Donald J. Messner

Donald J. Messner, PhD

Donald J. Messner
School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences
Department of Basic Sciences

Current Roles

  • Associate Professor, Department of Basic Sciences and the Bastyr University Research Institute


  • Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from University of California, Davis  in 1978
  • PhD in pharmacology from University of Washington School of Medicine in 1986
  • Postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1989

Past Experience

Prior to joining Bastyr, Dr. Messner held academic positions at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and Purdue University.  He served as principal or co-investigator on research grants from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the National Cancer Institute, the Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Cancer Fund and the American Heart Association.   He has co-authored a number of primary research articles, reviews and book chapters. 

Teaching Interests

Dr. Messner teaches biochemistry and supports student research training in the laboratory. His goal as a teacher is to help students develop a solid scientific base on which to build their career.

Research Interests

Dr. Messner investigates causes of liver disease and corrective actions of plant-derived natural products in research funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). One current project focuses on the use of curcumin and turmeric for prevention of liver cancer associated with iron overload. A second seeks novel therapies for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a complication of type 2 diabetes. These studies incorporate a variety of laboratory approaches from molecular and cellular biology, protein biochemistry, analytical chemistry and pharmacology. 


Dr. Messner offers practical laboratory research training to interested students. He also welcomes more advanced scientists seeking to study disease prevention with botanicals. His goal as a teacher is to help students develop a solid scientific base on which to build their life’s work.   

Dr. Don Messner
Donald J. Messner, PhD