Dr. John Wise.Sr. is a scientist, and a person who embraces all that a scientist can be – explorer, detective, artist, dreamer, educator and mentor- all packaged together to make a career, a life, filled with thrills, wonders and discoveries. For him, being a scientist is one part explorer- venturing into the unknown and discovering things never seen or considered before. One part detective- solving mysteries and puzzles to help explain the new discoveries. One part artist- experiencing the beauty and wonder of scientific discovery and illustrating it for others in images, words, ideas and song. One part dreamer- always imagining what might be next. One part educator and mentor- teaching and sharing the scientific journey and helping others find their scientific footing and vision. Yes, he is a scientist, working both in the tiny, microscopic world of the cell and in the wild with some of the most amazing creatures on earth. He is a successful scientist having mentored and trained over 200 diverse people in his laboratory in toxicology including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduates and high school students. In his research, he identified signature ways that chromium, an environmental pollutant with widespread exposure, destabilizes chromosomes to cause lung cancer, which has contributed to improvements in health protection. He pioneered understanding how metal pollution impacts the health of whales, sea turtles, sea lions and alligators and, in doing so, demonstrated that chromium pollution is a global problem. He discovered novel adaptations in whale cells that protect against chromium toxicity, which may lead to new breakthroughs in human cancer.
His work has led to numerous awards for himself and his students, more than over $20 million in grant funding, over 130 peer reviewed research papers and over 700 abstracts and has attracted widespread media coverage.”
Currently, he is a Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacology, Distinguished University Scholar, Director of the Center for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Deputy Director of the Center for Integrative Environmental Health Sciences and Multi-Principal Investigator for the UofL Environmental Health Sciences Training Program. His formal education includes a Bachelor's degree in Biology with high distinction and recognition from George Mason University and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the George Washington University. His postdoctoral training focused on molecular epidemiology under Curtis Harris at the National Cancer Institute, followed by experience with occupational health and risk assessment as a Senior Toxicologist at Jonathan Borak and Company. He has served on the faculty of Yale University’s School of Medicine and School of Public Health, the University of Southern Maine, and now the University of Louisville, School of Medicine.