John Kopchick

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John J Kopchick
Dr John J Kopchick.jpg
Born (1950-11-02) November 2, 1950 (age 68)
ResidenceAthens, Ohio
Alma materIndiana University of Pennsylvania
University of Texas, MD Anderson
Known forGrowth Hormone Research
AwardsBritish Society for Endocrinology’s Transatlantic Medal (2011)
Scientific career
InstitutionsOhio University

John Kopchick is a molecular biologist and co-inventor of the drug Somavert (Pegvisomant), which has improved the lives of acromegalic individuals around the world. He is currently the Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and Professor of Molecular Biology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.[1] Dr. Kopchick's groundbreaking work in the field of growth hormone has helped shape the study of endocrinology.

Early life[edit]

John Joseph Kopchick was born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on November 2, 1950 to Peter Kopchick and Kathryn Gabster Kopchick. He spent the first four years of his life in a small coal mining town: Ernest, Pennsylvania. He then moved to Indiana, Pennsylvania with his parents and youngest brother, Bill, where he attended Indiana High School. There, he varsity lettered in baseball, was in the national honor society, and played trumpet in the school band and orchestra. John later attended The Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he met his wife, Charlene Kopchick. They were married on June 26, 1976.

Education and career[edit]

John Kopchick
John Kopchick Endo 2011.jpg
John Kopchick moderating a session at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting, Boston 2011

Dr. Kopchick received his B.S. in biology in 1972 from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). While attending IUP, he was a founding brother of a social fraternity Chi Alpha Sigma, which is now a chapter of Delta Tau Delta. In 1975, he received his M.S. in biology and chemistry from IUP. The title of his M.S. thesis was ‘Catabolism of alpha-amino adipate by Pseudomonas putida p2’.[2] He went on to attend the University of Texas, MD Anderson Hospital, Houston, Texas and received his Ph.D. in 1980. His dissertation described the biosynthesis of Rauscher murine leukemia virus reverse transcriptase. From 1980 to 1982, he continued his research training as a postdoctoral fellow at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, New Jersey. He then accepted a position at the prestigious Merck Institute of Therapeutic Research where he conducted and facilitated research from 1982 to 1986, first as a senior research biochemist and later as a research fellow, and finally as a group leader of Molecular Biology at the Department of Animal Drug Discovery. During that time, he developed a system built around cloning and expression of growth hormone (GH) genes.

In 1987, Dr. Kopchick started as Director of the Growth, Diabetes and Obesity section at the nascent Edison Biotechnology Institute (EBI) of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. During his time at EBI, he discovered and characterized the molecular aspects of GH receptor antagonists. This discovery was further developed into the drug, Somavert[ (Pegvisomant for Injection).[3] It has been approved for use in the USA, Europe, and Japan along with 12 other countries for acromegaly, a chronic disease caused by excessive GH secretion. Another notable accomplishment of the Kopchick laboratory is the generation and characterization of the world’s longest lived laboratory mouse, the growth hormone receptor knockout mouse.[4]

The John J. Kopchick Awards[edit]

In 2014, John and Char Kopchick committed to giving a $2 million donation[5] to support scientific and medical research programs at Ohio University. The donation funds three newly established internal award programs at Ohio University, The John J. Kopchick Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)/Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBS) Faculty Support Fund, Research Fellowship Award and Undergraduate Student Support Fund.[6]

Awards and Fellowships[edit]

  • In 1976-1980, he received the Roselie B. Hite Pre-doctoral Fellowship at Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas, Houston, Texas
  • In 1980-1982, he received the American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, at Roche Institute of Molecular, Biology, Nutley, New Jersey
  • In 1987, Dr. Kopchick was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania
  • In 1987, he received the Milton and Lawrence H. Goll Eminent Scholar Endowed Professorship in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
  • In 2002, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award 2002 by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
  • In 2006, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2006 by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas, Houston, Texas
  • In 2007, he was awarded the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award, the highest award given by the AMVETS for service to the USA
  • In 2007, he received the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Riland Award, an award given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to medical science and education, health policy, public policy
  • In 2008, he received the Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania[7]
  • In 2008, he gave the Commencement Address at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania
  • In 2011, he was awarded the British Society for Endocrinology’s Transatlantic Medal[8]
  • In 2012, he was named the 2012 Distinguished Professor at Ohio University[9]
  • In 2012, the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) announced The John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Endowed Eminent Research Chair (see video announcement here)[10]

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "Faculty Biomedical Sciences: John Kopchick, Ph.D." Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  2. ^ Kopchick, John. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).[self-published source?]
  3. ^ Berryman, DE; Palmer, AJ; Gosney, ES; Swaminathan, S; Desantis, D; Kopchick, JJ (2007). "Discovery and uses of pegvisomant: A growth hormone antagonist". Endokrynologia Polska. 58 (4): 322–9. PMID 18058724.
  4. ^ Zhou, Yihua; Xu, Bixiong C.; Maheshwari, Hiralal G.; He, Li; Reed, Michael; Lozykowski, Maria; Okada, Shigeru; Cataldo, Lori; Coschigamo, Karen; Wagner, Thomas E.; Baumann, Gerhard; Kopchick, John J. (1997). "A mammalian model for Laron syndrome produced by targeted disruption of the mouse growth hormone receptor/binding protein gene (the Laron mouse)". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 94 (24): 13215–20. Bibcode:1997PNAS...9413215Z. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.24.13215. JSTOR 43567. PMC 24289. PMID 9371826.
  5. ^ "With over a year to go, OU passes its $450 million 'Promise' fundraising goal". Athensnews. 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  6. ^ "New Kopchick awards support OHIO scientific and medical research". University Communications and Marketing. 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  7. ^ "OU-COM professor earns honorary degree". Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  8. ^ "Kopchick awarded British Society for Endocrinology's Transatlantic Medal". Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  9. ^ "John Kopchick named 2012 Distinguished Professor". University marketing and communication. 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  10. ^ "Endowed research chair named in honor of John Kopchick, Ph.D." Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2015-05-06.