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University of Colorado Denver


David Ross, PhD

Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor of Toxicology

Photo of David Ross

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:

  • NAD(P)H:Quinone Oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) in the Sensitivity and Resistance to Antitumor Quinones. Siegel, D., Yan, C. and Ross, D. Biochem. Pharmacol. 83, 1033-1040, 2012.
  • Yan C , , Siegel D,  Newsome, J., Chilloux, A., Moody CJ,  Ross D. Antitumor indolequinones induced apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells via inhibition of thioredoxin reductase and activation of redox signaling. Mol. Pharmacol, 81, 401-10, 2012.
  • Siegel D, Kepa JK, Ross D.  NAD(P)H:Quinone Oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) Localizes to the Mitotic Spindle in Human Cells. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44861. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044861
  • Xiong, R., Siegel, D. and Ross, D. The activation sequence of cell protein handling suystems after proteasomal inhibition in dopaminergic cells. Chem. Biol. Interact. 204, 116-124, 2013.
  • Synthesis of 19-substituted geldanamycins with altered conformations and their binding to heat shock protein Hsp90. R. R. A. Kitson, C.-H. Chang, R. Xiong, H. E. L. Williams, A. L. Davis, W. Lewis, D. L. Dehn, D. Siegel, S. M. Roe, C. Prodromou, D. Ross and C. J. Moody,  Nature Chemistry 5, 307-314,  2013.
  • 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.
  • 19-substituted benzoquinone ansamycin heat shock protein-90 inhibitors: biological activity and decreased off-target toxicity. Chang C.H., Drechsel D.A., Kitson R.R., Siegel D., You Q., Backos D.S., Ju C., Moody C.J. and Ross D. Mol Pharmacol. 85, 849-57, 2014.
  • Quinone-induced protein handling changes: Implications for major protein handling systems in quinone-mediated toxicity. Xiong R, Siegel D, Ross D. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014 Aug 22;280(2):285-295. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2014.
  • Discovery and characterization of small molecules that target the GTPase Ral. Yan C, Liu D, Li L, Wempe MF, Guin S, Khanna M, Meier J, Hoffman B, Owens C, Wysoczynski CL, Nitz MD, Knabe WE, Ahmed M, Brautigan DL, Paschal BM, Schwartz MA, Jones DN, Ross D, Meroueh SO, Theodorescu D.  Nature 515(7527):443-7, 2014.
  • The bone marrow niche, stem cells, and leukemia: impact of drugs, chemicals, and the environment. Greim H., Kaden D.A.,, Larson R.A. , Palermo C.M., . Rice, J.M., Ross D. and Snyder, R.  Annals New York Acad Sci, 1310, 7-31, 2014.