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University of Colorado Denver

​​​​​​​​​ ​

David Ross, PhD

Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor of Toxicology

Mailing address:

University of Colorado
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mail Stop C238
12850 E. Montview Blvd. V20-2132A
Aurora, CO 80045

Office Location:

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (V20)
Second Floor
Room 2132A

Lab Location:

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (V20)
Second Floor
Room 2470A/D



  • Member, University of Colorado Cancer Center

Training and Education:

  • BSc, University of Aston in Birmingham, England (Pharmacy, Honors)
  • PhD, University of Aston in Birmingham, England (Pharmaceutical Chemistry)
  • MRPS, Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society 1979- ; DABT, Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology, 1993

Research Interests:

Quinones, quinone reductases (NQO1 and 2), selective toxicity of antitumor agents, drug development, targeting of antitumor agents, pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics.
My laboratory is focused on understanding mechanisms underlying the toxicity of quinones. We then apply that knowledge to a number of different projects in antitumor drug development, environmental toxicology and neurodegeneration. Current projects include:

  1. Targeting the elevated levels of  NQO1 in human tumors for the development of quinone based alkylating agents and Hsp90 inhibitors.
  2. Utilizing the unique biochemistry of pancreatic tumors to develop novel quinone based therapies.  
  3. Understanding the contribution of dopamine derived quinones to proteasomal inhibition and protein aggregation in Parkinson’s disease.
  4. Defining the role of benzene derived quinones and NQO1 polymorphisms in benzene induced leukemia.


  • Professional/Graduate Program: toxicology, drug metabolism, pharmacogenetics, molecular targets in cancer

Some Recent Publications:

  • Siegel, D., Sheih, B., Yan, C., Kepa, J.K., and Ross D. Role for NQO1 and MnSOD in 17AAG-Induced Hsp90 inhibition in Pancreatic Cancer Cells. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 336:874-880, 2011.
  • Reigan, P., Siegel, D., Guo, W. and Ross, D. A mechanistic and structural analysis of the inhibition of the 90-kDa heat shock protein by the benzoquinone and hydroquinone ansamycins. Mol Pharmacol. 79:823-832, 2011.
  • Dufour, M., Yan, C., Siegel, D., Colucci, M.A., Jenner, M., Oldham, N.J., Gomez, J., Reigan, P., Li, Y., De Matteis,.C.I., Ross, D. and Moody, C.J. Mechanism-based inhibition of quinone reductase 2 (NQO2): selectivity for NQO2 over NQO1 and structural basis for flavoprotein inhibition. Chembiochem. 12:1203-1208, 2011.
  • Yan, C., Dufour, M., Siegel, D., Reigan, P., Gomez, J., Shieh, B., Moody, C.J. and Ross, D. Indolequinone inhibitors of NRH:quinone oxidoreductase 2. Characterization of the mechanism of inhibition in both cell-free and cellular systems. Biochemistry 50:6678-6688, 2011.
  • Yan, C., Siegel, D., Newsome, J., Chilloux, A., Moody, C.J. and Ross, D. Antitumor indolequinones induced apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells via inhibition of thioredoxin reductase and activation of redox signaling. Mol Pharmacol. 81:401-410, 2012.
  • Siegel, D., Kepa, J. K., Ross D. NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) localizes
    to the mitotic spindle in human cells. PLoS One. 7:e44861, 2012.
  • Kitson, R.R., Chang, C.H., Xiong, R., Williams, H.E., Davis, A.L., Lewis, W., Dehn, D.L., Siegel, D., Roe, S.M., Prodromou, C., Ross, D., Moody, C.J. Synthesis of 19-substituted geldanamycins with altered conformations and their binding to heat shock protein Hsp90. Nat Chem. 5:307-314, 2013.
  • Pasceri, R., Siegel, D., Ross, D., Moody, C. J. Aminophenoxazinones as Inhibitors of
    Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase (IDO). Synthesis of Exfoliazone and Chandrananimycin J Med Chem. 56:3310-3317, 2013.
  • Xiong, R., Siegel, D. and Ross, D. The activation sequence of cellular protein handling systems after proteasomal inhibition in dopaminergic cells. Chem Biol Interact. 204:116-124, 2013.
  • Carvalho, C., Siegel, D., Inman, M., Xiong, R., Ross, D. and Moody, C.J. Benzofuranquinones as inhibitors of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). Synthesis and biological evaluation. Org. Biomol. Chem. 12:2663-2674, 2014.
  • Inman, M., Visconti, A., Yan, C., Siegel, D., Ross, D. and Moody, C.J. Antitumour indolequinones: synthesis and activity against human pancreatic cancer cells. Org. Biomol. Chem. 12:4848-4861, 2014.

Recent Reviews:

  • Ross, D. NQO1 Genecard. Atlas Genet. Cytogenet. Oncol. Haematol.,  Jan 2002,  update, 2004
  • Ross D. and Siegel D. NAD(PH:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1, DT-diaphorase). Functions and pharmacogenetics. In Methods in Enzymology, Qunones and Quinone Enzymes Part B,  382, 115-143, 2004.
  • Ross D. Quinone reductases. Multitasking in the metabolic world. Drug Metabolism Reviews 36 639-654, 2004.
  • Ross, D. Functions and distribution of NQO1 in human bone marrow: Potential clues to benzene toxicity. Chem. Biol. Interact.  153/4, 137-146, 2005
  • Vasiliou, V., Ross, D. and Nebert, D.W. Update of the NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase (NQO) gene family. Human Genomics,  2  (5), 1-7, 2006.