Peer W.F. Karmaus

Peer W. F.  Karmaus
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Institute for Integrative Toxicology
  • Staff Scientist, NIEHS


My research focuses on how metabolism in innate and adaptive immune cells dictates cell fate and function. Of particular interest is the idea that different intracellular signaling pathways instruct anabolic, catabolic, and biosynthetic processes to affect cell fate decisions and how in turn these metabolites (including xenobiotics) affect cell signaling and cell fate. One of the major metabolic pathways involved in cellular metabolic changes is the biosynthesis and metabolism of cholesterol. Metabolism by immune cells (immunometabolism) and control thereof by changes in cholesterol metabolism affect the outcome of anti-pathogen, anti-tumor, and anti-self (autoimmune and tolerogenic) immune reactions and thus plays a key role in understanding the immune system.

Current research involves signaling pathways, metabolic changes, and cellular features that define cell fate. Within this area, the focus is on three overarching questions: 1. How a cell’s environment affects its ability to support cell fate decisions. 2. How signaling pathways connect with a cell’s ability to sense metabolite/energy levels and how this mechanism may be perturbed by the availability of metabolites, 3. How heterogeneity within seemingly homogenous cell populations contributes to cell fate and function.


Michigan State University, Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology and Integrative Toxicology, 2011
Lyman Briggs School of Science, Michigan State University, B.S., Biochemistry, 2005


Dr. Karmaus at PubMed