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Slavko Komarnytsky

Associate Professor, Pharmacogenomics

Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences


Born in the remote wilds of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, Slavko Komarnytsky is an integrative biologist who combines expertise in botanical research and technological innovation with a commitment to reverse the worldwide rise of metabolic and immune disorders. His scholarly work comprises 70 papers that set trends in biodiscovery from natural sources, including bioactive phytochemicals that interact with the bitter receptors, endocannabinoid system, and gut microbiome to improve human health and wellbeing. He is an Associate Professor of Pharmacogenomics at NC State University, and founder of the Mobile Discovery program that engages students and ethnic communities in global health research.
Among the many projects currently being pursued in his lab are the following:
  • 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 mode of action of novel bioactive molecules to improve glucose metabolism and glycemic control through analyses of target gene and protein interactions, microbiome profiles, preclinical animal models, and early phase clinical studies.
  • 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 with potential applications for pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetics industries. This also allows us to develop new genetic tools to directly map human health to plant genomes.
  • Establishment of structure-activity relationships of plant metabolites and health quality of fruits, vegetables, and industrial hemp (Cannabis). We determine biological activities of parent plant molecules (phenolics, cannabinoids) and their breakdown metabolites to identify dietary constituents with maximum potential benefits to public health. These findings are critical to advance current agricultural, breeding, and genetic approaches to produce better crops.
  • Discovery and scientific validation of traditional ethnic medicines. We are dedicated to incorporating traditional medicinal knowledge into modern healthcare and ensuring it meets current safety and efficacy standards, in part by directing the Mobile Discovery program. We are also exploring microbes of diverse habitats and unique environments for discovery of novel metabolites.


PhD Rutgers University

MS Kyiv Shevchenko University

BS Kyiv Shevchenko University


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