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Donald J. Messner, PhD
- Research Associate Professor, Department of Basic Sciences and the Bastyr University Research Institute
- Visiting Scientist, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason Hospital & Medical Center
- Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from University of California, Davis in 1978
- Ph.D. in pharmacology from University of Washington School of Medicine in 1986
- Postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1989
Prior to joining Bastyr, Dr. Messner held academic positions at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and Purdue University. He served as principal or co-investigator on research grants from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the National Cancer Institute, the Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Cancer Fund and the American Heart Association. He has co-authored a number of primary research articles, reviews and book chapters.
As a core Research Faculty member, Dr. Messner conducts basic and translational laboratory research directed at improving human health. His work to develop botanical therapies for liver disease is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He teaches in the basic science curriculum and actively supports student research. His goal as a teacher is to help students develop a solid scientific base on which to build their life’s work.
Dr. Messner investigates causes of liver disease and corrective actions of plant-derived natural products. One project focuses on the use of curcumin and turmeric for prevention of liver cancer associated with iron overload. A second seeks novel therapies for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a major problem in type 2 diabetes. These studies utilize a variety of techniques from molecular and cellular biology, protein biochemistry, analytical chemistry and pharmacology. Collaborators at the Benaroya Research Institute and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center have added capabilities in genomics and proteomics. Dr. Messner offers practical laboratory research training to interested students. He also welcomes more advanced scientists seeking to study disease prevention with botanicals.