Kaminski, Norbert 2011Norbert E. Kaminski, Ph.D. is the Director for the Institute for Integrative Toxicology and Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University. Research being conducted in his 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 leading to aberrant T lymphocyte and myeloid cell function. 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 development and 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.