Morris J. Clarke, PhD

Associate Professor of Biochemistry

Department of Biological Sciences
College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education

Email clarkemj@wssu.edu
Phone (336) 750-2229
Office WBA 411, Lab WBA 108 & 109

Dr. Clarke spent 16 years working in the pharmaceutical industry before becoming a research associate professor in the School of Pharmacy at UNC-Chapel Hill and an associate professor in the College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).  Most of his career in industry and pharmacy education has revolved around individual differences in pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of novel drugs and prescription medication.  His interest has focused on the pharmacogenetics and inter-individual variability in CYP450 dependent metabolism of prescription drugs and endogenous steroidal substrates from in-vitro biotransformation studies to pharmacokinectics in animals and man. In addition to the support of drug development project, he was also responsible for studying cholesterol biosynthesis and its regulation at squalene epoxidase and the transfer protein SPF/TAP. This research lead to the discovery of hypolipidemics targeted to cholesterol and bile acid absorption and post-mevalonate sterol biosynthesis.  Dr. Clarke’s primary responsibilities in the School of Pharmacy at UNC-CH was to guide PharmD fellows in the post-graduate program to integrate in vivo disposition of drugs with in vitro experimental designs frequently used in F&DA required clinical drug development.

At WSSU, Dr. Clarke’s teaching responsibilities include cell biology (capstone), medical physiology and pharmacology, biochemistry, forensic sciences, and general education courses. His teaching is informed by pedagogic research funded by the National Science Foundation. He collaborates with investigators at the Ohio State University and Clemson University to understand the factors affecting the persistence, self-efficacy, and academic success of HBCU students in STEM and non-STEM disciplines. This research has revealed a need for institutional resources to strengthen HBCU female student self-efficacy while male HBCU student would benefit from initiative that augment their time on task.

Dr. Clarke’s graduate research project on superoxide dismutase and superoxide radicals has become a central theme in the etiology of several chronic preventable diseases.  Reactive oxygen species (ROS) represent the primary mechanism in the development of inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and neuro-degenerative disorders.  Moreover, the interplay of ROS and anti-inflammatory mediator – presqualene diphosphate has been demonstrated as a critical factor in resolution of inflammation.

Education

  • PhD in Pharmacology, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • BS Professional Chemistry, NC A&T State University

Research Interests

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacogenetics, drug discovery research, and drug development
  • Regulation of steroid biosynthesis
  • Use of squalene from Botyrococcus braunii as a biodegradable lubricant