Georg T Wondrak, PhD

Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Associate Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-9009
(520) 626-3797
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Wondrak's research examines the pathological role of oxidative and proteotoxic stress in solar photodamage and skin cancer (melanoma and nonmelanoma) aiming at the design of novel molecular strategies for prevention and therapeutic intervention. Based on his international professional training and proven track record in skin photodamage-related biochemical and pharmacological research, Dr. Wondrak's research group at the College of Pharmacy and University of Arizona Cancer Center is well positioned to productively interact with Dr. Dickinson to pursue the proposed research that tests feasibility of targeting TLR4 for the photochemoprevention of skin carcinogenesis induced by solar ultraviolet radiation. The project will specifically benefit from our complementary expertise in small molecule therapeutic discovery and cutaneous cancer biology.

Clinical Information


Research Information

Research Program: 
Therapeutic Development
Member Status: 
Research Member
Selected Publications: 

Dr. Wondrak's NCBI bibliography

  1. Park, S.L., Justiniano, R., Williams, J.D., Cabello, C.M., Qiao S., and Wondrak, G.T. The tryptophan-derived endogenous arylhydrocarbon receptor ligand 6-formylindolo[3,2-b]carbazole (FICZ) is a nanomolar UVA-photosensitizer in epidermal keratinocytes.  (2015) J. Invest. Dermatol. 135(6):1649-58.
  2. Williams JD, Bermudez Y, Park SL, Stratton SP, Uchida K, Hurst CA, Wondrak GT. Malondialdehyde-derived epitopes in human skin result from acute exposure to solar UV and occur in nonmelanoma skin cancer tissue.  (2014) J Photochem Photobiol B. 5;132:56-65
  3. Lamore, S.D., Qiao, S., Horn, D., and Wondrak, G.T. Proteomic Identification of Cathepsin B and Nucleophosmin as Novel UVA-Targets in Human Skin Fibroblasts. (2010) Photochem. Photobiol. 86(6):1307-17. (This publication was featured on the cover of the issue.)
  4. Wondrak, G.T., Roberts, M.J., Jacobson, M.K. and Jacobson, E.L.  3-Hydroxypyridine Chromophores are Endogenous Sensitizers of Photooxidative Stress in Human Skin Cells.  (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 30009-300020.
  5. Long M, Tao S, Rojo de la Vega M, Jiang T, Wen Q, Park SL, Zhang DD, and Wondrak GT. Nrf2-dependent suppression of azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium-induced colon carcinogenesis by the cinnamon-derived dietary factor cinnamaldehyde. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 May;8(5):444-54.
  6. Tao S., Justiniano, R., Zhang D.D., and Wondrak GT. The Nrf2-inducers tanshinone I and dihydrotanshinone protect human skin cells and reconstructed human skin against solar simulated UV.  (2013) Redox Biol. 1(1):532-41.
  7. Wondrak, G.T., Cabello, C.M., Villeneuve, N.F., et al.  Cinnamoyl-based Nrf2 Activators targeting Human Skin Cell Photo-oxidative Stress. (2008) Free Radic. Biol. Med. 45(4):385-95.
  8. Wondrak, G.T., Jacobson, M.K. and Jacobson, E.L.  Identification of Quenchers of Photoexcited States as Novel Agents for Skin Photoprotection.  (2005) J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 312, 482-491
  9. Qiao, S., Tao, S., Rojo de la Vega, M., Park, S.L., Vonderfecht, A.A., Jacobs, S.L., Zhang, D.D., and Wondrak, G.T. The antimalarial amodiaquine causes autophagic-lysosomal and proliferative blockade sensitizing human melanoma cells to starvation- and chemotherapy-induced cell death.  (2013) Autophagy 9(12):2087-102.
  10. Qiao S, Cabello CM, Lamore SD, Lesson JL, Wondrak GT.  D-Penicillamine targets metastatic melanoma cells with induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and Noxa (PMAIP1)-dependent mitochondrial apoptosis. Apoptosis. 2012 Oct;17(10):1079-94.
  11. Cabello, C.M., Lamore, S.D., Bair 3rd, W.B., Qiao, S., Azimian, S., Lesson, J.L., and Wondrak, G.T.  The redox antimalarial dihydroartemisinin targets human metastatic melanoma cells but not primary melanocytes with induction of Noxa-dependent apoptosis. (2012) Invest. New Drugs 30(4):1289-301.
  12. Wondrak G.T. Redox-directed Cancer Therapeutics: Molecular Mechanisms and Opportunities. (2009) Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11(12):3013-3069. [This publication was featured on the cover of the issue; cited by 211 articles as of 6/2015)
  13. Bair WB 3rd, Cabello CM, Uchida K, Bause AS, Wondrak G.T. GLO1-Overexpression in human malignant melanoma. (2010) Melanoma. Res. 20(2):85-96.
  14. Wondrak, G.T., Jacobson, M.K., and Jacobson, E.L. Anti-Melanoma Activity of Apoptogenic Carbonyl Scavengers.  (2006) J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 316:805-814.
  15. Wondrak, G.T.  Cervantes-Laurean, D., Roberts, M.J., Qasem, J.G., Kim, M., Jacobson, E.L., and Jacobson, M.K. Identification of alpha-dicarbonyl scavengers for cellular protection against carbonyl stress. (2002) Biochem. Pharmacol., 63:381-73.
Collaborative Research: 
5P30 CA023074                      (Kraft, PI)                                                                                             03/01/15 - 02/28/16
Arizona Cancer Center – Cancer Center Support Grant
2015 University of Arizona Cancer Center Director’s Challenge Award for Therapeutic Development
Autophagy-directed Anti-melanoma Intervention  (Wondrak, PI)
The major goal of this project is to examine feasibility of autophagy-directed antimelanoma intervention using specific cathepsin inhibitors.
L’OREAL C130820  (Wondrak, PI)                                                                                         11/01/13 – 10/31/15               
L’Oréal Advanced Research   $ 100,000 (direct)
Comparative Cutaneous Stress Response Profile of Topical Treatments
The major goal of this project is to perform a comparative cutaneous stress response study of antimycotic topical treatments using organotypic skin models including reconstructed human epidermis.
5R21 CA166926         (Wondrak,Zhang, MPI)                                                                        01/01/13 – 12/31/14                          
Targeting Colorectal Carcinogenesis Using a Cinnamon-Derived Food Factor
The goal of this project is to determine the molecular mechanism underlying Nrf2- directed activity of cinnamaldehyde and (II) assess efficacy of cinnamaldehyde as an important food factor targeting colorectal cancer
5R03 CA167580         (Wondrak, PI)                                                                                     04/01/12 – 03/31/14                           
Testing Feasibility of Artemisinin-based Synthetic-lethal Suppression of Skin Photocarcinogenesis
The goal of this project is to test the feasibility of artemisinin-based suppression of sun light-induced skin cancer in an animal model of the disease, representing a potentially significant advance in the development of novel treatment options suppressing skin cancer.
5R01 CA122484         (Wondrak, PI)                                                                                     07/01/07 – 05/31/13                                                   
Targeting Glycolytic Control of Melanoma Cell Survival
This project aims to elucidate the molecular mechanism that regulates melanoma cell survival by methylglyoxal and to test antagonists of methylglyoxal as novel anti-melanoma therapeutics.

