Kurt Kwast

Associate Professor (Teaching) of Biological Sciences
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, 2005-08-2017-08
    • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, 1997-01-2005-08

    PostDoctoral Appointments

    • American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado,
  • 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, 2008-2010
    • Calcium Carbonate Biomineralization: A Geologic Record of Biological Response to Rapid Environmental, (UIUC Campus Research Board), Bruce Fouke $25,000, 2007-2009
    • Oxygen sensing by the respiratory chain, (National Institutes of Health, R01), Kurt E. Kwast $1,094,045, 2000-2007
    • Development of Oligonucleotide Microarrays for the Analysis of Oxygen-Sensing Mechanisms, (UIUC Campus Research Board), Kurt E. Kwast $25,001, 2001-2003
    • Role of cytochrome c oxidase in oxygen sensing, (American Heart Association, Midwest Affliate), Kurt E. Kwast $150,000, 1998-2002
    • Genomic Analyses of Oxygen-Regulated Gene Expression, (Research Genetics), Kurt E. Kwast $125,000, 1999-2001
    • Oxygen-Regulated Fermentation Facility, (UIUC Campus Research Board), Kurt E. Kwast $25,001, 1998-2000
    • Structure-Function of Yeast Flavohemoglobin: An Oxygen Sensor?, (American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship), Kurt E. Kwast $25,932, 1995-1997
    • Function of cytochrome c oxidase subunit isoforms, (American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship), Kurt E. Kwast $25,932, 1994-1996
  • 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,
    • “A Method for Recovering Network Structure from Genomic Expression Profiles using Kullback-Leibler Distance and Consensus Share” , Yeast Genetics and Molecular BiologyTalk/Oral Presentation,
    • “Oxygen-responsive gene network structure: bridging the gap from transcriptional profiling to physiological insight” , University of Nevad, Las VegasLecture/Seminar, Invited,
    • “Transcriptional Networks in Yeast” , Understanding Complex Systems, UIUC Department of PhysicsTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited,
    • “Genomic Analyses of Acclimatization to Anaerobiosis in Yeast” Lecture/Seminar, Invited, Miller Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI,
    • “Genomic Response of Yeast to Hypoxia” , Symposium on Physiological and Genetic Responses to Stressful Environments, The Power of ComparativeLecture/Seminar, Invited,
    • “Statistical Analyses of Microarray Data” , Microarray Data Analysis and Data MiningTalk/Oral Presentation, W. M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional G, Invited, UIUC,
    • “Genome-wide profiling of oxygen-sensing pathways” Lecture/Seminar, University of Illinois-Chicago, Invited, Department of Pharmacology,
    • “Oxygen sensing, hypoxia and gene regulation” , Intensivmedizin – Der Weg ins nächste Jahrhundert.” Der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internistische ITalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Linz, Austria,
    • “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,
    • “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,
    • “Genetics and systematics of the Leptasterias hexactis (Stimpson) species complex (Echinodermata: Asteroidea)” , Echinoderm ConferenceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Dauphin Island, AL,
    • “Population genetics and systematics of the Leptasterias hexactis (Stimpson) species complex (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) ” Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Washington, Invited, Friday Harbor Laboratories,
    • (Spring 2023) HBIO 301. Human Anatomy, MWF 09:00am – 09:50am, THH102
    • (Spring 2023) HBIO 400. Motor Control and Learning, MWF 11:00am – 11:50am, ZHS252
    • (Spring 2023) HBIO 420. Applied Human Physiology, MWF 10:00am – 10:50am, THH102
    • Student-Nominated Excellence in Teaching, University of Illinois, 2004-2017
    • James E. Health Award for Excellence in Teaching Physiology, University of Illinois, 2002-2003
    • Graduate School Fellowship, University of Colorado, 1993-1996
    • Dean’s Small Grant Award, University of Colorado, 1990-1994
    • 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, 1988-1990
    • Friday Harbor Laboratories Fellowship, University of Washington, 1988-1990
    • Travel Grant Award, Louisiana State University, 1987-1988
    • Graduation Magna Cum Laude, University of Miami, 1986-1988
    • Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, University of Miami, 1986-1988
  • Committees

    • HEB Laboratory Curriculum Committee, 2017-2021
    • Human & Evolutionary Biology (HEB) Courses and Curriculum Committee, 2016-2021

    Other Service to the University

    • Commencement Marshall,
  • Committees

    • “HEB Laboratory Curriculum Committee”, 2017-2021
    • “Human & Evolutionary Biology (HEB) Courses and Curriculum Committee”, 2016-2021