Kurt Kwast

Associate Professor (Teaching) of Biological Sciences
Kurt Kwast
Email kwast@usc.edu Office AHF B39


  • Ph.D. Biology, University of Colorado, 5/1995
  • M.S. Physiology, Louisiana State University, 5/1989
  • B.S. Marine Science/Biology, University of Miami, 8/1987
    • American Heart Association Fellow, University of Colorado, 1995-1997
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Associate Professor, University of Illinois, 08/2005 – 08/2017
    • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, 01/1997 – 08/2005

    Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Associate Professor (Teaching), University of Southern California, 2017-08-

    PostDoctoral Appointments

    • American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado, 1995 – 1997
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Kwast’s previous research focused primarily on how organisms acclimatize to environmental and physiological stressors. He has published more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles focused on oxygen sensing, oxygen utilization, bioenergetics, and on the control of the expression of oxygen-responsive genes. He utilized molecular, physiological, genomic and proteomic approaches to reveal oxygen-sensing pathways and networks of oxygen-responsive genes.

  • Contracts and Grants Awarded

    • Transcriptomic-Based Assessment of Coral Reef Health: Holobiont Analysis of Keystone Caribbean, (UIUC MIP Infrastructure Grant), Kurt E. Kwast, $7,500, 2009
    • Calcium Carbonate Biomineralization: A Geologic Record of Biological Response to Rapid Environmental, (UIUC Campus Research Board), Bruce Fouke, Kurt E. Kwast, Peter Yau, Scott Wilson, $25,000, 10/01/2007 – 10/01/2008
    • Oxygen sensing by the respiratory chain, (National Institutes of Health, R01), Kurt E. Kwast, $1,094,045, 04/01/2001 – 03/31/2007
    • Development of Oligonucleotide Microarrays for the Analysis of Oxygen-Sensing Mechanisms, (UIUC Campus Research Board), Kurt E. Kwast, $25,001, 10/10/2001 – 10/09/2002
    • Role of cytochrome c oxidase in oxygen sensing, (American Heart Association, Midwest Affliate), Kurt E. Kwast, $150,000, 07/01/1999 – 06/30/2002
    • Genomic Analyses of Oxygen-Regulated Gene Expression, (Research Genetics), Kurt E. Kwast, $125,000, 2000
    • Oxygen-Regulated Fermentation Facility, (UIUC Campus Research Board), Kurt E. Kwast, $25,001, 09/21/1998 – 09/20/1999
    • Structure-Function of Yeast Flavohemoglobin: An Oxygen Sensor?, (American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship), Kurt E. Kwast, $25,932, 08/01/1996 – 12/31/1996
    • Function of cytochrome c oxidase subunit isoforms, (American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship), Kurt E. Kwast, $25,932, 08/01/1995 – 07/31/1996
  • Conference Presentations

    • Collection, Analysis, and Interpretation of DNA Micorarray Data , Coral Genomics for the Non-Genomic ScientistLecture/Seminar, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program & the Natio, Invited, USFWS National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, 2009
    • A Method for Recovering Network Structure from Genomic Expression Profiles using Kullback-Leibler Distance and Consensus Share , Yeast Genetics and Molecular BiologyTalk/Oral Presentation, 2004
    • Oxygen-responsive gene network structure: bridging the gap from transcriptional profiling to physiological insight , University of Nevad, Las VegasLecture/Seminar, Invited, 2004
    • Transcriptional Networks in Yeast , Understanding Complex Systems, UIUC Department of PhysicsTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, 2004
    • Genomic Analyses of Acclimatization to Anaerobiosis in Yeast Lecture/Seminar, Invited, Miller Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI, 2002
    • Genomic Response of Yeast to Hypoxia , Symposium on Physiological and Genetic Responses to Stressful Environments, The Power of ComparativeLecture/Seminar, Invited, 2002
    • Statistical Analyses of Microarray Data , Microarray Data Analysis and Data MiningTalk/Oral Presentation, W. M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional G, Invited, UIUC, 2001
    • Genome-wide profiling of oxygen-sensing pathways Lecture/Seminar, University of Illinois-Chicago, Invited, Department of Pharmacology, 2000
    • Oxygen sensing, hypoxia and gene regulation , Intensivmedizin – Der Weg ins nächste Jahrhundert.” Der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internistische ITalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Linz, Austria, 1999
    • Oxygen-dependent isoforms of yeast cytochrome c oxidase subunit V and cytochrome c , High Alpine SeminarTalk/Oral Presentation, University of Innsbruck, Invited, Innsbruck-Schröcken, Austria, September, 1999
    • Oxygen sensing and the transcriptional regulation of oxygen-responsive genes in yeast , Oxygen Relationships: Evolutionary, Physiological, and Molecular AspectsTalk/Oral Presentation, Stanford University, Invited, Asliomar, Pacific Grove, CA, 1997
    • Genetics and systematics of the Leptasterias hexactis (Stimpson) species complex (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) , Echinoderm ConferenceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Dauphin Island, AL, 1989
    • Population genetics and systematics of the Leptasterias hexactis (Stimpson) species complex (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Washington, Invited, Friday Harbor Laboratories, 1989
  • Journal Article

