John Pierce Wise and Sandra Wise join faculty

John Pierce Wise and Sandra Wise join faculty

Prior to joining the University of Louisville School of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, John Pierce Wise, Sr., Ph.D., and Sandra S. Wise, Ph.D., most recently were at the University of Southern Maine. John Wise is a leading authority on metal-induced carcinogenesis and has lead cutting edge work on the mechan-isms of chromosome instability and its impact on cellular and molecular responses to environmental contaminants such as chromium, arsenic, lead, cobalt and metal nanoparticles, as well as oil and other oil-spill related products. In addition, he is pioneering a new area focused on the concept of One Environmental Health. This concept recognizes human interconnectedness with the ecosystems they live in. To better understand the impact of major pollutants in the ecosystem, he compares effects in both humans and wildlife, such as whales, sea turtles and alligators.

The Wises' lab led a research expedition to study the impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. This multi-year study, done on a sailboat equipped with a cell culture laboratory, was to gather information on the effects of oil and chemical dispersants on marine life. They primarily studied large whales as they are the closest relatives to humans in the Gulf environment. All of these trips included their three children. John Pierce Wise, Jr. was on all parts of the voyage. He became one of the world’s most experienced whale biopsiers, obtaining biopsies from over 300 whales. Catherine Wise was the first person ever to culture whale cells at sea. James Wise didn’t spend as much time on the boat but was key personnel in handling logistics at the home based lab from tracking down lost sample packages in the wee hours of the morning to pioneering the cell culture methods for treating cells with oil and dispersants. These experiences made a lasting impression on all three children as each one is now following in their parents’ footsteps as doctoral students in the field of Environmental Toxicology at leading graduate schools.

In the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, John Wise Sr.’s research will be dedicated to cellular and molecular mechanisms in cancer biology and deploys cell biology, molecular biology, toxicology, molecular epidemiology and genomics to investigate the health impacts of environmental chemical exposures at the molecular, cellular, tissue, individual, community and population levels. Sandra Wise’s research will focus on the mechanisms of heavy metal carcinogenesis in collaboration with John Wise, Sr.