John Pierce Wise Sr., Ph.D.
John Pierce Wise Sr., Ph.D.

Obtaining and studying tissue samples from hundreds of whales around the world has been a mission and a passion for John Pierce Wise Sr., PhD, for the past 18 years.

A professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Louisville, Wise is a leading authority on metal-induced cancer development. He studies the mechanisms of cancer and investigates the health impacts of chemicals and toxic metals in the environment, comparing their effects in humans with whales, sea turtles, alligators and other wildlife. Wise has conducted more than two dozen marine research expeditions, including three in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil well. In April, his team collected tissue samples from free-ranging whales in the Sea of Cortez. (Read more about this trip, including a video of his first encounter with a majestic blue whale). 

John P Wise Sr., Ph.D., and research team aboard the Research Vessel Martin Sheen in the Sea of Cortez.
John P Wise Sr., PhD, and research team aboard the Research Vessel Martin Sheen in the Sea of Cortez. The whale in the photo is most likely a fin or humpback whale. Photo courtesy

At this month’s Beer with a Scientist, Wise will share his experiences on the water and explain how his research, funded by the U.S. Army, NIH, NASA, NOAA and other sources, is improving our understanding of the effects of environmental pollutants in marine life and in humans.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15 at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014 and is the brainchild of UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged. Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

Betty Coffman
Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.