Slavko Komarnytsky

Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky, N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute
Metabolic Biology and Pharmacogenomics, Assistant Professor
Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences

Visit the Komarnytsky Lab Website

Ph.D., Rutgers University
M.S., Kyiv Shevchenko University, Ukraine
B.S., Kyiv Shevchenko University, Ukraine

Born in the remote wilds of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky is the Assistant Professor of Pharmacogenomics at the Plants for Human Health Institute, N.C. State University, and Director of the Life Habit Center for Biodiscovery.

Komarnytsky received a B.S. in biology and M.S. in cell biology from Kyiv Shevchenko University in 1998. He earned his Ph.D. in cell and molecular plant biology in 2004 and held research appointments in metabolism and nutrition at Rutgers University prior to joining the food science faculty at N.C. State University in 2011.

His primary scientific interests have been in how dietary bioactive components prevent chronic metabolic diseases and inflammation, with a specific emphasis on the pathological mechanisms of insulin resistance and muscle loss. His scholarly work has set trends in biodiscovery from natural sources and engagement of students and ethnic communities in global health research. He has authored over 40 major scientific publications and gained broad support from government agencies and industry sponsors.

Within this theme, three major initiatives can be used to describe his work:

  • Using state of the art applications of pharmacogenomics, nutrigenomic, and bioenergetics technologies to enhance understanding the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders by identifying pathways important in progression of diabetes, obesity and inflammation;
  • Collaborating with scientists from various disciplines to access efficacy of botanicals and natural products to restore metabolic balance within liver, muscle and adipose tissues; and
  • Supporting education and development of students and scholars, including those located in the developing countries, through biodiscovery from microbial resources, microbial diversity and impact it may have on the safety and health of water users.

Watch a video introduction of Dr. Komarnytsky and his research.

Publications | Lab Staff | Projects


  • Molecular controls linking inflammation to diabetes. We are dissecting the signaling pathways and transcriptional mechanisms that mediate chronic inflammation and associated risk of diabetes. This allows us to define the mechanisms of action of bioactive small molecules to alleviate insulin resistance and dyslipidemia through analyses of target genes, protein-protein interactions, and preclinical studies in animal models.
  • Botanicals in muscle growth and disease. We have identified several small molecules that modulate signaling pathways and transcription factors involved in muscle growth and remodeling during disease. We are currently pursuing a variety of strategies to manipulate these pathways and to uncover additional regulators in muscle cells that enhance muscle strength, endurance, and physical performance.
  • Phenotypical screening in cell culture. We lead discovery of novel bioactives and understanding gene function within the context of energy metabolism in conventional animal and human cell cultures, 3D cell cultures, and stem cells with potential applications for pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetics industries.
  • Epigenetic control of silent metabolic pathways. We are exploring microbes of diverse habitats and unique environments for discovery of novel metabolites. A major interest is in activation of "silent" DNA using proprietary methods to treat fungal cultures with epigenetic modulators that interfere with the formation of the heterochromatin.


Bae J, Ricciardi CJ, Esposito D, Komarnytsky S, Hu P, Curry B, Brown PL, Gao Z, Biggerstaff JP, Chen J, Zhao L (2014) Activation of pattern recognition receptors in brown adipocytes induce inflammation and suppress uncoupling protein 1 expression and mitochondrial respiration. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol [Epub ahead of print]

Esposito D, Chen A, Grace MH, Komarnytsky S, Lila MA (2014) Inhibitory effects of wild blueberry anthocyanins and other flavonoids on biomarkers of acute and chronic inflammation in vitro. J Agric Food Chem [Epub ahead of print]

Esposito D, Rathinasabapathy T, Schmidt B, Shakarjian MP, Komarnytsky S, Raskin I (2013) Acceleration of cutaneous wound healing by brassinosteroids. Wound Repair Regen 21(5): 688-696

Esposito D, Munafo JP, Lucibello T, Baldeon M, Komarnytsky S, Gianfagna TJ (2013) Steroidal glycosides from the bulbs of Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum Thunb.) promote dermal fibroblast migration in vitro. J Ethnopharmacol 148: 433-440

Komarnytsky S, Esposito D, Rathinasabapathy T, Poulev A, Raskin I (2013) Effects of pregnane glycosides on food intake depend on stimulation of melanocortin pathway and BDNF in animal model. J Agric Food Chem 61(8): 1841-1849

Komarnytsky S, Esposito D, Poulev A, Raskin I (2013) Pregnane glycosides interfere with steroidogenic enzymes to down-regulate corticosteroid production in human adrenocortical H295R cells. J Cell Physiol doi: 10.1002/jcp.24262 link

Esposito D, Raskin I, Komarnytsky S (2012) Homobrassinolide enhances myogenic potential of satellite muscle cells. In Vitro Cell Develop Biol Animal 48(S1): S31 link

Esposito D, Kizelsztein P, Komarnytsky S, Raskin I (2012) Hypoglycemic effects of brassinosteroid in diet-induced obese mice. AJP Endocrinol Metabol 303(5): E652-658 link

Komarnytsky S, Esposito D, Raskin I (2012) In vivo mouse model for examining contribution of inflammation to development of obesity and diabetes. FASEB J 26: 364.4 link

Esposito D, Tuazon M, Henderson GC, Komarnytsky S, Raskin I (2012) Brassinosteroid enhances C57BL/6J mice treadmill endurance. FASEB J 26: 1121.8 link

Komarnytsky S, Borisjuk N (2012) Plant-derived antibodies for academic, industrial, and therapeutic applications. In: Antibody mediated drug discovery systems (Eds: Pathak Y, Benita S), John Wiley & Sons, pp 365-381 link

Esposito D, Komarnytsky S, Shapses S, Raskin I (2011) Anabolic effect of plant brassinosteroid. FASEB J [Epub ahead of print] link

Esposito D, Rathinasabapathy T, Poulev A, Komarnytsky S, Raskin I (2011) Akt-dependent anabolic activity of natural and synthetic brassinosteroids in rat skeletal muscle cells. J Med Chem 54(12): 4057-4066 link

Komarnytsky S, Cook A, Raskin I (2010) Potato protease inhibitors inhibit food intake and increase circulating cholecystokinin levels by a trypsin-dependent mechanism. Int J Obes 35(2): 236-243 link

Kellogg J, Joseph G, Andrae-Marobela K, Sosome A, Flint C, Kormarnytsky S, Fear G, Struwe L, Raskin I, and Lila MA (2010) Simple, predictive field bioassays enable transdisciplinary science education and lead students in the quest for biodiscovery. NACTA Journal 54: 41-48 pdf

Kizelsztein P, Komarnytsky S, Raskin I (2009) Oral administration of triptolide ameliorates clinical symptoms of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by induction of Hsp70 and stabilization of NF-kB /IkBa. J Neuroimmunol 217(1-2): 28-37 pdf

Kizelsztein P, Govorko D, Komarnytsky S, Evans A, Wang Z, Cefalu WT, Raskin I (2009) 20-hydroxyecdysone decreases weight and hyperglycemia in a diet-induced obesity mice model. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 296(3): E433-439 pdf

Lab Staff

Weston Bussler
Kimberly Palatini
Mickey Wilson

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