Ask the Expert: Paul Talalay, M.D.

The Physicians Committee

Ask the Expert: Paul Talalay, M.D.

Paul Talalay, M.D.Paul Talalay, M.D., is John Jacob Abel Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He holds the S.B. degree in biophysics from M.I.T. and the M.D. degree from Yale. Following surgical training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, he moved to the University of Chicago, rising to the academic ranks of professor of biochemistry, professor of medicine, and professor in the Ben May Laboratory for Cancer Research. After serving for 12 years as director of the department of pharmacology at Johns Hopkins Medical School, he relinquished this position to devote himself full time to research.

Dr. Talalay has devoted his career to cancer research. For the last 25 years he has been involved in devising strategies for chemoprotection against the risk of cancer, a field in which he is recognized as a pioneer. His efforts have focused on achieving protection by raising the enzymes concerned with the detoxication of carcinogens. Analysis of the chemistry and the molecular biology of boosting enzymes of detoxication has led him and his colleagues to devise simple cell culture methods for detecting chemical and especially dietary phytochemicals that raise these enzymes. This work led to the isolation of sulforaphane as the most potent inducer of protective enzymes in broccoli. These findings led to the organization of the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory at Johns Hopkins. This unique laboratory is exclusively dedicated to identifying edible plants that are particularly rich in protective enzyme-inducer activity.

Dr. Talalay’s honors, in addition to his appointment as a University Distinguished Service Professor, include: appointment to one of the first life-time Professorships of the American Cancer Society and membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He was recently awarded the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research.

He has published approximately 250 papers in internationally respected scientific journals. He has received an honorary D.Sc. degree from Acadia University. The M.D.-Ph.D. Student Library at Johns Hopkins has been named in his honor.

Watch Dr. Talalay’s Cancer & Nutrition Webcast >