Crooks Invested with Simmons Chair in Cancer Research

By Nate Hinkel




April 12, 2012 | Peter A. Crooks, Ph.D., D.Sc., chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS College of Pharmacy, was invested with the Johnny and Madge Simmons Chair in Cancer Research on April 12.

The Chair was established by the will of Madge Henderson Simmons of Hot Springs in 1991.

Crooks joined UAMS in 2011. He was formerly the George A. Digenis Professor in Drug Design and Discovery at the University of Kentucky, where he worked from 1981 to 2011.

He previously studied at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, where he earned bachelor of science, master of science and doctoral degrees. He also previously worked in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University’s Sterling Hall of Medicine.

Crooks has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed research articles and 600 symposia abstracts. He has served as the regional editor of the Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry and editor in chief of the Open Journal of Natural Products.

He has graduated 23 doctoral students and eight master’s students, and has trained 54 postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists in his laboratory.

His work includes drug design and synthesis, pharmacophore development, drug biotransformation studies, prodrug design, and medicinal plant natural product research.

His research also focuses on preclinical drug development. A major emphasis of his laboratory research focuses on drug abuse; the development of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonists as smoking cessation agents; and the development of modulators of the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) as treatments for psychostimulant abuse.

Crooks also has strong research programs in the design and discovery of new opioid and non-opioid analgesics, new anticancer agents, novel radio/thermal sensitization agents, and radioprotection agents. He is author of more than 460 peer-reviewed research articles, 550 symposium abstracts, and has over 100 patents and patent applications in the drug discovery area.

He is the founder or cofounder of six drug discovery companies and has had extensive experience in overseeing the development of drug candidates from the early phases of discovery through the drug developmental process. Several drugs discovered in his laboratory are currently in various phases of clinical development.
Crooks is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and the American Chemical Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

In December 2010, he was presented with a doctor of science degree from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, a lifetime achievement award that recognized his accomplishments in research over the last 30 years. This award highlighted his eminent career and brought honor and recognition to UAMS.