Dr. Thomas O’Halloran directs an interdisciplinary research program involving chemical synthesis, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology as the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in the Department of Chemistry and in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern University. He is the Founding Director of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute (CLP), where he leads teams of interdisciplinary biomedical researchers. This Institute brings together researchers from the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, medicine, proteomics, nanobiotechnology, molecular therapeutics and biological molecular imaging. Within CLP, he is the Faculty Advisor to the Quantitative Bio-element Imaging Center (QBIC). He is also the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
Dr. O’Halloran received his BS and MA degrees in Chemistry from the University of Missouri, and a PhD in 1985 from Columbia University in Bioinorganic Chemistry. After postdoctoral training at MIT, he joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1986 where he is currently the Morrison Professor in the Department of Chemistry and in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. During his tenure at Northwestern he has supervised over 60 Ph.D. students and more than 40 postdoctoral fellows.
His scientific recognitions include a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, a National Searle Scholars Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award, the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Schering-Plough Scientific Achievement Award, the David Denks Award for Research of Copper Homeostasis and the Royal Society for Chemistry Bioinorganic Award. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Dr. O’Halloran also received a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. O’Halloran’s research centers on the molecular mechanisms regulating the uptake, trafficking, utilization and intracellular fluxes of metals essential for growth and proliferation (i.e., zinc, copper and iron), nanoscale drug delivery mechanisms and on the mechanisms of clinically important anticancer agents. His discoveries have established the functions and structures of two classes of soluble receptors: metalloregulatory proteins that govern metal responsive gene expression and metallochaperone proteins that control intracellular trafficking pathways. He and his collaborator, Professor Teresa Woodruff, have discovered new roles for zinc fluxes during the earliest stages of mammalian development.
Dr. O’Halloran has strong interests in translating basic science results into clinical advances. He is an inventor on numerous patents and is also the co-founder of three pharmaceutical companies. Viamet Pharmaceuticals is completing several Phase 2 trials in the US and Europe on antifungal agents for treatment of recurrent fungal infections (VT-1161) and a Phase 1 trial of an agent for treatment of cryptococcal meningitis (VT-1129). Innocrin Pharmaceuticals is completing Phase 2 trials on an agent for treatment of castration resistant prostate cancer (VT-464). Tactic Pharma obtained Orphan Drug status from the FDA for a small molecule therapeutic based on tetrathiomolybdate (recently acquired by Wilson Therapeutics AB) and also has licensed humanized antibodies that target tumors and tumor-associated cells in late pre-clinical development.
Room: Silverman 4611
Complete CV available upon request.