Peter W. Jurutka, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Mathematical & Natural Sciences, Arizona State University

Associate Professor, Basic Medical Sciences, University of Arizona, College of Medicine-Phoenix

E-Mail Address: 
Phone Number: 
(602) 543-6087
(602) 543-6073
Short Bio: 

Dr. Jurutka received his B.S. from the University of Nevada, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, both with honors. His graduate work was immediately followed by postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, where he also taught first year medical students for over ten years. In 2004 he joined the faculty at Arizona State University and in 2006 he became a founding faculty member at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix in a joint appointment. Dr. Jurutka is an active member of several scientific research societies and he has also received a number of honors, including the Norwich-Eaton Young Investigator Research Award for significant contribution to the field of bone and mineral research, the John Haddad Young Investigator Award, as well as teaching awards bestowed by the medical students that he helped train, and the 2011 Arizona State University Faculty Achievement Award.  He has also mentored over 100 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students who have gone on to successful and productive careers in research and medicine.

Research Information
Research Program: 
4. Cancer Prevention and Control
Member Status: 
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
Arizona State University
Summary of Research Activity: 

The research in our laboratory applies modern molecular medicine approaches to the study of the fundamental mechanism of action of steroid hormones, with particular emphasis on vitamin D and its role in the potential chemoprevention of certain epithelial cancers. This vitamin, which is actually a hormone, functions by associating with the vitamin D receptor (VDR). The receptor, in turn, mediates the effects of vitamin D in various target organs such as the intestine, kidney, bone, immune cells, neural tissues, etc. by controlling the expression of certain genes. The genes that are regulated by vitamin D participate in kidney/intestinal calcium and phosphate transport, calcium homeostasis, bone/skeletal remodeling and cellular anti-proliferation/pro-differentiation.

Together with our long-time collaborator, Dr. Beth Jacobs at the Arizona Cancer Center, we have also described in published work that vitamin D may play a vital role in cellular detoxification and cancer prevention, especially in cancers of the colon. In addition, vitamin D is thought to be a potent antiproliferative/cell differentiation agent in myeloid leukemia, mammary carcinoma, as well as in skin and prostate cancer cells. Thus, while the traditional role of vitamin D is to promote a strong and healthy skeleton, there is an increasing appreciation that vitamin D is an important chemopreventive nutrient.  Our lab, in collaboration with UA Regents' Professor Dr. Mark Haussler and his laboratory, has also discovered that the vitamin D receptor can bind to other molecules besides vitamin D, including bile acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids (also known as essential or "good" fats) such as the omega-3 lipids found in fish oils, as well as curcumin, the active polyphenol found in turmeric, an ingredient in curry powder. We are evaluating the biological properties of these bioactive lipids and their relationship to the prevention of diseases such as colon cancer and osteoporosis.  We have also found that other "nutraceuticals" such as resveratrol functionally synergize with vitamin D to exert beneficial health effects.

Finally, we are also studying the gene for the vitamin D receptor. This gene comes in at least two different "varieties" or polymorphisms in the human population, and these two different forms of the receptor possess subtle differences in their biological properties which may predispose certain individuals to colon or prostate cancer or post-menopausal osteoporosis. We are continuing to study these alternate forms of the receptor to elucidate if additional diseases may be influenced by these polymorphisms.


