Curtis J. Omiecinski
Affiliate Professor, Env. and Occ. Health Sciences (Primary department)
Dr. Omiecinski currently a Professor and the Hallowell Chair in the Center for Molecular Toxicology and Carcinogenesis and the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Penn State University. Previously, Dr. Omiecinski was in the Professorial ranks at the University of Washington. Dr. Omiecinski serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, is a member of several science advisory committees and has served on numerous government agency advisory and review panels.
- Dr. Omiecinski's research centers on the molecular genetics and regulation of human xenobiotic detoxication. The laboratory's toxicogenomic investigations seek to characterize critical determinants that specify the underlying mechanisms dictating the variable nature of interindividual responsiveness to drug and chemical exposure. One specific focus of the laboratory is the study of human microsomal epoxide hydrolase. The laboratory has characterized structural polymorphisms as well as the use of alternative gene promoter mechanisms that contribute as potential risk modifiers for chemical toxicity mediated by epoxide intermediates. Another area of focus is the biological regulation conferred by nuclear receptors, in particular the constitutive androstane receptor. Xenobiotic receptors, such as CAR and PXR, sense the cellular chemical environment and function in key regulatory circuitry that tunes the cell's genomic expression program to accommodate the specific chemical milieu. These receptor control circuits exhibit diversity within cells, tissues and among individuals, in part due to the generation of structurally distinct sets of receptors generated by alternative RNA splicing - an area of particular research focus for the laboratory.
Dr. Omiecinski's principle course is VB SC 430, Principles of Toxicology. This is a full semester senior / graduate level course, required for the undergraduate B.S. Toxicology students as well as students enrolled in the Toxicology and Pathobiology Ph.D. graduate programs. It's typical enrollment is approximately 45 students.
Dr. Omiecinski serves as a member of the External Scientific Advisory Committee for the UW/NIEHS Core Center in Ecogenetics. He was a past associate director of this center while a faculty member at UW.