John O. Trent

The Wendell Cherry Chair in Cancer Translational Research

School of Medicine

John O. Trent, Ph.D. is associate professor of medicine, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and director of the Molecular Modeling Facility at the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville.  Additional appointments include associate professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Dept. of Medicine; associate scientist, Brown Cancer Center; associate professor, Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine; and joint appointment associate professor of chemistry.  Prior to his recruitment to the University of Louisville, Trent served as research assistant professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.  He has also served as associate scientist at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama.

Trent’s research interests include structure-based drug design, macromolecular molecular dynamics modeling of proteins, DNA and RNA drug discovery. His lab uses numerous computational techniques to complement experimental approaches aimed at understanding macromolecular interactions. The methods include molecular dynamics, free energy perturbation calculations, and Monte-Carlo methods as applied to real world problems. The Trent team has enhanced their drug discovery program by establishing a distributing computing Grid for virtual screening. The Grid development is in collaboration with Dataseam and uses thousands of computer processors in schools across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Trent stated “It is now routine in my laboratory to screen millions of potential compounds against a cancer target in days.”

Trent is a holder of several patents and licenses and is author or co-author of many peer-reviewed research publications. 

Trent earned his B.Sc. in Chemistry (1988) and his Ph.D. in Chemistry (1992) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.  He completed postdoctoral training in organic chemistry at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, 1992-1994, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship/lectureship at the CRC Biomolecular Structure Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK (1994-96).