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James Turkson, PhD

James Turkson, PhD

James Turkson, PhD
  • Professor and Program Director
    Natural Products and Experimental Therapeutics Program
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Adjunct Professor
    Cell and Molecular Biology
    John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii
  • Adjunct Professor
    Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering
    University of Hawaii


  • PhD, Pharmacology
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Research Focus

To develop novel anticancer drugs based on targeting signal transduction and apoptosis pathways. My laboratory is particularly interested in Stat3 signaling and its role in promoting malignant transformation and tumor progression. The main goal is to discover and develop small-molecule Stat3 inhibitors as novel drugs for treating human cancers that harbor aberrantly-active Stat3. Other drug targets of interests include Src and Jak tyrosine kinases. Research in the laboratory is also focused on defining the signal integration between the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), Src and Stat3 in the promotion of ovarian and pancreatic cancer phenotypes.


  • Miklossy G, Hilliard TS, and Turkson J. (2013)Therapeutic modulators of STAT signaling for human diseases. Nat Rev Drug Discov. Aug;12(8):611-29.
  • Zhang X, Yue P, Page BD, Li T, Zhao W, Namanja AT, Paladino D, Zhao J, Chen Y, Gunning PT, and Turkson J. Identification of Purine-Scaffold Small-MoleculeInhibitors of Stat3 Activation by QSAR Studies. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2(1):79-84.
  • Yue P, Zhang X, Paladino D, Sengupta B, Ahmad S, Holloway RW, Ingersoll SB, and Turkson J. (2012). Hyperactive EGF receptor, Jaks and Stat3 signaling promote enhanced colony-forming ability, motility and migration of cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells. Oncogene. 2012 May 3;31(18):2309-22.
  • Page BD, Khoury H, Laister RC, Fletcher S, Vellozo M, Manzoli A, Yue P, Turkson J, Minden MD, Gunning PT. (2012) Small molecule STAT5-SH2 domain inhibitors exhibit potent antileukemia activity. J Med Chem. 2012 Feb 9;55(3):1047-55.
  • Malhotra A, Zhang X, Turkson J, Santra S.(2013)Buffer-stable chitosan-polyglutamic acid hybrid nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Macromol Biosci. 2013 May;13(5):603-13.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • James Turkson, Principal Investigator
    "Salicylic acid-based small-molecule Stat3 inhibitors for anticancer therapy"
    Direct Cost: $318,760/yr. Total Cost $423,884/yr.
  • James Turkson, Co-Investigator
    NSF: 1159500
    "Engineering and study of a new sensing nanoprobe for direct and rapid delivery of cargo to cytosol, reporting on the delivery event and quantification of delivered cargo"
    Total Direct Costs: $15,451 (Total sub-award funds from UCF)
    04/01/12 – 03/31/15
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