Michael Ihnat, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Phone (405) 271-6593 x47965

Office CPB 319

Email michael-ihnat@ouhsc.edu


A main focus of the Ihnat laboratory research is on micrometastatic tumor ‘dormancy,’ the period from when micrometastatic cancer cells sit down in the secondary organ/site to the time in which they reactivate. We also have studied the environmental toxicology of metals, arsenic and chromium in particular, for many years and we have recently developed a collaborative project looking at the nephrotoxicity of water-soluble components of lignite coal in drinking water.


Tumor dormancy. Projects in this area include determining the role of aspects of the immune system in dormancy/reactivation, identifying drugs to target dormant cells and modeling aspects of dormancy/reactivation in culture and in animals. We collaborate with many folks including Drs. Randle Gallucci and Lucila Garcia-Contreras in the OU College of Pharmacy; Dr. Jeff Eckert in the Department of Pediatrics/Neonatology; Dr. Aleem Gangjee at Duquesne University; Dr. Pui-Kai Li at The Ohio State; and Drs. David Warshawsky, Robert Hurst and others at Vuja De Sciences, a company devoted to studying tumor dormancy.

Lignite coal nephrotoxicity. We have been working with two geologists, Dr. R. Paul Philp at The University of Oklahoma in Norman, and Dr. Ann Ojeda at Auburn University to examine the nephrotoxic components of a low-rank coal called lignite, found in the gulf region of the US and the Balkan areas of europe. These components can leach into drinking water, particularly in private wells, and we have shown that lignite extracts are toxic to kidney cells in culture. Ongoing studies are examining the nephrotoxicity of these extracts in the drinking water in animals and determining which specific components of the extracts are nephrotoxic.

Publications & Presentations

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    11. Xia D, Lai D V, Wu W, Webb Z D, Yang Q, Zhao L, Yu Z, Thorpe J E, Disch B C, Ihnat M, Jayaraman M, Dhanasekaran D N, Stratton K L, Cookson M S, Fung K M, Lin H K. Transition from androgenic to neurosteroidal action of 5α-androstane-3α, 17β-diol through the type A γ-aminobutyric acid receptor in prostate cancer progression. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology. 2018; 178 : 89-98

    12. Zaware N, Kisliuk R, Bastian A, Ihnat M, Gangjee A. Synthesis and evaluation of 5-(arylthio)-9H-pyrimido [4,5-b] indole-2, 4-diamines as receptor tyrosine kinase and thymidylate synthase inhibitors and as antitumor agents. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2017; 27 : 1602-1607

    13. Luckett-Chastain L R, Smith M L, Mickle B M, Ihnat M, Gallucci R. Interleukin (IL)-6 modulates transforming growth factor -β receptor II (TGF-βRII) function in epidermal keratinocytes. Experimental Dermatology. 2017; 26 : 697-704

    14. Eckert J, Scott B, Lawrence S M, Ihnat M, Chaaban H. FLLL32, a curcumin analog, ameliorates intestinal injury in necrotizing enterocolitis. Journal of inflammation research. 2017; 10 : 75-81

    15. Ziegler J, Bastian A, Lerner M, Bailey-Downs L, Saunders D, Smith N, Sutton J, Battiste J D, Ihnat M, Gangjee A, Towner R A. AG488 as a therapy against gliomas. Oncotarget. 2017; 8 : 71833-71844

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    1. A Novel Small Molecule for The Prevention and Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy. HHS. Start Date: 2022. End Date: 2024.

    2. Development of a Novel Class of LDH inhibitors for pancreatic cancer. HHS. Start Date: 2022. End Date: 2024.

    3. Experimental and computational studies to identify optimal conditions for immune-cytotoxic combination therapy. State Agency. Start Date: 2022. End Date: 2022.

    4. Development of Small Molecules Targeting Cancer Metabolism. NIH. Start Date: 2019. End Date: 2022.

    5. Nephrotoxic mechanisms of low-rank coal (lignite) leachates in drinking wate. NIH. Start Date: 2020. End Date: 2022.

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Awards and Honors

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