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1988 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Junxuan (Johnny) Lu, PhD, has held an appointment of Professor of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine since November 2015 and was appointed to the Bernard B. Brodie professorship in November 2023. He was Professor (2011-2015) of Biomedical Sciences and Department chairperson (2011-2014) at Texas Tech University School of Pharmacy in Amarillo, Texas and was, Associate and Professor of Cancer Biology at Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota (2002-2011). He conducted mammary carcinogenesis and chemoprevention research at AMC Cancer Research Center, Denver, CO (1992-2002). Current areas of research:

  • Area 1. Natural products and compounds - preclinical studies and human clinical trials. We discovered pyranocoumarins from Korean angelica root as a novel class of anti-androgens. We evaluated Korean angelica extract and compounds for their anti-cancer efficacy and mechanisms using TRAMP as well as xenograft cancer models. We characterized tissue distribution, metabolism and transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic impacts of Korean angelica extract in rodent models to gain fuller understanding of molecular mediators and “targets”. We completed and published the first-in-human PK study of pyranocoumarins. We are conducting early-stage clinical trials in prostate cancer patients in collaboration with Dr. Monika Joshi (PI) and clinical colleagues at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
  • Area 2. Selenium - Next-gen and novel synthetic entities We identified lead Se compounds with cancer chemopreventive potential and their associated cellular and molecular mechanisms. We assessed their in vivo efficacy in animal models including xenografts, oncogene tissue specific transgenic and conditional knockout mice models and chemically-induced carcinogenesis. In aggregate, our studies have provided conceptual paradigm and experimental data to support methylselenol-generators as preferable Se form over selenite (genotoxic to DNA) and selenomethionine. We pioneered assessing the role of apoptosis, angiogenesis and senescence in the Se-chemoprevention field. We strove to define clinically-relevant Se forms for future translation to humans. We are collaborating with colleagues on novel synthetic Se entities.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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