Kaminski Receives 2020 SOT Merit Award

February 19, 2020

Norbert KaminskiIIT Director, Dr. Norbert Kaminski, was selected to receive the 2020 Society of Toxicology Merit Award for his sustained and highly influential contributions to the discipline of toxicology.

After receiving his PhD in toxicology and physiology from North Carolina State University in 1985, Dr. Kaminski conducted his postdoctoral training at the Medical College of Virginia and then advanced first to Research Instructor and then to Assistant Professor. Thereafter, Dr. Kaminski took a position as an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, where he currently serves as a Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Kaminski also is the Director of the Institute for Integrative Toxicology (IIT) and the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety, both at Michigan State University.

Dr. Kaminski’s research involves molecular mechanisms of immunotoxicology, particularly those by which cannabinoids alter immune competence; his laboratory discovered cannabinoid receptor expression within cells of the immune system. His work also involves investigating B cell development and differentiation and its impairment by halogenated hydrocarbons, and he has contributed greatly to the understanding of activation of lymphoid cells resulting in the upregulation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Within the past decade, Dr. Kaminski has focused on developing functional, biochemical, and molecular assays employing primary human leukocytes to identify immune-modulating agents and the mechanisms by which they mediate their activity.

The Kaminski laboratory has been continuously funded for more than three decades through grants from the National Institutes of Health, US Environmental Protection Agency, and industry. Notably, in his role as IIT Director, Dr. Kaminski has coordinated research efforts across institutions to secure two successful competing renewals for the Superfund Research Program.

Dr. Kaminski has served as an advisor to numerous predoctoral, master’s, and postdoctoral scholars, many of whom have been highly awarded—a testament to Dr. Kaminski’scommitment and excellence in toxicology instruction. Dr. Kaminski also furthers toxicological understanding through regular speaking engagements as well as chairing Symposia and Workshops during scientific meetings.

In addition to his rich publication history—which includes approximately 150 hypothesis-driven peer-reviewed papers and 25 reviews or book chapters—Dr. Kaminski co-authored the chapter on “Toxic Responses of the Immune System” in the seventh, eighth, and ninth editions of Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons, the leading text in toxicology graduate studies. He also has served on numerous journal Editorial Boards throughout his career, including his current role as a member of the Editorial Board of Toxicology.

Dr. Kaminski has been active within SOT since he joined the membership in 1983. He served as Treasurer from 2005 to 2007 and was the 2014–2015 SOT President. He is a past Chair of the Endowment Fund Board and Finance Committee and a current member of the Michigan Regional Chapter, Food Safety Specialty Section, and Immunotoxicology Specialty Section.