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School of Medicine
Peter L. Pedersen, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Chemistry
Research Interests: Cell energetics
Dr. Peter Pedersen is a professor of biological chemistry and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on cell energetics, its molecular and chemical basis, and relationship to both disease and to the discovery of new therapies.
He studies both mitochondrial and glycolytic processes at the tissue, cell, and molecular level, as well as the relationship of these processes to cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in the U.S., with the ultimate goal of developing new therapies.
Dr. Pedersen graduated from the University of Tulsa with a B.S. in Chemistry. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Arkansas. He proceeded to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to do a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Physiological Chemistry.
Dr. Pedersen has been an active educator during his tenure, instructing such courses as Preclinical Sciences, Biochemistry and Metabolism to the medical students in the School of Medicine. In doing so, he has received countless awards recognizing his important role in the preclinical coursework. He has been a prolific author, having published over 366 articles with abstracts and 241 without abstracts.
He was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma as the son of a strawberry farmer and a chemistry teacher.
- Professor of Biological Chemistry
- Professor of Oncology
- B.S., University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) (1961)
- Ph.D., University of Arkansas (Arkansas) (1964)
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 1967, Physiological Chemistry
Research & Publications
Dr. Pedersen's laboratory is interested in cell energetics and the relationship of cell energy to molecular medicine and disease. He studies both mitochondrial and glycolytic processes at the tissue, cell, and molecular level, as well as the relationship of these processes to cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in the U.S., with the ultimate goal of developing new therapies.
In addition to studies focused on elucidating the structure, mechanism, and regulation of the mammalian mitochondrial ATP synthase, a major disease focus for many years has been cancer because of its well-known alterations in energy metabolism. More recently, they have entered into a study of heart dysfunction as the heart with every beat is totally dependent on energy metabolism, with the mitochondrial ATP synthase being intimately involved.
Dr. Pedersen and his laboratory use chemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, immunology, tissue culture and animal models to better understand the energetics/energy metabolism of normal and pathological cells/tissues. A major focus is on the two “power plants”, the mitochondria and the glucose catabolic system, as well as on the interaction between these two systems.
Specific projects in the laboratory that are currently under investigation include: 1.) The structure, mechanism, and regulation of the mitochondrial ATP synthase/ATPase complex, 2.) The molecular basis of cancer’s most common phenotype, i.e., an elevated glucose metabolism, and 3.) The regulation of heart function under normal and ischemic conditions as it relates to the mitochondrial ATP synthase/ATPase complex.
The team consists of chemists, biologists, and clinicians that work together in a highly collaborative environment. The laboratory is currently supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, etc.
Dylag M, Lis P, Niedzwiecka K, Ko YH, Pedersen PL, Goffeau A, Ulaszewski S. "3-Bromopyruvate: a novel antifungal agent against the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans." Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 May;3;434(2):322-7.
Queirós O, Preto A, Pacheco A, Pinheiro C, Azevedo-Silva J, Moreira R, Pedro M, Ko YH, Pedersen PL, Baltazar F, Casal M. "Butyrate activates the monocarboxylate transporter MCT4 expression in breast cancer cells and enhances the antitumor activity of 3-bromopyruvate." J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2012 Feb;44(1):141-53.
Ko YH, Verhoeven HA, Lee MJ, Corbin DJ, Vogl TJ, Pedersen PL. "A translational study ‘case report’ on the small molecule ‘energy blocker’ 3-bromopyruvate (3BP) as a potent anticancer agent: from bench side to bedside." J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2012 Feb;44(1):163-70.
Pedersen PL. "3-bromopyruvate (3BP) a fast acting, promising, powerful, specific, and effective "small molecule" anti-cancer agent taken from labside to bedside: introduction to a special issue." J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2012 Feb;44(1):1-6.
Lis P, Zarzycki M, Ko YH, Casal M, Pedersen PL, Goffeau A, Ulaszewski S. "Transport and cytotoxicity of the anticancer drug 3-bromopyruvate in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae." J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2012 Feb;44(1):155-61.
Contact for Research Inquiries
JHU School of Medicine
725 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Activities & Honors
- Certified Excellence in Teaching Award, 1994
- Certified Excellence in Teaching Award, 1984
- Certified Excellence in Teaching Award, 1982
- Certified Excellence in Teaching Award, 1977
- Certified Excellence in Teaching Award, 1976
- Certified Excellence in Teaching Award, 1974
- W. Barry Wood Jr. Award, 1981
- Professor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1984
- American Cancer Society
- American Chemical Society
- Biophysical Society
- Sigma Xi
- Editor, Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, 1990
- Editorial Board, Mitochondrion and Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 1994