Mirek Styblo

Dr. Styblo with colleagues in Mexico.

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Mirek Styblo, PhD

Associate Professor, Nutrition

Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences & Engineering


Dr. Styblo’s research focuses on topics that require expertise in both nutrition and toxicology and typically involve a translational or interdisciplinary approach. Read More

Dr. Styblo is a biochemist with background in nutritional biochemistry and biochemical toxicology. A major portion of his research is focused on environmental health and disease associated with exposures to environmental toxins including the study of carcinogens, obesogens, and diabetogens. Dr. Styblo’s research thus focuses on topics that typically involve a translational or interdisciplinary approach such as: (1) metabolic interactions between essential and toxic trace elements found in the food chain or in the environment, (2) the study of environmentally-induced diseases (e.g., cancer or diabetes associated with exposure to arsenic) or the role of diet or a specific nutrient in prevention of these diseases (3) modulation of the therapeutic efficacy or toxic side effects of anticancer drugs by diet or specific nutrients, and (4) development of analytical techniques for identification of biomarkers of health effects of the essential and toxic trace elements.

Dr. Styblo is the principal investigator (PI) for the recently funded, UNC-based Virtual Consortium for Translational and Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (ViCTER). The main goal of ViCTER is (1) to characterize associations between chronic exposures to arsenic in drinking water and risk of diabetes, (2) to identify molecular mechanisms underlying the diabetogenic effects of arsenic and its metabolites, (3) to examine roles of diet and obesity in the development of arsenic-induced diabetes, (4) to develop genetic, epigenetic and metabolomic markers that can be used to identify individuals with increased susceptibility to diabetes associated with exposures to environmental arsenic, and (5) to characterize phenotype and develop a treatment strategy for arsenic-associated diabetes. Dr. Styblo’s has also been funded by several grants from US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for translational research of the diabetogenic effects of chronic exposure to arsenic in several regions of Mexico with high arsenic levels in drinking water.

The ultimate goal of Dr. Styblo’s work is to characterize the role of essential and toxic trace elements in etiology of common human diseases and to identify molecular, metabolic and genetic markers that would facilitate risk assessment, prevention or treatment of these diseases.

In 1998 he received the Young Investigator Award from the Clinical Nutrition Research Center at UNC Chapel Hill. He was nominated for the Best Paper in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology in 2001. From 2001 to 2007, his paper was the most cited in Archives of Toxicology. In 2008, he won the Gillings Innovation Laboratory award, and in 2010 he was awarded the Virtual Consortium for Translational/Transdisciplinary Environmental Research grant from NIEHS.

Active Projects

  • In utero exposure to arsenic, links to epigenetic alterations and disease
  • Environmental arsenic and diabetes mellitus
  • Human Health Effects of Environmental Pollutants


  • Czech Republic
  • Mexico
  • United States



2302 Michael Hooker Research Center, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Campus Box 7461
Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-7461
T: 919-966-5721