Walter Klimecki

CEC Co-Director
Research Focus Group Membership: 
Research Focus Group 1

Ph.D., Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Arizona, 1994
D.V.M., Ohio State University, 1984

College Affiliations: 

College Of Medicine
College Of Public Health
College Of Pharmacy

Research Interests: 

Associating human genetic backgrounds and diverse environmental exposures to understand individual variability in disease susceptibility. Metals Toxicology, Mechanism of Action of Arsenic, Toxicity Toxicant Disruption of Cellular Metabolism

Environmental Health Research & Expertise: 

Dr. Klimecki’s research spans the translational spectrum, from the use of basic experimental models of toxicology in mechanism of action studies to epidemiological studies of toxicant exposed human populations.  Dr. Klimecki’s work in human studies of arsenic-exposed populations has defined important predictors of “safer” and “less safe” arsenic bioconversion, including gender, body mass index, genetic variation in the AS3MT gene, and the degree of indigenous American ancestry.  His “bench” mechanistic toxicology studies have identified novel consequences of arsenic exposure.  Klimecki’s group was among the first to characterize autophagy, a process of cellular organelle self-catabolism , as a key process resulting from arsenite exposure to cultured cells.  More recently, his group has broken new ground in our understanding of the ability of arsenic to perturb fundamental energy metabolism in human cells.  His group demonstrated that cells, even cells that are exposed to abundant oxygen, launch an arsenic response that is more typically associated with hypoxic stress.  Part of this response is switching energy metabolism from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis.  This energy metabolism re-programming has important consequences on the resulting cellular phenotype and may underlie arsenic-induced human pathology.

Select Publications


Lothrop, N., S. T. Wilkinson, M. Verhougstraete, A. Sugeng, M. M. Loh, W. Klimecki, and P. I. Beamer, "Home Water Treatment Habits and Effectiveness in a Rural Arizona Community.", Water (Basel), vol. 7, issue 3, pp. 1217-1231, 2015. PubMed PMCID: PMC4479291  PMID: 26120482
Zhao, F., and W. T. Klimecki, "Culture conditions profoundly impact phenotype in BEAS-2B, a human pulmonary epithelial model.", J Appl Toxicol, vol. 35, issue 8, pp. 945-51, 2015 Aug. PubMed PMCID: PMC4474793  PMID: 25524072


Kripke, D. F., W. T. Klimecki, C. M. Nievergelt, K. M. Rex, S. S. Murray, T. Shekhtman, G. J. Tranah, R. T. Loving, H-J. Lee, M. Kyu Rhee, et al., "Circadian polymorphisms in night owls, in bipolars, and in non-24-hour sleep cycles.", Psychiatry Investig, vol. 11, issue 4, pp. 345-62, 2014 Oct. PubMed PMCID: PMC4225198  PMID: 25395965
Beamer, P. I., A. J. Sugeng, M. D. Kelly, N. Lothrop, W. Klimecki, S. T. Wilkinson, and M. Loh, "Use of dust fall filters as passive samplers for metal concentrations in air for communities near contaminated mine tailings.", Environ Sci Process Impacts, vol. 16, issue 6, pp. 1275-81, 2014 May. PubMed PMCID: PMC4038653  PMID: 24469149
Lake, A. D., P. Novak, R. N. Hardwick, B. Flores-Keown, F. Zhao, W. T. Klimecki, and N. J. Cherrington, "The adaptive endoplasmic reticulum stress response to lipotoxicity in progressive human nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.", Toxicol Sci, vol. 137, issue 1, pp. 26-35, 2014 Jan. PubMed PMCID: PMC3871931  PMID: 24097666