Michael Duffel, professor of medicinal and natural products chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and faculty member in human toxicology, studies the biochemistry of enzymes important in the detoxification of drugs and environmental chemicals.
Much of Duffel’s research focuses on enzymes called sulfotransferases that are involved both in drug metabolism and chemical carcinogenesis. Duffel’s work has helped provide a better understanding of the role of metabolism in a carcinogenic side effect that is seen in some patients treated with the drug Tamoxifen, which blocks the actions of estrogen and is used to treat and prevent some types of breast cancer. His studies on the same enzymes also are yielding new information about human metabolism of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a group of environmental pollutants with varied serious health effects.
“The research and learning environment at The University of Iowa is unique in its exceptionally strong collegiality and eagerness of faculty, students, and staff to cooperate across traditional boundaries of departments and colleges,” Duffel said.
Duffel was one of six University of Iowa faculty members to win the 2010 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. Given by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the award honors faculty members for work representing a significant contribution to excellence in public education. Each honoree received $1,000.