Focus on Mentoring

Dr. Papaconstantinou_adjJohn Papaconstantinou, PhD
November 2020

Dr. John Papaconstantinou received his PhD in biochemistry at Johns Hopkins University and continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Baltimore, Maryland. Following teaching appointments at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Georgia, he was recruited to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in 1979. Dr. Papaconstantinou is currently a tenured professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is the Bertha and Robert Bucksch Distinguished Research Professor of Aging.

Dr. Papaconstantinou’s research program has focused on the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in promoting aging and, more recently, on the specific role of p38αMAPK signaling in the regulation and progression of aging. His research has received funding from the National Institute on Aging, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, and the UTMB Sealy Center on Aging, among others. His work has been published in more than 175 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and has earned him multiple patents. Dr. Papaconstantinou has been as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals such as Science, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and the Journal of Gerontology, and a grant reviewer for organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the International Human Frontier Science Program. He has served on a variety of institutional, national, and international committees, such as the UTMB Proteomics Task Force, UTMB Faculty Senate, STRIDE Local Patients and Stakeholders Council, and the Molecular Biology Advisory Committee at the Greek Atomic Energy Center in Athens, Greece.

Throughout his tenure at UTMB, Dr. Papaconstantinou has demonstrated a strong commitment to the teaching of graduate and medical students, postdoctoral fellows, and mentoring of junior faculty. Dr. Papaconstantinou, known affectionately by his students as "Dr. Papa", has served as a lecturer and small group facilitator in at least twenty different courses at UTMB. He has served as the primary mentor for over 50 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting professors, and junior faculty. His trainees have been highly successful in their careers, and several are current or previous faculty at UTMB. Students frequently comment on his sincere enthusiasm for teaching and his clear passion for science and research. In addition to classroom instruction, Dr. Papaconstantinou has supported UTMB’s educational mission through service on multiple educational committees, including program curriculum committees, qualifying exam committees, and education planning committees. His excellence in teaching has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Mary and J. Palmer Saunders Professorship for Excellence in Teaching, the Department of Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics Educator Award, and election to the UT Academy of Health Science Education. For his longtime dedication to education, please join the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in celebrating Dr. Papaconstantinou as the November 2020 GSBS Focus on Mentoring designee.

Mentors: Past Highlights