Dr. Pezzuto received his A.B. degree in chemistry from Rutgers University (1973) and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (1977). He then performed two years of postdoctoral work in the Department of Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute. Following a one-year stay at the University of Virginia, as Instructor of Chemistry, he accepted a faculty position (Assistant Professor) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1980). He was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1984, and to full professor in both the College of Pharmacy (1991-2002) and the College of Medicine (1994-2002) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was named Distinguished University Professor in 2002. He served as Head (1993-1995) and Interim Head (2000-2001) of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy at the UIC College of Pharmacy, Associate Director of the UIC Cancer Center (1991-1995), and Director of the Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences (1995-1998), the leading research unit affiliated with the UIC College of Pharmacy. He later served as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, UIC College of Pharmacy (1998-2002), Deputy Director of the UIC Cancer Center (2000-2002), and Head of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy (2001-2002). In 2002, Dr. Pezzuto accepted the position of Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and Dean of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences, at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (2002-2006). He also served as Chief Scientific Officer for pharmaceutical development at McClure Park, Inc., an affiliate of the Purdue Research Foundation (2004-2006). In 2006, Dr. Pezzuto became the Founding Dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Over the period of nine years, the College was built from the ground up, now holding a respectable position in academic pharmacy.
He is currently Professor and Dean of the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Long Island University, Vice President LIU Health and Research, and holds adjunct professorial positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Purdue University, and the University of Hawaii. He is an author of over 500 publications (H-index, 90), including the first report describing the cancer preventive activity of resveratrol, a component of grapes and grape products such as red wine. This single manuscript has been cited over 4800 times, and resveratrol is now in numerous clinical trials and the subject of over 15,000 manuscripts. He is also co-inventor of several patents, the editor of five books, member of over 10 editorial boards of international journals, the former editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Pharmacognosy (1990-1995), the former editor-in-chief of Combinatorial Chemistry and High Throughput Screening (1996-1997), and the current editor-in-chief of Pharmaceutical Biology. He served as a full member of Subcommittee E (cancer epidemiology, prevention and control) of the National Cancer Institute (2003-2007). He was the recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Cancer Institute (1984-1989) and a Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1990-1991). During the period of the Humboldt fellowship, he held a research position in the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Munich. He has directed the research of numerous doctoral students, postdoctoral associates, and visiting scholars. He was elected Senior University Scholar at UIC in 1999, UIC Inventor of the Year in 2000, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012, and recipient of the Volwiler Research Award by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in 2014.
His current research interests are predominately in the areas of biology-driven natural product drug discovery and characterization, with primary emphasis in the fields of cancer chemotherapy and cancer chemoprevention. He received financial support by the National Institutes of Health for over 35 years, and currently directs a long-term project designed to investigate the effect of grape consumption on health and longevity. He resides in Brookville, NY, with his wife and three children.
It is our incredible privilege to showcase Dr. John Michael Pezzuto in the IPS Member Spotlight as well as to honor him as the 2017 Italian-American Pharmacists Society Annual Dinner Dance Honoree.