The SOT Achievement Award recognizes an SOT member who has made significant contributions to toxicology within 15 years of obtaining their highest earned degree.
John Daniel Clarke, PhD, has received the 2023 SOT Achievement Award in recognition of his research in precision medicine and environmental toxicology.
Dr. Clarke received his PhD in molecular and cellular biology from Oregon State University in 2011 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arizona. While in Arizona, he served as a member of the university’s Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center. Since 2016, Dr. Clarke has been associated with Washington State University, first holding the position of Assistant Professor and currently Associate Professor within the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has been an Affiliate of the University of Washington Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics, and Environment since 2017.
Dr. Clarke’s novel hypotheses have expanded prior understanding of (1) altered pharmacokinetics in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis, (2) interactions of natural products and liver disease, and (3) pathogenesis of liver cancer due to harmful algal bloom toxins. At the center of these research areas is the critical role of xenobiotic transporters. Dr. Clarke has demonstrated the effect of disease on the pharmacokinetics of hyperlipidemic drugs, including simvastatin, pravastatin, and the antidiabetic drug metformin. By using nutritional, disease, and transgenic animal models, he has untangled various interactions that provide key foundational knowledge in extrapolating to human liver disease and pharmacologic outcomes. Where possible, Dr. Clarke has extended his work to human research, including his investigation of impaired N-linked glycosylation of transporters and dysregulation of carcinoma-related gene networks in diseased human livers. These pivotal studies demonstrate his high commitment to translational toxicology research.
Central to Dr. Clarke’s productivity has been the attainment of significant extramural funding. After arriving at Washington State University with a National Institutes of Health (NIH) K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, he continued to investigate mechanisms of microcystin toxicity and its promotion of hepatocellular carcinoma. As a result, he was recognized as a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Outstanding New Environmental Scientist. In 2020, he was awarded an NIH R21 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) to explore transporter mechanisms of natural product–drug interactions as well as an NIH R56 grant from NCCIH to investigate xenobiotic-drug interactions in chronic disease. Within the NCCIH U54 Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug Interaction Research, Dr. Clarke serves as Co-investigator for the Pharmacology and Analytical Cores.
This productivity is complemented by Dr. Clarke’s equally strong publication record in highly regarded journals, including Chemosphere, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Phytotherapy Research. His research publications have an h-index of 17 on Scopus, and there are 10 papers with more than 40 citations. Dr. Clarke’s review article from 2008 on the anticancer properties of sulforaphane has well over 400 citations.
Dr. Clarke’s extensive teaching and mentoring experience show that he is committed to the education of the next generation of scientists across the spectrum. He participates as an instructor in three courses offered by the department—all aligned with his expertise in pharmacology and toxicology. Thus far, Dr. Clarke has been an advisor to more than three dozen students, ranging from undergraduates and interns to doctoral and postdoctoral candidates.
An SOT member since 2012, Dr. Clarke has actively served in a variety of roles, especially within the SOT Mechanisms Specialty Section. He is currently Vice President in the SOT Pacific Northwest Regional Chapter. He also holds memberships in the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics. Also of note, Dr. Clarke has been highly engaged in academic service at Washington State University, serving on more than 12 university steering, recruiting, and advisory committees since 2017.
To view all the 2023 Award recipients, visit the SOT website or read the SOT Awards Program PDF.