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David McCormick

David McCormick, Ph.D.

IITRI Professor of Biology
President and Director, IIT Research Institute








Ph.D., New York University
M.S., New York University
A.B., Middlebury College
Diplomate, American Board of Toxicology

Research & Accomplishments 

My research program is focused on the preclinical development of drugs, natural products, and hormonal manipulations for the prevention and therapy of cancer. Studies are conducted in animal models for cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, oral cavity, skin, urinary bladder, and hematopoietic system, as well as in preclinical models for drug safety assessment.  Research in areas other than cancer prevention and therapy includes studies to evaluate the possible health effects of non-ionizing radiation (radiofrequency [cell phone] and 60 Hz [power frequency] magnetic fields), preclinical safety assessments of novel therapeutics, and studies in the general area of environmental toxicology.


Preclinical and environmental toxicology, preclinical development of drugs for cancer prevention and therapy, cancer chemoprevention, carcinogenesis, biological effects of non-ionizing radiation (magnetic fields)


McCormick has served (or is currently serving) as Principal Investigator on more than 50 research programs funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and other federal agencies. The following are active projects.

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, UH3HL123816-03, Preclinical Development of Myosolvins, a New Class of Medicine for Asthma, 2014-2019. Multi-Institution, Multi-P.I. Grant (J. Solway [U. of Chicago] and D. McCormick [IITRI], co-PIs). IITRI funding, $3,719,017.
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, UH3HL123610-03, Therapeutic Targeting of Carotid Body Chemoreflex for Sleep Disordered Breathing, 2014-2019. Multi-Institution, Multi-P.I. Grant (N. Prabhakar [U. of Chicago], D. McCormick [IITRI], G. Thatcher [U. of Illinois at Chicago], P. Petukhov [U. of Illinois at Chicago], co-PIs). IITRI funding, $3,290,044.
  • National Cancer Institute, HHSN261201600015I, Preclinical Toxicology of Drugs Developed for Cancer Patients, 2016-2021.  ID/IQ, current awarded value = $615,019.
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (National Toxicology Program), N01-ES-55544, Studies to Evaluate the Toxic and Carcinogenic Potential of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation, 2005-2017, $29,300,478.
  • National Cancer Institute, HHSN2612015000421, Preclinical PREVENT Cancer Program: Preclinical Efficacy and Intermediate Biomarkers, 2015-2018.  ID/IQ, current awarded value = $603,103.
  • National Cancer Institute, HHSN2612015000241, Preclinical PREVENT Cancer Program:  Toxicology and Pharmacology Testing, 2015-2018.  ID/IQ, current awarded value = $1,991,978.


  • United States Public Health Service Predoctoral Fellowship in Environmental Health Sciences, New York University, 1974 to 1976
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Cancer Institute, New Investigator Research Award, 1982 to 1985
  • IIT Research Institute Presidential Award for Science and Technology, 2000
  • American College of Toxicology President’s Award, for “Best Paper Published in the International Journal of Toxicology” (shared with co-author, Dr. Robert Kavet), 2004


Approximately 300 research papers, reviews, and abstracts in the fields of carcinogenesis and cancer chemoprevention, preclinical drug development, and the biological effects of exposure to magnetic fields.

Selected Publications:

