Find us on:

Dr. Ian S. Zagon, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor and Educator - Director of the Program on Education in Human Structure

Ian S. Zagon, Ph.D., is Professor of Neuroscience and Anatomy at The Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Dr. Zagon holds membership in the Specialized Cancer Research Center, Intercollege Graduate Program in Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program Neuroscience Graduate Program, M.D./Ph.D. Program, and the Integrative Biosciences Graduate Program-Molecular Medicine, Neuroscience, and Cell and Developmental Biology.

In 1974, Dr. Zagon accepted a position in the Department of Anatomy (now the Department of Neuroscience and Anatomy) at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, in Hershey. His early interests focused on the etiology and pathogenesis of brain tumors. During this time, a research project on opioid peptides, opioid receptors, and growth was led by Dr. Patricia J. McLaughlin, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Anatomy. A partnership between Dr. Zagon and Dr. McLaughlin was formed and they performed many studies together.

These early studies examined the repercussions of maternal opioid abuse (methadone, morphine, and heroin) on the outcome of offspring, particularly those concerned with the nervous system. Based on observations in the late 1970s about exogenous opioids, as well as experiments with opioid antagonists in developing animals and in cancers, the research turned toward whether the endogenous opioids - first discovered in 1975 - acted as growth factors. In a series of papers in the 1980s, he provided evidence supporting this hypothesis.

His other scientific collaborations include a joint discovery of non-erythroid spectrin defining the developing of adult nervous system, original observation of a new receptor - the CCK-C receptor - which functions in the growth of neoplasia, the acceleration of corneal epithelial wound healing in normal and diabetic conditions by Naltrexone, the establishment of the OGF-OGFr axis in angiogenesis, the use of OGF in treatment of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, and the molecular nature of OGFr.

Dr. Zagon has been a co-organizer of national and international meetings on developmental biology and cancer, and he has served on the editorial board of five journals. Dr. Zagon has authored more than 300 publications and 200 presentations, and has published three books. He has received numerous grants from many prestigious agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association.

To view his bio, click on Dr. Ian Zagon’s profile

To view his published articles, click on Dr. Zagon’s Work

Dr. Zagon (center) and his research teamZagon Team