Stephen Hecht

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Stephen Hecht, Ph.D.

Academic Title

Wallin Land Grant Professor of Cancer Prevention, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (Graduate Faculty in Medicinal Chemistry)


Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Masonic Cancer Center Professor
Graduate Faculty Medicinal Chemistry


Duke University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Other Education
PostDoc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Contact Info




Office Address


Mailing Address

University of Minnesota
College of Pharmacy
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
8-101 Weaver-Densford Hall
308 Harvard St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Bio Statement

The goal of research in the Hecht laboratory is to understand mechanisms of metabolic activation and DNA modification by carcinogens in tobacco products and the human environment, and apply this knowledge to cancer prevention. The laboratory focuses on the properties of carcinogenic nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and aldehydes. Using state of the art mass spectrometry and related techniques, analytical methods are developed for quantitation of carcinogen and toxicant metabolites and DNA adducts in human urine, blood and tissues. These biomarkers are applied in collaborative clinical and epidemiologic studies to investigate human carcinogen exposure, metabolism, and susceptibility to cancer. Stable isotope labeled carcinogens and their analogues are employed in studies with users of tobacco products to track individual differences in metabolism. The effects of naturally occurring potentially cancer chemopreventive compounds on carcinogen metabolism in humans are also investigated.

Research Interests

  • Tobacco
  • Carcinogens
  • Metabolism
  • DNA adducts
  • Biomarkers


1987-2001 Outstanding Investigator Grant, National Cancer Institute

2000-2009 American Cancer Society Research Professor

2001 Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Health

2002 Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor

2004 Merit Award, National Cancer Institute

1980-2004 Ninth most cited author in tobacco control; first in tobacco carcinogenesis (Byrne and
Chapman, Tobacco Control, 2005)

2006 Academy for Excellence in Health Research, Academic Health Center, University of

2006 AACR-Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer
Prevention Research

2009 Founders Award, Division of Chemical Toxicology, American Chemical Society

2009 Elected American Chemical Society Fellow


Hecht, S.S. Tobacco carcinogens, their biomarkers and tobacco-induced cancer. Nature Rev. Cancer, 3: 733-744, 2003.

Hecht, S.S., Yuan, J-Y., and Hatsukami, D. Applying tobacco carcinogen and toxicant biomarkers in product regulation and cancer prevention. Chem. Res. Toxicol., 23: 1001-1008, 2010. PMCID: PMC2891118.

Zhong, Y., Carmella, S.G., Upadhyaya, P., Hochalter, J.B., Rauch, D., Oliver, A., Jensen, J., Hatsukami, D., Wang, J., Zimmerman, C., and Hecht. S.S. Immediate consequences of cigarette smoking: rapid
formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon diol epoxides, Chem. Res. Toxicol., 24: 246-252, 2011. PMCID: PMC3042042.

Zhang, S., Balbo, S., Wang, M., and Hecht, S.S. Analysis of acrolein-derived 1,N2-propanodeoxyguanosine adducts in human leukocyte DNA from smokers and non-smokers. Chem. Res.
Toxicol., 24: 119-124, 2010. PMCID: PMC3064499.

Thomas, J.L., Guo, H., Carmella, S.G., Balbo, S., Han, S., Davis, A., Murphy, S.E., An, L.C., Ahluwalia, J.S., and Hecht, S.S. Metabolites of a tobacco-specific lung carcinogen in children exposed to secondhand or thirdhand tobacco smoke in their homes. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers & Prev., 20: 1213-1221, 2011. PMCID: PMC3111852.

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  • Last modified on March 27, 2013