professor and regular faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is a world leader in marine natural products drugs discovery and a recognised expert in the area of structure elucidation using NMR. His academic career spanning over 30 years, including an interlude as a high school teacher of Mathematics, Chemistry and Physical Education, has been spent searching the natural world, mainly its oceans, for the chemical treasures it has to offer. His research group discovered the first compounds from the marine environment to have selective antimalarial activity and were also the first to isolate endophytic fungi from marine algae. His group was at the forefront in developing new methodologies for solving chemical structures of various natural products an area where they are still active. Here in Hawaii, Tony, his PhD student (Kehau Hagiwara), Post Doc (Dovi Kelman), seniors in marine biology, various volunteers, in particular Dr. Russ Molyneux and Nicole Tabandera, and collaborators (Dr. Karla McDermid) are looking into the natural products chemistry and biological activity of niche macro- and micro-organisms found on the Big Island of Hawaii, Guam and various other locations around the world, as well as at chemical and ecological issues related to tea and cocoa production, both important economic crops for Hawaii.


  • BSc Hons La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (1976)
  • Dip Ed La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (1977)
  • Ph.D. James Cook University, Queensland, Australia (1988)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacy, ETH, Zurich Switzerland (1989)

Classes and Courses

    • Introduction to the Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • Pharmaceutics
    • History of Pharmacy
    • Toxicology and Substances of Abuse
    • NMR Application and Theory (Structure Elucidation and Spectroscopy)
    • Overview of the Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • Organism Collection, Documentation, Preservation and Storage
    • Publication and Grant Preparation and Submission

Selected Presentations and/or Publications

  • Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2002, 45, 3067-3072
  • Chemosphere, 2006, 65, 604-608
  • European Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2007, 2268-2275
  • Marine Biotechnology, 2008, 10, 64-74
  • Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2009, 385, 137-149
  • Marine Drugs, 2009, 7, 565-575
  • PLoS-ONE, 2012,
  • Food Chemistry, 2012, 133, 707-71
  • Marine Drugs, 2012, 10, 403-416

Selected News Releases

Active Grants

  • Since arriving in Hilo (2007) Tony has been awarded three University of Hawaii at Hilo Travels grants ($7K), and in the capacity as CoPI a Congressionally Directed DOE grant ($380K) as well as an NSF outreach partner grant ($50K). Currently (2012-ongoing), he holds as CoPI, a EPSCoR grant ($40K), and two grants ($120K and $240K) through the University of Hawaii Cancer Center's U54 grant award, to investigate various properties of Betel nuts as consumed in and around Guam and Hawaii.

Awards and Honors

  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Post Doctoral Scholarship, 1989
  • American Society of Pharmacognosy Young Investigator Awardee, 1995