John P. Wise, Sr., Ph.D.


Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

CTRB 522 502–852–8524


Ph.D., Pharmacology, The George Washington University (1994)

Research Areas and Projects

The Wise Laboratory studies cancer and seeks to understand how environmental chemicals transform normal cells into tumor cells. Their work focuses on chromosomes and how changes in the number and structure of chromosomes leads to cancer. The Wise Laboratory has made important advances in understanding DNA damage, DNA repair, mitosis, and centrosome biology; discovering how chemical impacts on these processes lead to chromosome instability and carcinogenesis. The Wise Laboratory then compares these outcomes in humans, to similar endpoints in whales, alligators and sea turtles to discover novel adaptations and to better conserve wildlife. In addition, to these efforts, The Wise Laboratory pioneers studies on how zero gravity changes these processes during space exploration. Some of the new directions in the Laboratory include stem cell research, autophagy and three-dimensional cell culture as they consider how metals impact or create cancer stem cells in their carcinogenic mechanism and preventative studies as they seek to understand if natural products like berries and beets can reduce or reverse toxicity. The Wise Laboratory contextualizes their studies in a “one” environmental health perspective, which considers data from their studies of wildlife, domestic animal, and ecosystem health, together with data from their human health studies. Thus, work in the Wise Laboratory includes laboratory-based mechanistic investigations using state-of-the-art cellular and molecular toxicology tools in their laboratories on the UofL Medical School campus combined with ship-and-shore-based work at field sites in Vieques, Puerto Rico; Cape Canaveral, Florida; and the Gulfs of Maine, Mexico and California.