  1. Complementary roles of gasotransmitters CO and H2S in sleep apnea. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (U.S.A), DOI:  10.1073/pnas.1620717114, 2017.  Y.-J. Peng, X. Zhang, A. Gridina. I. Chupikova, D.L. McCormick, T.E. Scammell, G. Kim, C. Vasavda. J. Nanduri, G.K. Kumar, S.H. Snyder, and N. R. Prabhakar.   
  2. 5MeCDDO blocks metabolic activation but not progression of breast, intestine, and tongue cancers:  Is antioxidant response element a prevention target?  Cancer Prev. Res., 9, 616-623, 2016.  R.A. Lubet, R.R. Townsend, M. Clapper, M.M. Juliana, V.E. Steele, D.L. McCormick, and C.J. Grubbs.
  3. Preclinical evaluation of carcinogenicity using standard-bred and genetically engineered rodent models.  In:  A Comprehensive Guide to Toxicology in Preclinical Drug Development, 2nd Edition.  A.S., Faqi (Ed.), Elsevier, 2016, pp. 273-292.  D.L. McCormick.
  4. Overexpression of lipocalins and pro-inflammatory chemokines and altered methylation of PTGS2 and APC2 in oral squamous cell carcinomas induced in rats by 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide. PLoSOne, 10: e0116285. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116285, 2015. X. Peng, W. Li, W.D. Johnson, K.E.O. Torres, and D.L. McCormick. 
  5. Differential roles of ERα and ERβ in normal and neoplastic development in the mouse mammary gland. PLoSOne, 9: e113175, 2014. R.G. Mehta, M. Hawthorne, R.R. Mehta, K.E.O. Torres, X. Peng, D. L. McCormick, and L. Kopelovich.
  6. Inhibition of proliferation and induction of autophagy by atorvastatin in PC3 prostate cancer cells correlate with downregulation of Bcl2 and upregulation of miR-182 and p21. PLoSOne, 8: e70442. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070442, 2013. X. Peng, W. Li, L. Yuan, R.G. Mehta, L. Kopelovich, and D.L. McCormick.
  7. Subchronic oral toxicity and cardiovascular safety pharmacology studies of resveratrol, a naturally occurring polyphenol with cancer preventive activity. Food Chem. Toxicol., 49, 3319-3327, 2011. W.D. Johnson, R.L. Morrissey, A.L. Usborne, I. Kapetanovic, J.A. Crowell, M. Muzzio, and D.L. McCormick.
  8. Subchronic oral toxicity and metabolite profiling of the p53 stabilizing agent, CP-31398, in rats and dogs. Toxicology, 289, 141-150, 2011. W.D. Johnson, M. Muzzio, C.J. Detrisac, I.M. Kapetanovic, L. Kopelovich, and D.L. McCormick.
  9. Null activity of selenium and vitamin E as cancer chemopreventive agents in the rat prostate. Cancer Prevention Res. 3, 381-392, 2010. D. L. McCormick, K.V.N. Rao, W. D. Johnson, M. C. Bosland, R. A. Lubet, and V. E. Steele. 
  10. Overexpression of COX-2 in rat oral cancers and prevention of oral carcinogenesis in rats by selective and non-selective COX Inhibitors. Cancer Prevention Res., 3, 73-81, 2010. D. L. McCormick, J. M. Phillips, T. L. Horn, W. D. Johnson, V. E. Steele, and R. A. Lubet.
  11. Integration of in vivo and in vitro approaches to characterize the toxicity of Antalarmin, a corticotrophin-releasing hormone receptor agonist. Toxicology, 248, 8-17, 2008. T. L. Horn, J. B. Harder, W. D. Johnson, P. T. Curry, R. E. Parchment, R. L. Morrissey, P. W. Mellick, K. A. Calis, P. W. Gold, K. C. Rice, C. Contoreggi, D. S. Charney, G. Cizza, E. R. Glaze, J. E. Tomaszewski, and D. L. McCormick. 
  12. Chemoprevention of rat prostate carcinogenesis by 16-alpha-fluoro-5-androsten-17-one (fluasterone), a minimally androgenic analog of dehydroepiandrosterone. Carcinogenesis, 28, 398-403, 2007. D. L. McCormick, W. D. Johnson, N. M. Kozub, K. V. N. Rao, R. A. Lubet, V. E. Steele, and M. C .Bosland.
  13. Animal models for the study of childhood leukemia: considerations for model identification and optimization to identify potential risk factors. Int. J. Toxicol., 23, 149-161, 2004. D. L. McCormick and R. Kavet. (Winner of the American College of Toxicology President's Award for best paper of 2004).

Editorial Boards 

  • Toxicology, Editorial Board
  • Nutrition and Cancer, Editorial Board
  • Public Library of Science One (PLoSOne), Section Editor

Professional Societies 

  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Society of Toxicology
  • Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine