Georg Wondrak

Facility Co-Leader
Research Focus Group Membership: 
Research Focus Group 3

Ph.D., Technical University Berlin, Germany

College Affiliations: 

College of Pharmacy

Research Interests: 

Redox drug discovery targeting human skin cancer.

Environmental Health Research & Expertise: 

Dr. Wondrak's research aims at redox drug discovery targeting skin cancer and solar photodamage: "My laboratory explores molecular mechanisms of skin photodamage and photocarcinogenesis with a focus on chemical processes including photooxidative and carbonyl stress. Identification of critical molecular targets that mediate UVA-induced skin alterations and contribute to the pathogenesis of nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancer facilitates the development of novel experimental therapeutics for skin photoprotection and anti-melanoma intervention. (I) Our recent research suggests that redox dysregulation originating from metabolic alterations and dependence on mitogenic and survival signaling through reactive oxygen species represents a specific vulnerability of melanoma cells that can be selectively targeted by apoptogenic redox chemotherapeutics. We are therefore aiming at drug discovery and target identification of small molecule prooxidant modulators including genotype-directed quinones and synthetically-lethal endoperoxides displaying anti-melanoma activity in vitro and in vivo. (II) For skin cancer photo-chemoprevention and solar photoprotection we are aiming at the design of pharmacological activators of the innate skin photo-adaptive response (SPA) that antagonizes cutaneous damage from environmental UV exposure. Non-cytotoxic small molecule SPA-inducers, acting through Nrf2-activation and heat shock response upregulation, represent a novel class of topical agents targeting skin photo-oxidative stress."

Select Publications


Long, M., S. Tao, M. Rojo de la Vega, T. Jiang, Q. Wen, S. L. Park, D. D. Zhang, and G. T. Wondrak, "Nrf2-dependent suppression of azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium-induced colon carcinogenesis by the cinnamon-derived dietary factor cinnamaldehyde.", Cancer Prev Res (Phila), vol. 8, issue 5, pp. 444-54, 2015 May. PubMed PMCID: PMC4417412  PMID: 25712056
Davis, A. L., S. Qiao, J. L. Lesson, M. Rojo de la Vega, S. L. Park, C. M. Seanez, V. Gokhale, C. M. Cabello, and G. T. Wondrak, "The quinone methide aurin is a heat shock response inducer that causes proteotoxic stress and Noxa-dependent apoptosis in malignant melanoma cells.", J Biol Chem, vol. 290, issue 3, pp. 1623-38, 2015 Jan 16. PubMed PMCID: PMC4340407  PMID: 25477506
Park, S. L., R. Justiniano, J. D. Williams, C. M. Cabello, S. Qiao, and G. T. Wondrak, "The Tryptophan-Derived Endogenous Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Ligand 6-Formylindolo[3,2-b]Carbazole Is a Nanomolar UVA Photosensitizer in Epidermal Keratinocytes.", J Invest Dermatol, vol. 135, issue 6, pp. 1649-58, 2015 Jun. PubMed PMCID: PMC4430374  PMID: 25431849


Williams, J. D., Y. Bermudez, S. L. Park, S. P. Stratton, K. Uchida, C. A. Hurst, and G. T. Wondrak, "Malondialdehyde-derived epitopes in human skin result from acute exposure to solar UV and occur in nonmelanoma skin cancer tissue.", J Photochem Photobiol B, vol. 132, pp. 56-65, 2014 Mar 5. PubMed PMCID: PMC3973651  PMID: 24584085


Tao, S., Y. Zheng, A. Lau, M. C. Jaramillo, B. T. Chau, C. R Lantz, P. K. Wong, G. T. Wondrak, and D. D. Zhang, "Tanshinone I activates the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant response and protects against As(III)-induced lung inflammation in vitro and in vivo.", Antioxid Redox Signal, vol. 19, issue 14, pp. 1647-61, 2013 Nov 10. PubMed PMCID: PMC3809600  PMID: 23394605