Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Internationally Known Scientist to Earn Honorary Degree

John Kopchick ’72, M’75, an internationally recognized leader in the growth hormone field, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science degree and serve as keynote speaker at May's university commencement ceremony.

Since 1987, Kopchick has held the Milton and Lawrence H. Goll Eminent Scholar Professorship in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He directs the Growth/Obesity/Diabetes Section of the Edison Biotechnology Institute at Ohio University and is a professor in the Biomedical Sciences department in the university’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In 1989, Kopchick and his group were the first to discover and characterize the molecular aspects of growth hormone antagonists, an accomplishment for which he and Ohio University were awarded several U.S. and European patents.  He was instrumental in founding a company, Sensus, which applied his laboratory discovery to development of a drug that has been evaluated in clinical trials for acromegaly, a chronic disease caused by excessive secretion of growth hormone by a pituitary adenoma. The drug, Somavert, has been approved for use in the U.S. and in Europe and is being marketed by Pfizer.  Somavert also is expected to be useful in treating diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy as well as breast and other types of cancer.

Kopchick has been involved in the start-up of two additional biotechnology companies.  The latest, DiAthegen, focuses on the discovery of diagnostics, therapeutics, and therapeutic targets in the obesity and diabetes field.

A Punxsutawney native, Kopchick earned both his bachelor’s degree in Biology and master’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from IUP. In 1975, he enrolled in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas System Cancer Center, where he earned his Ph.D.

After completing his Ph.D., Kopchick continued research training as a postdoctoral fellow at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology and then spent almost five years at Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories, for which he developed a system built around cloning and expression of growth hormone genes.

Kopchick has published hundreds of scientific articles and abstracts in the area of growth, obesity, and diabetes. Twelve patents have been granted based on his work with several more pending. He has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Endocrinology, and Molecular Endocrinology, and currently serves on the editorial board of GH and IGF-1 Research and Endocrinology.  He is also a member of the Growth Hormone Research Society Council.

  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.