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James Turkson, PhD

James Turkson, PhD
  • Researcher (Professor) and Full Member
    Cancer Biology Program
  • Director, Natural Products and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Basic Sciences Senior Leader
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Academic Appointments

  • 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.

Selected Publications

  • Miklossy G, Youn UJ, Yue P, Zhang M, Chen CH, Hilliard TS, Paladino D, Li Y, Choi J, Sarkaria JN, Kawakami JK, Wongwiwatthananukit S, Chen Y, Sun D, Chang LC, Turkson J. (2015). Hirsutinolide Series Inhibit Stat3 Activity, Alter GCN1, MAP1B, Hsp105, G6PD, Vimentin, TrxR1, and Importin α-2 Expression, and Induce Antitumor Effects against Human Glioma. J Med Chem. Oct 8;58(19):7734-48. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.5b00686. Epub 2015 Sep 17. PMID: 26331426.
  • Chelsky ZL, Yue P, Kondratyuk TP, Paladino D, Pezzuto JM, Cushman M, Turkson J. (2015). A Resveratrol Analogue Promotes ERKMAPK-Dependent Stat3 Serine and Tyrosine Phosphorylation Alterations and Antitumor Effects In Vitro against Human Tumor Cells. Mol Pharmacol. Sep;88(3):524-33. doi: 10.1124/mol.115.099093. Epub 2015 Jul 2. PMID: 26138072.
  • Yue P, Lopez-Tapia F, Paladino D, Li Y, Chen CH, Hilliard T, Chen Y, Tius MA, Turkson J. (2015). Hydroxamic acid and benzoic acid-based Stat3 inhibitors suppress human glioma and breast cancer phenotypes in vitro and in vivo. Cancer Res. Jun 18. pii: canres.3558.2014. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 26088127.
  • Miklossy G, Hilliard TS, Turkson J. (2013). Therapeutic modulators of STAT signalling for human diseases. Nat Rev Drug Discov. Aug;12(8):611-29. doi: 10.1038/nrd4088. Review. PMID: 23903221. Free PMC Article
  • Miklossy G, Hilliard TS, Turkson J. (2013). Therapeutic modulators of STAT signalling for human diseases. Nat Rev Drug Discov. Aug;12(8):611-29.
  • 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.

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.