    • Gnaiger, E., Assander, E., al., e. (2020). Mitochondrial physiology. Bioenergetics Communication. Vol. 2020.1 (vol.1), pp. 1 – 44.
    • Lai, L. C., Kissinger, M. T., Burke, P. V., Kwast, K. E. (2008). Comparison of the transcriptomic “stress response” evoked by antimycin A and oxygen deprivation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. BMC genomics. Vol. 9, pp. 627. PubMed Web Address
    • Parks, B. A., Jiang, L., Thomas, P. M., Wenger, C. D., Roth, M. J., Boyne, 2. n., Burke, P. V., Kwast, K. E., Kelleher, N. L. (2007). Top-down proteomics on a chromatographic time scale using linear ion trap fourier transform hybrid mass spectrometers. Analytical chemistry. Vol. 79 (21), pp. 7984-91. PubMed Web Address
    • Yeater, K. M., Chandra, J., Cheng, G., Mukherjee, P. K., Zhao, X., Rodriguez-Zas, S. L., Kwast, K. E., Ghannoum, M. A., Hoyer, L. L. (2007). Temporal analysis of Candida albicans gene expression during biofilm development. Microbiology (Reading, England). Vol. 153 (Pt 8), pp. 2373-85. PubMed Web Address
    • Lai, L. C., Kosorukoff, A. L., Burke, P. V., Kwast, K. E. (2006). Metabolic-state-dependent remodeling of the transcriptome in response to anoxia and subsequent reoxygenation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Eukaryotic cell. Vol. 5 (9), pp. 1468-89. PubMed Web Address
    • Du, Y., Parks, B. A., Sohn, S., Kwast, K. E., Kelleher, N. L. (2006). Top-down approaches for measuring expression ratios of intact yeast proteins using Fourier transform mass spectrometry. Analytical chemistry. Vol. 78 (3), pp. 686-94. PubMed Web Address
    • Lai, L. C., Kosorukoff, A. L., Burke, P. V., Kwast, K. E. (2005). Dynamical remodeling of the transcriptome during short-term anaerobiosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: differential response and role of Msn2 and/or Msn4 and other factors in galactose and glucose media. Molecular and cellular biology. Vol. 25 (10), pp. 4075-91. PubMed Web Address
    • Burke, P. V., Lai, L. C., Kwast, K. E. (2004). A rapid filtration apparatus for harvesting cells under controlled conditions for use in genome-wide temporal profiling studies. Analytical biochemistry. Vol. 328 (1), pp. 29-34. PubMed Web Address
    • Lu, X., Zhang, W., Qin, Z. S., Kwast, K. E., Liu, J. S. (2004). Statistical resynchronization and Bayesian detection of periodically expressed genes. Nucleic acids research. Vol. 32 (2), pp. 447-55. PubMed Web Address
    • Kwast, K. E., Lai, L. C., Menda, N., James, 3. r., Aref, S., Burke, P. V. (2002). Genomic analyses of anaerobically induced genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: functional roles of Rox1 and other factors in mediating the anoxic response. Journal of bacteriology. Vol. 184 (1), pp. 250-65. PubMed Web Address
    • Kwast, K. E., Burke, P. V. (2000). Oxygen dependence of expression of cytochrome c oxidase and cytochrome c genes in S. cerevisiae. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.. Vol. 475, pp. 197-208.
    • Kwast, K. E., Burke, P. V., Staahl, B. T., Poyton, R. O. (1999). Oxygen sensing in yeast: Evidence for the involvement of the respiratory chain in regulating the transcription of a subset of hypoxic genes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. Vol. 96, pp. 5446-5451.
    • Kwast, K. E., Burke, P. V., Poyton, R. O. (1998). Oxygen sensing and the transcriptional regulation of oxygen-responsive genes in yeast. Exp. Biol.. Vol. 201, pp. 1177-1195.
