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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.


  • Zhang X, Yue P, Page BDG, Li T, Zhao W, Namanja AT, Paladino D, Zhao J, Chen Y, Gunning PT, Turkson J. (2012). Orally bioavailable small-molecule inhibitor of transcription factor Stat3 regresses human breast and lung cancer xenografts. Proc Natl Acad Sci. USA. 109(24):9623-8.
  • Wason MS, Colon J, Das S, Seal S, Turkson J, Zhao J, Baker CH. (2013). Sensitization of pancreatic cancer cells to radiation by cerium oxide nanoparticle-induced ROS production. Nanomedicine, 2013 9(4):558-69.
  • Hillion J, Belton AM, Shah SN, Turkson J, Jing N, Tweardy DJ, di Cello F, Huso DL, Resar LM. (2014). Nanoparticle delivery of inhibitory signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 G-quartet oligonucleotides blocks tumor growth in HMGA1 transgenic model of T-cell leukemia. Leuk Lymphoma. 2014 May;55(5):1194-7.
  • Miklossy G, Hilliard TS, Turkson J. (2014). Therapeutic modulators of STAT signalling for human diseases. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2013 Aug;12(8):611-29.
  • Youn UJ, Miklossy G, Chai X, Wongwiwatthananukit S, Toyama O, Songsak T, Turkson J, Chang LC. (2014). Bioactive sesquiterpene lactones and other compounds isolated from Vernonia cinerea. Fitoterapia. 2014 Mar;93:194-200.

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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