Meet the Research Team

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

Jed W. Fahey Sc.D., Director

Jed W. Fahey Sc.D.


Send Email

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.

Professor of Chemical Biology, School of Medicine, University of Dundee and Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 

PhD, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Washington State University, Pullman, WA (1996).

In her research, at the interface of Chemistry and Biology, she is committed to understanding how cells respond to oxidative stress and inflammation, and is working towards development of strategies for protection against chronic degenerative diseases. Albena’s work on the mechanism of induction of cytoprotective proteins (through the KEAP1/NRF2 pathway and the heat shock response) and the chemistry of small molecule modulators has been published in more than 100 manuscripts and has attracted nearly 8000 citations. She is the recipient of the 2011 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.

Paul Talalay M.D., Founding Director

Paul Talalay M.D.

Founding Director

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.

Thomas W. Kensler <br />Ph.D.,

Thomas W. Kensler

Full Member, Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington. Professor Emeritus, Environmental Health Sciences, 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.

Luigi M. De Luca, Ph.D.,

Luigi M. De Luca, Ph.D.

Senior Associate, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health

Chief, Differentiation Control Section, Division of Basic Sciences, National Cancer Institute, NIH (1973-2005)
Research Chemist, Lung Cancer Unit, NCI, NIH (1971-1973)
Research Associate & Instructor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1965-1973)
Visiting Professorships: University of Oslo, University of Tokyo, University of Naples Federico Secondo, University of California at Berkeley (Wellcome Professor), University of Pavia Department of Pathology, Bellagio Study Center Scholar Rockefeller Foundation, University of Rome.

Research interests are in chemoprotection against cancer development by dietary components. Has used derivatives of vitamin A (retinoids) to inhibit carcinogenesis in vivo and in vitro. Is interested in the molecular biology of the retinoid receptors and has discovered that the RXR family of receptors is sequestered in the splicing factor compartment in estrogen-receptor negative highly malignant human breast cancer cells. This confers retinoid resistance to these cells. Sensitivity is reestablished upon liberation of the RXR from the sequestration site. Has also found that p21WAF1/CIP1 apoptosis protein contains two RXREs in its promoter and one overlapping RARE, leading to alternative regulation of transcription depending on the RAR to RXR ratio in the cells. The homodimer RXR-RXR is favored when RAR is down-regulated and RAR-RXR heterodimer is favored when RAR is prevalent. Under the latter conditions p21WAF1/CIP1, which depends on RXR-homodimers, will not be transcribed to the same extent as when RXR-RXR homodimers prevail. Thus clinical intervention can only succeed if RXR-RXR homodimers prevail and are available for transcription of p21, and if the ratio of the two families of retinoid receptors is determined prior to intervention.

Hua Liu Ph.D.,

Hua Liu Ph.D.

Faculty Research Associate
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

B.S. Plant Physiology (1990), M.S. Biochemistry (1993), Ph.D. Molecular Genetics (1998), Nankai University, Tianjin, China.

Recent research interests have been focused on developing robust biomarkers to underpin strategies for protecting cells against the damaging effects of oxidative stress, DNA-damaging electrophiles, inflammation and UV radiation, aimed at reducing the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Dr. Liu has extensive experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and animal models. She is currently in the process of identifying panels of biomarkers associated with basic physiological pathways, and is applying these biomarker analyses in clinical studies on autism, schizophrenia, and skin aging. She is also performing in vitro studies on the chemoprevention of breast cancer and diseases of accelerated aging.

Sharadha Dayalan <br />Naidu Ph.D.,

Sharadha Dayalan
Naidu Ph.D.

Reata Visiting Scholar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Ph.D Medicine (2016) and M.Res, Cancer Biology, (2012), University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom.

Current research is focused on finding the fundamental genetic and molecular mechanisms that are involved in cellular cytoprotection. She is particularly interested in studying how the two major cytoprotective pathways, the KEAP1-NRF2-ARE pathway and the heat shock response, are elicited upon exposure to various stressors and, how the activation of these pathways using phytochemical inducers can be exploited for preventative and therapeutic use in cancer and other chronic diseases.  In that context she is also examining promising new synthetic compounds developed using plant defensive compounds as clues.

Katherine K. <br />Stephenson, M.S.,

Katherine K.
Stephenson, M.S.

Senior Research Specialist
Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

M.S., Horticulture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (1997)

Expertise in cell culture techniques, microcopy, enzymology, and phytochemistry have been enduring and constant features. She has been a part of most projects at the Center, co-authoring numerous publications including some of our earliest work on broccoli sprouts and moringa.  Her most recent efforts have been focused on assessing the beneficial effects of specific phytochemicals on cell lines derived from patients suffering from progeria. Kitty has been with the Center since 1994, prior to which she worked in the biotechnology industry.  She is an invaluable member of our staff.

Kristina L Wade, M.S.,

Kristina L Wade, M.S.

Research Specialist
Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

M.S., Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD (2005)

Kristina has for a number of years been the Center’s Clinical Trials Coordinator, a role for which she has substantial expertise. She also utilizes a wide range of techniques in chromatography, enzymology, and clinical chemistry. She runs the only Centrifugal Counter-Current Chromatography lab at JHU (and one of few worldwide) – this is a relatively new technique that we are pioneering in our Center. Kris has been at JHU since 1992 (before the Center was started) prior to which she worked at Walter Reed Institute of Research.

Teresa L. Johnson, <br />MSPH, MA, RD,  Consultant (part time)

Teresa L. Johnson,

Consultant (part time)

Send Email

M.S.P.H., Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health R.D., Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health M.A., Science Writing, Johns Hopkins University

Teresa is an experienced science writer and health communications consultant who is helping in our outreach efforts. After earning a bachelor’s degree in dietetics at Michigan State University, Teresa completed a combined master’s degree/registered dietitian internship program at JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bayview Medical Center. During this time, she was Dr. Fahey’s student and mentee. She later earned a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University. Teresa is CEO of TLJ Communications, which serves a diverse clientele, including non-profit organizations, academia, federal agencies, major online news magazines, and others. In collaboration with Dr. Fahey and the CCC, she has published a scientific paper, a review chapter, and a biographical profile of Dr. Paul Talalay, the CCC’s founding director. She has co-authored a book, The Metabolic Danceand is a regular contributor to the American Institute for Cancer Research website and blog.