Education
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, Stanford California, U.S.A., 1993
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1988
  • B.S. (Hons.) in Biochemistry, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1984
  • B.S. in Biochemistry and Botany, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology

Cornelis Elferink obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and conducted a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University before initially joining the faculty at Wayne State University, and subsequently the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at UTMB where he is currently Professor and the Mary Gibbs Jones Distinguished Chair in Environmental Toxicology, and the Director of the Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine. Dr. Elferink's long-term research objective is to understand the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in liver homeostasis and liver regeneration following hepatic injury. These studies hold the promise of identifying new therapeutic targets for the treatment of various liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In related translational research, the laboratory is actively seeking to identify serum biomarkers for early detection of HCC in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infected patients at-risk for developing HCC. The approach involves proteomic strategies based on 2D-difference in gel electrophoresis and stable isotope labeling coupled to mass spectrometry, and multiplexed Selected Reaction Monitoring for use in validation studies. Successful development of serum biomarkers will enhance surveillance of millions who are HCV-positive and at risk of developing HCC. In addition, Dr. Elferink also oversees a NIEHS-funded Core Center and a separate consortium engaged in Community-Based Participatory Research examining the human health concerns of the Gulf of Mexico coastal fishing communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Research Interests
The major focus of Dr. Elferink's research is the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in liver homeostasis, with an emphasis on the AhR-mediated regulation of cell cycle control. The AhR is a ligand-activated soluble transcription factor historically studied for its role in 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, dioxin) induced toxicity. TCDD toxicity however, represents a disruption of normal AhR functions that influence fundamental physiological processes underlying growth and differentiation. Dr Elferink has found in studies using primary liver cells and mouse models that the AhR regulates hepatocyte cell cycle control by regulating G1 phase cyclin-dependent kinase activity. The long-term objectives are to garner a mechanistic understanding of AhR activity in liver regeneration following hepatic injury. These studies hold the promise of identifying new therapeutic targets for the treatment of various liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

In a second research endeavor, the laboratory is actively seeking to identify serum biomarkers for early detection of HCC in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infected patients at-risk for developing cancer. The approach involves proteomic strategies based on 2D-difference in gel electrophoresis and stable isotope labeling coupled to mass spectrometry, and multiplexed Selected Reaction Monitoring for use in validation studies. Successful development of serum biomarkers will enhance surveillance of millions who are HCV-positive and at risk of developing HCC.