Selected Publications: 
  1. Jurutka, P.W. , Remus, L.S., Whitfield, G.K., Thompson, P.D., Hsieh, J.-C., Zitzer, H., Tavakkoli, P., Galligan, M.A., Dang, H.T., Haussler, C.A. and Haussler, M.R. (2000) The polymorphic N terminus in human vitamin D receptor isoforms influences transcriptional activity by modulating interaction with transcription factor IIB. Mol. Endocrinol. 14: 401-420.
  2. Jurutka, P.W. , Whitfield, G.K., Hsieh, J.-C., Thompson, P.D., Haussler, C.A. and Haussler, M.R. (2001) Molecular nature of the vitamin D receptor and its role in regulation of gene expression. Rev. Endocrinol. Metabol. Disord. 2: 203-216.
  3. Jurutka, P.W. , MacDonald, P.N., Nakajima, S., Hsieh, J.-C., Thompson, P.D., Whitfield, G.K., Galligan, M.A., Haussler, C.A. and Haussler, M.R. (2002) Isolation of baculovirus-expressed human vitamin D receptor: DNA responsive element interactions and phosphorylation of the purified receptor. J. Cell. Biochem. 85: 435-457.
  4. Hsieh, J.-C., Sisk, J.M., Jurutka P.W. , Haussler, C.A., Slater, S.A., Haussler, M.R. and Thompson, C.C. (2003) Physical and functional interaction between the vitamin D receptor and hairless Corepressor, two proteins required for hair cycling. J. Biol. Chem. 278: 38665-38674.
  5. Whitfield, G.K., Jurutka, P.W. , Haussler, C.A., Hsieh, J.-C., Barthel, T.K., Jacobs, E.T., Thompson, P.D., Haussler, C.A., Dominguez, C.E., Thatcher, M.L. and Haussler, M.R. (2005) The nuclear vitamin D receptor: Structure/function, molecular control of gene transcription, and novel bioactions. In Vitamin D (D. Feldman, J.W. Pike and F. Gloriuex, eds.), 2nd ed., Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 219-261.
  6. Jurutka, P.W. , Thompson, P.D., Whitfield, G.K., Eichhorst, K.R., Hall, N., Encinas Dominguez, C., Hsieh, J.-C., Haussler, C.A. and Haussler, M.R. (2005) Molecular and functional comparison of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and the novel vitamin D receptor ligand, lithocholic acid, in activating transcription of cytochrome P450 3A4. J. Cell. Biochem. 94: 917-943.
  7. Jurutka, P.W., Bartik, L., Whitfield, G.K., Mathern, D.R., Barthel, T.K., Gurevich, M., Hsieh, J-C., Kaczmarska, M., Haussler, C.A. and Haussler, M.R. (2007) Vitamin D receptor: Key roles in bone mineral pathophysiology, molecular mechanism of action and novel nutritional ligands. J. Bone Mineral Res. 22:V2-V10.  
  8. Egan, J.B., Jacobs, E.T., Martinez, M.E., Gerner, E.W., Jurutka, P.W., Thompson, P.A. (2008) Presence of a TA haplotype in the APC gene containing the common 1822 polymorphism and colorectal adenoma. Cancer Res. 68:6006-6013.
  9. Haussler, M.R., Haussler, C.H., Bartik, L., Whitfield, G.K., Hsieh, J-C., Slater, S. and Jurutka, P.W. (2008) Vitamin D receptor: Molecular signaling and actions of nutritional ligands in disease prevention. Nutr. Rev. 66:S98-S112.
  10. Jacobs, E.T., Jurutka, P.W., Martínez, M.E. and Alberts, D.S. (2009) Vitamin D, calcium and colorectal neoplasia: New insights on mechanisms of action. Cancer Prev. Res. 2:197-199.
  11. Egan, J.B., Thompson, P.A., Ashbeck, E.L., Conti, D., Duggan, D., Jurutka, P.W., Leroy, E.C., Martínez, M.E., Mount, D. and Jacobs, E.T. (2010) Genetic polymorphisms in vitamin D receptor VDR/RXRA influence the likelihood of colon adenoma recurrence. Cancer Res. 70:1496-1504.  
  12. Egan, J.B., Thompson, P.A., Vitanov, M.V., Bartik, L., Jacobs, E.T., Haussler, M.R., Gerner, E.W. and Jurutka, P.W. (2010) Vitamin D receptor ligands, APC, and the VDR FokI polymorphism collectively modulate β-catenin activity in colon cancer cells. Mol. Carcinogen.49:337-352.  
