Kristine L. Willett, Ph.D., is chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi. A professor of pharmacology and environmental toxicology, she has taught at the university for the past 17 years, including both graduate and undergraduate courses in toxicology and environmental toxicology, and also teaches classes in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. During her time at UM, she has mentored eight master’s-level, nine doctoral-level, and 36 high school and undergraduate students in her laboratory. She also serves as the environmental toxicology graduate program coordinator.
Willett’s research has been funded over the years by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Her lab studies the developmental, reproductive, and multigenerational impacts of benzo[a]pyrene exposure using fish models. She also studies nanosilver mechanisms of toxicity and the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on oysters. Throughout her career, she has led research projects that were designed to fundamentally understand the molecular mechanisms underlying toxicity and/or shed light on the potential adverse outcomes due to relevant anthropogenic contamination. New work in her lab uses zebrafish to investigate drug-resistant epilepsy, including the efficacy versus toxicity of cannabidiol and +9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Willett is active in both the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, where she is a member of the board of directors, as well as the Society of Toxicology, where she is the past president of the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty section and past chair of the Undergraduate Education subcommittee. She is also an associate editor of Toxicological Sciences.
Willett earned her bachelor’s in chemistry at the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in toxicology from Texas A&M University. She was a Dreyfus postdoctoral fellow in environmental chemistry at Indiana University and then an RJR Leon Golberg postdoctoral fellow in toxicology at Duke University.