Skip to main content

Slavko Komarnytsky

Associate Professor

Plants for Human Health Institute, Kannapolis, NC State


Born in the remote wilds of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, Dr. Slavko Komarnytsky is the Assistant Professor of Pharmacogenomics at the Plants for Human Health Institute, N.C. State University, and Director of the Life Habit Center for Biodiscovery.

Komarnytsky received a B.S. in biology and M.S. in cell biology from Kyiv Shevchenko University in 1998. He earned his Ph.D. in cell and molecular plant biology in 2004 and held research appointments in metabolism and nutrition at Rutgers University prior to joining the food science faculty at N.C. State University in 2011.

His primary scientific interests have been in how dietary bioactive components prevent chronic metabolic diseases and inflammation, with a specific emphasis on the pathological mechanisms of insulin resistance and muscle loss. His scholarly work has set trends in biodiscovery from natural sources and engagement of students and ethnic communities in global health research. He has authored over 40 major scientific publications and gained broad support from government agencies and industry sponsors.

Within this theme, three major initiatives can be used to describe his work:

  • Using state of the art applications of pharmacogenomics, nutrigenomic, and bioenergetics technologies to enhance understanding the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders by identifying pathways important in progression of diabetes, obesity and inflammation;
  • Collaborating with scientists from various disciplines to access efficacy of botanicals and natural products to restore metabolic balance within liver, muscle and adipose tissues; and
  • Supporting education and development of students and scholars, including those located in the developing countries, through biodiscovery from microbial resources, microbial diversity and impact it may have on the safety and health of water users.

Watch a video introduction of Dr. Komarnytsky and his research.

Area(s) of Expertise

Diet and Nutrition Gene Interactions in Treatment and Prevention of Chronic Metabolic Diseases


View all publications 


Date: 08/01/21 - 12/31/23
Amount: $154,266.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS)

In this proposal, we will complex pulse proteins (chickpea and pea, alone or blended) with phytoactive flavonoids from blueberry pomace to produce spray dried pulse-fruit ingredients that will be characterized with regard to phytochemical and protein content, digestibility and functionality. A prioritized pulse-fruit ingredient will have its production scaled up to develop model food products (gummies and protein shakes) that will be evaluated for organoleptic properties by a trained sensory panel. Next, a model food product containing pulse-fruit ingredient will be consumed as a clinical intervention by healthy volunteer subjects to establish efficacy for improvement of metabolic biomarkers relevant to obesity/MetSyn. By presenting novel pulse-fruit ingredients with favorable sensory characteristics for multiple food applications, we expect to provide solutions that will 1) expand overall consumption of pulse proteins, and 2) establish pulse-protein-fruit ingredients as an intervention for obesity and related co-morbidities.

Date: 07/11/22 - 3/31/23
Amount: $26,956.00
Funding Agencies: Standard Process Inc.

This project will establish the protocols and quantify by western blot analysis the neuronal biomarkers of autophagy as a part of the completed TBI animal study. This will be of a particular value to Standard Process, as it will allow the company to establish the molecular mechanisms and targets by which nutritional glandular tissue supplementation improves the outcomes of brain injury in preclinical settings and allow for subsequent development of primary and secondary target outcomes in support of the future clinical studies.

Date: 09/25/20 - 12/31/20
Amount: $60,858.00
Funding Agencies: Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa

The PIs will review the curriculum and course syllabi for three of UNSA’s academic programs: Food Science and Technology, Nutrition, and Agronomy. The PIs will provide a complete report that describes the process and final evaluation for each program. Selected NC State Faculty will conduct workshops related to teaching and evaluation good practices.

Date: 09/01/16 - 8/31/19
Amount: $53,361.00
Funding Agencies: Wild Blueberry Association of North America

We will identify the bioactivity of wild blueberry phytochemicals, utilizing our previously validated methodologies and blueberry metabolite library. Ultimately, this research will inform the design of future dietary interventions exploring optimal dietary intakes and may help regulatory agencies develop more targeted dietary guidelines for the promotion of healthy aging.

Date: 04/01/16 - 6/30/17
Amount: $37,328.00
Funding Agencies: Mars, Inc.

. This research program will isolate 1-5 gram quantities of vicilin-like globulins from cocoa beans provided by Mars. Specifically, we will: 1) Perform a small-scale extraction of vicilin-like globulins according to the previously developed protocols to ensure the purity and integrity of the final product; and 2) Develop a medium-scale extraction protocol for successful purification and delivery of the target amount of vicilin-like globulins to Mars. This will be of a particular value to Mars, as it will allow the company to study cocoa-specific aroma precursors that originate from degradation of the vicilin-like globulins.

View all grants