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
6/2011-present   Associate Professor with Tenure, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona
2008                    Annual Sydney E. Salmon Distinguished Investigator award recipient
2005-2011          Assistant Professor, Tenure Track, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Division of Drug Discovery and Development, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona;
                            Comprehensive Member, Arizona Cancer Center, Therapeutic Development Program
2002-2005          Associate Research Scientist, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Division of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona
2001-2002          Assistant Research Scientist, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona
1998-2000          Research Postdoctoral Scholar and Scientist III, College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky
1993-1997          Research and Teaching Assistant, Ph.D. dissertation ‘Glycation-damage of nucleic acids’, Institute of Biotechnology, Technical University, Berlin, Germany
1989-1992          Medical Manager, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Neuss, Germany
1988                    Research Assistant, Centro de Biología Molecular, Universidad Autonoma, Madrid, Spain
Other Experience:
2015                    Editor, ‘Stress Response Pathways in Cancer’, 2015, Springer Biomedical Sciences book
2014                    Reviewer, NCI Program Project (P01) Special Emphasis Panel (SEP) III, NIH-NCI
2014                    Reviewer, COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), Action CM1001
2014                    President elect, American Society for Photobiology (ASP)
2013                    Reviewer, 'Omnibus R03/R21: Therapeutics', Special Emphasis Panel, Scientific Review Group 2013/05 ZCA1 RTRB-Z, NIH-NCI
2009-2013         Councilor, American Society for Photobiology (ASP)
Other Experience and Professional Memberships/Affiliations: 
Society for Investigative Dermatology
American Society for Photobiology
American Association for Cancer Research
Society of Toxicology

Academic Information

Biotechnology, Technical University of Berlin, Germany