Meet the Research Team

The Chemoprotection Center at Johns Hopkins University been growing preventive solutions for over 25 years

Jed W. Fahey Sc.D., Director

Jed W. Fahey Sc.D.


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Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology
Department of Pharmacology & Molecular Sciences
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Department of International Health, Center for Human Nutrition. 

M.S., Plant Physiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (1978). Sc.D. Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health (2004).

Dr. Fahey’s current research concerns elucidation of mechanisms of how plants protect themselves against unfavorable and stressful conditions, and how this understanding can be translated to chemoprotection of eukaryotic mammalian systems. This work draws on elements of natural product chemistry, enzymology, nutritional epidemiology, and clinical research in order to develop nutritional strategies for cancer chemoprotection in humans. Many of the studies have dealt with isothiocyanates (e.g., sulforaphane) and glucosinolates. His work led to the discovery that broccoli sprouts are an exceptionally rich and consistent source of inducers that detoxify carcinogens, and to the development of methods for their detection and for assessing their metabolism in humans. He discovered that one of the inducers, sulforaphane, has potent antibiotic activity against Helicobacter pylori, a causative agent of peptic ulcer and stomach cancer, and followed up with trials in animals and in H. pylori-infected humans. Ongoing collaborations examine the effects of broccoli, Moringa, and the other plants and their phytochemicals against a range of chronic diseases. Dr. Fahey has for years taught courses in cancer prevention and nutrition at both medical and public health schools.

Albena T.<br />Dinkova-Kostova Ph.D.,

Albena T.
Dinkova-Kostova Ph.D.

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Reader, Medical Research Institute, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK. Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, and Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Ph.D. Biochemistry, Washington State University, Pullman, WA (1996).  Current research interests are focused on the molecular mechanisms of regulation of cytoprotective proteins (mediated through transcription factors Nrf2 and Hsf1), the chemistry of inducers, and translation of this knowledge towards developing strategies for protection against chronic disease.  Her work has been highlighted in commentaries and attracted more than 5000 citations; one paper was featured on the American Chemical Society Publications website as being in the top 1% of the most-cited papers during the past 10 years.  A review paper, published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was the top cited article for the period 2009 – 2011.  Another review paper, published in the Archives of Toxicology, was highlighted in an Editorial, and was the most cited paper for the year 2011 in that journal.  In 2011, Albena was awarded the Arthur C. Neish Young Investigator Award of the Phytochemical Society of North America.  She participates in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate life sciences and medical students.  Her students have received major academic awards, such as the Biochemical Society Centenary Poster Prize and the Sir James Black Award for Outstanding Achievements.

Thomas W. Kensler Ph.D.,

Thomas W. Kensler Ph.D.

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Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh. Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, Professor Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Ph. D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1976). Postdoctoral Fellow, McArdle Laboratory, University of Wisconsin (1976-1978).

Extensive studies on elucidation of protection against stress by multiple mechanisms: (i) induction of electrophile detoxication and antioxidant enzymes, as well as suppressing inflammatory processes; (ii) activation of macromolecular damage repair systems; (iii) activation of tissue repair/regeneration pathways. Mechanisms have focused on the role of Nrf2 in the cytoprotective Keap1/Nrf2/ARE signaling system, and the crosstalk of Nrf2 with other signaling networks contributing to cellular plasticity, including aryl hydrocarbon receptor, NF-κB, p53, and Notch 1.

Extensive longitudinal surveys and prospective case-control studies in rural China have attributed a prime role for aflatoxin in the etiology of liver cancer in Qidong Province (where 10% of the population die of liver cancer). Feeding of broccoli sprout extracts rich in sulforaphane, or its precursor glucoraphanin, markedly increased urinary excretion of aflatoxin mercapturic acids, detoxification products resulting from induction of glutathione transferases. Recently, increased excretion of the mercapturic acid metabolites of toxic environmental pollutants such as benzene and acrolein have been demonstrated in populations from Qidong Province who have been fed sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extracts.

For more, see recent profile.

Paul Talalay M.D., Founding Director

Paul Talalay M.D.

Founding Director

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John Jacob Abel Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins University. 

S.B. Biophysics, MIT (1944). M.D. Yale (1948). Residency, Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard (1948-1950). Professor of Biochemistry, Medicine, Ben May Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Chicago (1950-1963). Director, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Johns Hopkins University (1963-1975). John Jacob Abel Distinguished Service Professor (1975-present). Founding Director of the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory (1993), the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center (2003), and the Phytochemical Chemoprotection Laboratories within the center (2011).

Elucidation of enzymatic mechanisms of steroid hormone biosynthesis and metabolism. Demonstration that activation of endogenous chemoprotective genes is a major strategy for reducing the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Formulation of the concept of protecting cells against oxidative stress, DNA-damaging electrophiles, inflammation, and radiation by inducing endogenous cellular mechanisms reduces the risk of chronic illness. Isolation of sulforaphane from broccoli as a potent inducer of these genes. Demonstration that broccoli sprouts are a rich sources of sulforaphane precursors. Clinical studies on the chemoprotective effects of sulforaphane.