Faculty Profile

John A. Petros MD

Professor of Urology and Pathology, Department of Urology, Emory University School of Medicine

Associate Chair for Urologic Research, Department of Urology, Emory University SOM

Faculty Urologist, Atlanta VA Medical Center

Email: jpetros@emory.edu


American Board of Urology


Dr. Petros received an Artium Baccalaureatus Degree in chemistry and biology from Washington University in St. Louis. He attended medical school at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, and completed his urology residency training at Washington University, Barnes Hospital, St. Louis. In 1993, Dr. Petros joined the Emory Department of Urology as an academic faculty urologist and scientist, and has been the principal investigator of his own basic science laboratory ever since. While maintaining a robust clinical schedule, he has sustained continuous extramural funding for his laboratory for over 20 years. Dr. Petros is a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology (1995).

Dr. Petros is a known pioneer in the field of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in prostate cancer, and was the first investigator to show that inherited mutations of this genome result in increased likelihood of developing prostate cancer. His studies revealed that mtDNA mutations exert their cancer promoting influence by altering the production of cellular reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species, which in turn activate a cascade of tumor-promoting molecular events. The ultimate clinical translation of these findings would be the development of novel therapies targeting these molecules.

This research also holds the promise of further adapting treatment to the particular patient, in that patients could be identified that have inherited these gene mutations and selected for more intensive screening and early intervention. Dr. Petros also found that mutations in the mtDNA are more common in African American patients with prostate cancer than white patients, which could be responsible for certain health disparities that result in African American men being at higher risk for developing and/or dying of prostate cancer.

In addition, Dr. Petros is conducting research designed to develop a new diagnostic blood or urine test for kidney cancer.

Dr. Petros is active in faith-based medical missions, and his involvement has included trips to Ghana, El Salvador, and Mexico.


View Dr. Petros' publications in PubMed.


  • Emory University Hospital

  • Atlanta VA Medical Center
  • The Emory Clinic


  • Artium Baccalaureatus Degree, Chemistry & Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, Class of 1982

  • Medical Degree, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, Class of 1986

  • Surgery Internship, Washington University, Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, MO, 1986-1987

  • Urology Residency, Washington University, Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, MO, 1987-1993

Honors and Awards

  • 2011 Alumnus of the Year , Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

  • Best Scientific Research Poster, American Urological Association, 2010

  • Named to the Millipub Club of the Emory University School of Medicine, which recognizes Emory faculty who have published one or more individual papers throughout their careers that have each garnered more than 1,000 citations, 2010

  • Letter of Commendation for Excellence in Clinical Service, "Excellent Customer Service," 2006

  • Letter of Commendation for Excellence in Clinical Service, "Improved Wait Times at the Atlanta VA Medical Center," 2002

  • Clinical Research Center Award, Emory University Hospita, 1994

  • Clinical Oncology Career Development Award, American Cancer Society, 1994

Clinical Interests

  • Bladder cancer/tumors

  • Prostate cancer

  • Renal cancer

  • Testicular cancer

Research Interests

  • Mitochondrial genetics in prostate cancer

  • Diagnostic tests for kidney cancer

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