  13. Bartik, L., Whitfield, G.K., Kaczmarska, M., Lowmiller, C.L., Moffet, E.W., Furmick, J.K., Hernandez, Z., Haussler, C.A., Haussler, M.R. and Jurutka, P.W. (2010) Curcumin: A novel nutritionally-derived ligand of the vitamin D receptor with implications for colon cancer chemoprevention. J. Nutr. Biochem. 21:1153-1161.  
  14. Jacobs, E.T., Martinez, M.E., Buckmeier, J.A., Lance, P., May, M.R. and Jurutka, P.W.1,2,3 (2011)  Circulating fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) is associated with metachronous colorectal adenoma.  J. Carcinogen. 10:1-6.
  15. Jacobs, E.T., Martínez, M.E. and Jurutka, P.W.  (2011)  Vitamin D:  Marker or mechanism of action?  Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 20:585-590.
  16. Haussler, M.R., Jurutka, P.W., Mizwicki, M. and Norman, A.W.  (2011)  Vitamin D receptor (VDR)-mediated actions of 1α,25(OH)2vitamin D3:  Genomic and non-genomic mechanisms.  Best Pract. Res. Clin. Endoc. Metab. 25:543-559.
  17. Forster, R.E., Jurutka, P.W., Hsieh, J.C., Haussler, C.A., Lowmiller, C.L., Kaneko, I., Haussler, M.R. and Whitfield, G.K. (2011)  Vitamin D receptor controls expression of the anti-aging klotho gene in mouse and human renal cells.  Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 414:557-562.
  18. Hibler, E.A., Hu, C., Jurutka, P.W., Martinez, M.E. and Jacobs, E.T.  (2012)  Polymorphic variation in GC and CaSR and associations with vitamin D metabolite concentration and metachronous colorectal neoplasia.  Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 21:368-375.
  19. Haussler, M.R., Whitfield, G.K., Kaneko, I., Forster, R., Saini, R., Hsieh, J.C., Haussler, C.A. and Jurutka, P.W.  (2012)  The role of vitamin D in the FGF23, klotho, and phosphate bone-kidney endocrine axis.  Rev. Endocr. Metab. Disord. 13:57-69.
  20. Marshall, P.A., Hernandez, Z., Kaneko, I., Widener, T.A., Tabacaru, C., Aguayo, I. and Jurutka, P.W.  (2012)  Discovery of novel vitamin D receptor interacting proteins that modulate 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 signaling.  J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 132:147-159.
  21. Furmick, J.K., Kaneko, I., Walsh, A.N., Yang, J., Bhogal, J.S., Gray, G.M., Baso, J.C., Browder, D.O., Prentice, J.L.S., Montano, L.A., Huynh, C.C., Marcus, L.M., Tsosie, D.G., Kwon, J.S., Quezada, A., Reyes, N.M., Lemming, B., Saini, P. Vaart, A. Groy, T.L., Marshall, P.A., Jurutka, P.W. and Wagner, C.E.  (2012)  Modeling, synthesis and biological evaluation of potential retinoid-X-receptor (RXR) selective agonists:  Novel halogenated analogs of 4-[1-(3,5,5,8,8- pentamethyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-2-naphthyl)ethynyl]benzoic acid (bexarotene).  ChemMedChem 7:1551-156.
  22. Jurutka, P.W., Whitfield, G.K., Forster, R., Batie, S., Lee, J. and Haussler, M.R.  (2012) Vitamin D:  A fountain of youth in gene regulation.  In Vitamin D:  Oxidation, Immunity and Aging (Gombart, A. ed.), Springer, New York, pp. 1-35.
  23. Haussler, M.R., Whitfield, G.K., Kaneko, I., Haussler, C.A., Hsieh, D., Hsieh, J.C. and Jurutka, P.W.  (2013)  Molecular mechanisms of vitamin D action.  Calcif. Tissue Int. 92:77-98.  
  24. Batie, S., Lee, J.H., Jama, R.A., Browder, D.O., Montano, L.A., Huynh, C.C., Marcus, L.M., Tsosie, D.G., Mohammed, Z., Trang, V., Marshall, P.A., Jurutka, P.W. and Wagner, C.E.   (2013)  Synthesis and biological evaluation of halogenated curcumin analogs as potential nuclear receptor selective agonists.  Bioorg. Med. Chem. 21:693-702.  
