UA SRP Investigator Walt Klimecki Receives ABRC Grant

Dr. Walt Klimecki of the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) was recently awarded a research grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (ABRC). The grant will provide $50,000 per year for two years, to investigate the role of the unfolded protein response in arsenic exposure. The proposed project will build upon previous research that was supported by SRP and Water Sustainability Program pilot funding.

Dr. Klimecki studies mechanisms and pathways that determine individual resistance to arsenic – why are some people affected by arsenic exposure, while others are not? This has important implications for both environmental exposures to arsenic (understanding who gets sick), as well as for cancer patients who are treated with the drug arsenic trioxide (understanding who gets better or who gets side-effects). The grant Dr. Klimecki received will allow him to study the ability of leukemia cells to respond to arsenic trioxide-induced damage in the endoplasmic reticulum via the unfolded protein response, and to correlate this with overall resistance to arsenic toxicity.  Dr. Klimecki states, “We will be able to take advantage of this unusual situation, where an environmental toxicant is also a clinically approved drug, to hopefully translate our environmental health-focused research into more effective leukemia treatments for patients.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Klimecki!