Norbert E. Kaminski, Ph.D.

  • Drug Discovery and Receptor Faculty, Environmental Faculty, Immunopharmacology Faculty

Pharmacology & Toxicology
Director, Institute for Integrative Toxicology
Interim Director, Center for Research on Ingredient Safety
Food Safety, Room 315
1129 Farm Lane
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-353-3786
Fax: 517-432-3218

Fields of Interest: Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms for impairment of signal transduction cascades and gene expression during lymphocyte activation by drugs and chemicals; mechanism for immune modulation by cannabinoid compounds

Norbert Kaminski on MSU Scholars

Educational Background

  • 1978 - B.A., Chemistry, Loyola University of Chicago
  • 1981 - M.S., Toxicology, North Carolina State University
  • 1985 - Ph.D., Toxicology & Physiology, North Carolina State University
  • 1985-86 - Postdoctoral Fellow, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia
  • 1987-88 - Research Instructor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia
  • 1988-93 - Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia
  • 1993-95 - Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State University
  • 1995-99 - Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State Universit
  • 1999-present - Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Michigan State University
  • 2004-present - Director, Institute for Integrative Toxicology, Michigan State University

Biography & Current Research

Research Synopsis:

Research being conducted in my laboratory is in the general areas of immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology and encompasses a number of extramurally funded projects. A major emphasis of all of the projects is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms for impairment of signal transduction cascades and gene expression during lymphocyte activation by drugs and chemicals. One major research focus is to characterize the mechanism for immune modulation by cannabinoid compounds. This effort has led to the first characterization of cannabinoid receptors within the immune system. Current goals include elucidation of signal transduction events initiated through as well as independently of cannabinoid receptors, including the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPARy), leading to aberrant cytokine gene expression by T lymphocytes. A second major research focus is the characterization of the molecular mechanism responsible for altered B cell function produced by halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons, including dioxins and polychlorinated biphenols. This research, which resulted in the first characterization of the aryl hydrocarbon (AH) receptor and aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator in B cells, has lead us to test the hypothesis that dioxin and dioxin-like compounds suppress antibody responses by impairing B cell differentiation in an AH receptor-dependent manner. A third area of research concerns studies aimed at characterizing the role of cytokines expression patterns in airway remodeling induced by chemical and protein respiratory allergens as well as by respiratory pathogens.

Awards & Achievements

select Achievements since 2001


  • Director, Insititute for Integrative Toxicology, Michigan State University, 2004-present

Editorial Boards

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Editorial board for International Immunopharmacology
  • Editorial Board for Journal of Immunotoxicology
  • Founding Member, Editorial Board for Nonlinearity in Biology, Toxicology and Medicine
  • Editorial Board for Toxicology

Scientific Societies

  • Vice President, Society of Toxicology 2013-2014
  • President, Society of Toxicology 2014-2015
  • Past President, Society of Toxicology 2015-2016
  • Society of Toxicology: Member of Council 2004-2007, Treasurer 2005-2007, Vice President Elect 2012-2013
  • Society on Neuroimmune Pharmacology, Council, Chair of Membership Committee, 2004-present
  • American Association of Immunologists
  • American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • International Cannabinoid Research Society

Committees & Activities

Scientific Advisory Committees

  • National Academy of Sciences Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) Science Advisory Board for the Dioxin Reassessment Review
  • National Academy of Sciences Committee to review EPA’s Exposure and Human Health Reassessment of TCDD and Related Compounds

Other Service

  • Member of NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council. 5/13 - present.
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana 6/16 – present.
  • Board of Trustees, International Life Sciences Institute, Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, 2003-2012
  • Member of Michigan Environmental Science Board
  • Member, Environmental Protection Agency Science Review Panel for Health Research
  • Member, Peer Review Committee, Experimental Toxicology Division, NHEERL, US-EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC
  • Member, Peer Review Committee for the American Chemistry Council on the Susceptibility of the Developing Immune System to Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Member, NIH Clinical Sciences Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-ALTX-4) 1999-2004
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer, NIH Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology Study Section; NTP Contract for Immunotoxicology; NIDA Sciences Special Emphasis Panel ZRG4-SSS-G 03


Full list of publications at MSU Scholars

  • Dornbos P, Crawford RB, Kaminski NE, Hession SL, LaPres JJ. The Influence of Human Inter-individual Variability on the Low-dose Region of Dose-Response Curve Induced by 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin in Primary B Cells.Toxicol Sci. 2016 Jul 29. pii: kfw128 PMID: 27473338

  • Aldhamen YA, Rastall DP, Chen W, Seregin SS, Pereira-Hicks C, Godbehere S, Kaminski NE, Amalfitano A. CRACC-targeting Fc-fusion protein induces activation of NK cells and DCs and improves T cell immune responses to antigenic targets. Vaccine. 2016 Jun 8;34(27):3109-18. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.04.068. Epub 2016 May 3. PMID: 27151882

  • Fader KA, Nault R, Ammendolia DA, Harkema JR, Williams KJ, Crawford RB, Kaminski NE, Potter D, Sharratt B, Zacharewski TR. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin Alters Lipid Metabolism and Depletes Immune Cell Populations in the Jejunum of C57BL/6 Mice.Toxicol Sci. 2015 Dec;148(2):567-80. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfv206. Epub 2015 Sep 16. PMID: 26377647

  • Thang LV, Demel SL, Crawford R, Kaminski NE, Swain GM, Van Rooijen N, Galligan JJ. Macrophage depletion lowers blood pressure and restores sympathetic nerve α2-adrenergic receptor function in mesenteric arteries of DOCA-salt hypertensive rats. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2015 Oct;309(7):H1186-97. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00283.2015. Epub 2015 Aug 28. PMID: 26320034

  • Chen W, Crawford RB, Kaplan BL, Kaminski NE. Modulation of HIVGP120 Antigen-Specific Immune Responses In Vivo by Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2015 Jun;10(2):344-55. doi: 10.1007/s11481-015-9597-x. Epub 2015 Apr 22. PMID: 25900076

Additional articles at PubMed