Thomas V. O’Halloran Named Center’s New Principal Investigator

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Thomas V. O’Halloran, PS-OC Principal Investigator

Thomas V. O’Halloran, PhD, has been named the new principal investigator for the Northwestern University Physical Sciences-Oncology Center. Widely regarded as a visionary scientist and talented builder of multidisciplinary research teams, O’Halloran played a crucial role in the formation of the Center and has sat on its advisory council for the past two years. In his new position as the Center’s scientific leader, Dr. O’Halloran fills a void left by the death of the PS-OC’s founding principal investigator, Jonathan Widom, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest last July.

A Northwestern faculty member since 1986, Dr. O’Halloran has established deep connections to the university’s physical sciences and cancer research communities. He is the founding director of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, serves as associate director of basic science research within the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, and holds an appointment as the Morrison Family Professor of Chemistry.

Dr. O’Halloran’s research interests center on the regulatory biology and chemistry of transition metal receptors involved in homeostasis and oxidative stress pathways. His laboratory studies molecular mechanisms regulating the uptake, trafficking and utilization of metals essential for growth and proliferation (i.e. zinc, copper and iron); nanoscale drug delivery mechanisms; and the mechanisms of clinically important anticancer agents that are based on arsenic, molybdenum and platinum chemistry. This work provided early insights into molecular regulatory mechanisms and has led to the discovery of new classes of soluble metal receptors such as metalloregulatory and metallochaperone proteins. Most recently, he has discovered nanoscale processes for targeted delivery of multifunctional therapeutic agents capable of treating hematological cancer and solid tumors. These agents are moving rapidly towards clinical trials.