  25. Saini, R.K., Kaneko, I., Jurutka, P.W., Forster, R.E., Hsieh, A., Hsieh, J.C., Haussler, M.R. and Whitfield, G.K.  (2013)  1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 regulation of Fibroblast Growth Factor- 23 expression in bone cells:  Evidence for primary and secondary mechanisms modulated by leptin and IL-6.  Calcif. Tissue Int. 92:339-353.  
  26. Jacobs, E.T. , Van Pelt, C., Forster, R., Zaidi, W., Hibler, E.A., Galligan, M., Haussler, M.R. and Jurutka, P.W.  (2013)  CYP24A1 and CYP27B1 polymorphisms modulate vitamin D metabolism in colon cancer cells.  Cancer Research 73:2563-2573.  
  27. Jacobs, E.T., Hibler, E.A., Lance, P., Sardo, C.L., Jurutka, P.W.  (2013)  Association between circulating concentrations of 25(OH)D and colorectal adenoma:  A pooled analysis.  Int. J. Cancer 113:2980-2988.  
  28. Hoss, E., Austin, H.R., Jurutka, P.W., Haussler, M.R. and Whitfield, G.K.  (2013)  Control of late cornified envelope genes relevant to psoriasis risk:  Upregulation by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and plant-derived delphinidin.  Arch. Dermatol. Res. 305:867-78.  
  29. Jurutka, P.W., Kaneko, I., Yang, J., Bhogal, J.S., Swierski, J.C., Tabacaru, C.R.,. Montano, L.A., Huynh, C.C, Jama, R.A., Mahelona, R.D., Sarnowski, J.T., Marcus, L.M., Quezada, A., Lemming, B., Tedesco, M.A., Fischer, A.J., Mohamed, S.A., Ziller, J.W., Ma, N., Gray, G.M., van der Vaart, A., Marshall, P.A. and Wagner, C.E.  (2013)  Modeling, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Potential Retinoid 2 X Receptor (RXR) Selective Agonists:  Novel Analogues of 4-[1-(3,5,5,8,8-Pentamethyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-2-naphthyl)ethynyl]benzoic Acid (Bexarotene) and (E)-3-(3-(1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-1,1,4,4,6-pentamethylnaphthalen-7-yl)-4-hydroxyphenyl)acrylic Acid (CD3254).  J. Med. Chem. 56:8432-8454.  
  30. Hsieh, J.C., Estess, R.C., Kaneko, I., Whitfield, G.K., Jurutka, P.W. and Haussler, M.R.  (2014)  Vitamin D receptor-mediated control of Soggy, Wise, and Hairless gene expression in keratinocytes.  J. Endocrinol. 220:165-178.
  31. Austin, H.R., Hoss, E., Batie, S., Moffet, E., Jurutka, P.W., Haussler, M.R. and Whitfield, G.K.  (2014)  Regulation of Late Cornified Envelope Genes Relevant to Psoriasis Risk by Plant-derived Cyanidin.  Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 443:1275-9.
  32. Lee, W.P., Jena, S., Doherty, D., Ventakesh, J., Schmidt, J., Furmick, J., Widener, T., Lemau, J., Jurutka, P.W. and Thompson, P.D.  (2014) Sentrin/SUMO Specific Proteases as Novel Tissue-Selective Co-Activator Proteins that Modulate Signaling by Vitamin D Receptor. PLoS One 9:e89506.
  33. Hibler, E.A., Jacobs, E.T., Dampf-Stone, A., Sardo, C.L., Galligan, M.A. and Jurutka, P.W.  (2014)  Associations between vitamin D binding protein isotypes, circulating 25(OH)D levels, and vitamin D metabolite uptake in colon cancer cells.  Cancer Prev. Res. 7:426-434.  
  34. Hibler, E.A., Sardo-Molmenti, C.L., Lance, P., Jurutka, P.W. and Jacobs, E.T.  (2014)  Associations between circulating 1,25(OH)2D concentration and odds of metachronous colorectal adenoma.  Cancer Causes and Control, 25(7):809-17. 
Professional Information
Professional Affiliations: 

Endocrine Society

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Chemical Society    


2013:  ASU NCIAS Outstanding Research Award

2013:  Outstanding Faculty Mentoring and Research Incentive Award

2012:  Outstanding Faculty Mentoring and Research Incentive Award

2011:  ASU Faculty Achievement Award