Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky recognizes that millions of people rely on botanicals and other natural products to prevent disease, maintain wellness, or treat illness or pain. In his research program, he is working to develop a strong interdisciplinary program for systematic evaluation of the efficacy and safety of botanicals and natural products; and to fulfill the critical need for additional basic and translational research on the bioavailability and bioactivity of botanicals and their mechanisms of action in treatment or prevention of metabolic diseases. Komarnytsky also serves as a co-investigator for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Botanicals and Metabolic Syndrome.
An increased understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms of a disease is essential to develop better and more effective therapies. Toward this end, Dr. Komarnysky’s research focuses on several related areas:
- Discovery of novel drugs of botanical or microbial origin that enhance satiety, decrease insulin resistance and suppress inflammation using live cell assays.
- Understanding the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome by identifying pathways important in the progression of obesity, diabetes and muscle loss by studying cellular regulation of substrate metabolism in skeletal muscle and fat.
- Investigating how genetic factors influence response to dietary bioactives and modulate cellular regulation of substrate metabolism in skeletal muscle and fat by using state-of-the-art genomics and bioenergetics assays in cell culture and animal models.
Watch a video introduction of Dr. Komarnytsky and his research.Publications | Lab Staff | Projects
Botanical modulators of food intake: He has discovered small molecules and proteins of botanical origin that modulate metabolic control of feeding behavior, overeating and obesity. He is dissecting the mechanisms of action of these molecules and using them to alleviate metabolic risk factors such as insulin resistance and dyslipidemia.
Manipulation of metabolic syndrome with botanical food ingredients: He is developing technologies that naturally concentrate the beneficial phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into foods in amounts sufficient to promote health and wellness.
Molecular controls linking inflammation to diabetes: He is dissecting the signaling pathways and transcriptional mechanisms that mediate chronic inflammation and associated risk of diabetes. He is defining the mechanisms of action of small molecules through analyses of target genes, protein-protein interactions and preclinical studies in animal models.
Botanicals in muscle growth and disease: He has identified numerous small molecules that modulate signaling pathways and transcription factors involved in muscle growth and remodeling during disease. He is pursuing a variety of strategies to manipulate these pathways and to uncover additional regulators in muscle cells.
Epigenetic control of silent metabolic pathways in endophytes: He is 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.
The ultimate goal of Dr. Komarnytsky’s research is to educate and assist the public in taking greater control of their health through the food choices they make, and to increase awareness of the relationship between diet, natural products and health.
Komarnytsky S, Esposito D, Poulev A, Raskin I (2012) 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