    • Kwast, K. E., Burke, P. V., Everts, F., Poyton, R. O. (1998). A fermentor system for regulating oxygen at low concentrations in cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.. Vol. 64, pp. 1040-1044.
    • Kwast, K. E., Burke, P. V., Brown, K., Poyton, R. O. (1997). REO1 and ROX1 are alleles of the same gene, which encodes a transcriptional repressor of hypoxic genes in yeast. Curr. Genet.. Vol. 32, pp. 377-383.
    • Zhao, X. J., Raitt, D., Burke, P. V., Clewell, A. S., Kwast, K. E., Poyton, R. O. (1996). Function and expression of flavohemoglobin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Evidence for a role in the oxidative stress response. J. Biol. Chem.. Vol. 271, pp. 25131-25138.
    • Kwast, K. E., Hand, S. C. (1996). Acute depression of mitochondrial protein synthesis during anoxia: Contributions of oxygen sensing, matrix acidification, and redox state. J. Biol. Chem.. Vol. 271, pp. 7313-7319.
    • Kwast, K. E., Hand, S. C. (1996). Oxygen and pH regulation of protein synthesis in mitochondria from Artemia franciscana embryos. Biochem. J.. Vol. 313, pp. 207-213.
    • Kwast, K. E., Shapiro, J. I., Rees, B. B., Hand, S. C. (1995). Oxidative phosphorylation and the realkalinization of intracellular pH during recovery from anoxia in Artemia franciscana embryos. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. Vol. 1232, pp. 5-12.
    • Kwast, K. E., Hand, S. C. (1993). Characterization of protein synthesis in isolated mitochondria from Artemia embryos. Am. J. Physiol.. Vol. 268, pp. R1238-R1246.
    • Kwast, K. E., Foltz, D. W., Stickle, W. B. (1990). Population genetics and systematics of the Leptasterias hexactis species complex (Echinodermata: Asteroidea). Mar. Biol.. Vol. 105, pp. 477-489.
    • Student-Nominated Excellence in Teaching, University of Illinois, 2005-2017
    • James E. Health Award for Excellence in Teaching Physiology, University of Illinois, 2002-2003
    • Graduate School Fellowship, University of Colorado, 1994-1995
    • Dean’s Small Grant Award, University of Colorado, 1991-1993
    • EPO Biology Graduate Fellowship, University of Colorado, 1992-1993
    • Outstanding Graduate Teacher Award, University of Colorado, 1991-1992
    • EPO Biology Graduate Fellowship, University of Colorado, 1990-1991
    • Fernald Award, University of Washington, 1989
    • Friday Harbor Laboratories Fellowship, University of Washington, 1989
    • Travel Grant Award, Louisiana State University, 1987-1988
    • Graduation Magna Cum Laude, University of Miami, 1987
    • Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, University of Miami, 1987
  • Committees

    • Chair, HEB Laboratory Curriculum Committee, 2018 – 2021
    • Member, Human & Evolutionary Biology (HEB) Courses and Curriculum Committee, 2017 – 2021

    Other Service to the University

    • Commencement Marshall, 2018 –
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Associate Editor, American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular & Molecular Physiology, 2000 – 2003

    Professional Memberships

    • Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, 2017 –
    • American Physiological Association, 1995 –
    • Genetics Society of America, 2000 – 2008
    • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1998 – 2008
    • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 1998 – 2008

    Review Panels

    • National Institutes of Health, Genetics Study Section, 2001 – 2003
    • American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate Consortium, 1998 – 2000
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