Professor of Oceanography and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Ph.D., UC San Diego, Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Dr. Gerwick's research program focuses on the unique, biologically-active constituents of marine organisms, especially marine algae and cyanobacteria. These life forms are especially rich in cytotoxic natural products, especially those that interfere with tubulin or actin polymerization, as well as many other antiproliferative agents that work by new and unknown mechanisms.
Gerwick's anticancer drug discovery program, funded by three NCI grants, utilizes both mechanism blind (solid tumor selective cytotoxins) as well as mechanism-based strategies (epigenetic targets, collaboratively with Novartis). Structures of new anticancer leads are determined by a combination of spectroscopic methods, and simple analog structures isolated or created by semi-synthesis which gives insights into structure-activity relationships in these new drug classes. Several lead compounds from his laboratory need more detailed pharmacological and mechanism of action pursuit, and his participation in the Cancer Center fosters collaborative interactions along these lines.