Nature Index Profile: Michael Sporn: A Legacy of Greater Knowledge

(Photo courtesy of Oliver Parini & Macmillan Publishers Ltd.)

(Photo courtesy of Oliver Parini & Macmillan Publishers Ltd.)

Michael Sporn, MD, emeritus professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and medicine, is featured in Nature Index 2017 for his tremendous impact upon biomedical research and drug development. Prior to joining Dartmouth in 1995, Sporn had a long and prolific career as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health and his papers are among the most highly cited in pharmaceutical patents. The article notes that “more than half of the 400-plus papers Sporn published between 1959 and 2006 have been cited by at least one patent and his entire body of work has been referenced thousands of times in patent literature.” According to the article, his most cited work was a 1988 paper on the obviousness of mutations, which had been cited in 1,994 U.S. patents as of 2014. You can read the full article here.

Sporn’s research interests have been in fields of nucleic acid research, studies of the chemistry and biology of rentinoids, and studies of peptide growth factors. However, he may be best known as “the father of chemoprevention,” which is the idea that cancer can be chemically stopped or reversed in the earliest preinvasive stages. As part of that research, Sporn developed a successful partnership with Dartmouth chemistry professor Gordon Gribble, PhD. Together, they and colleagues synthesized several hundred new synthetic triterpenoids, which have shown promise in shrinking existing tumors but also preventing them.

You can read more about Michael Sporn and his research in these articles from Dartmouth Medicine magazine:



Derik Hertel is the Director of Communications & Marketing at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Contact

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