Walter C. Prozialeck, Ph.D.

Professor
Downers Grove, IL

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About

Walter C. Prozialeck has had a long and distinguish career as a biomedical educator and researcher. He received his Ph.D in Pharmacology from Thomas Jefferson University in 1978 and then completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in biochemical psychopharmacology at the Medical College of PA.  From 1980-1991, Dr. Prozialeck served on the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. In 1991, he joined the Department of Pharmacology at CCOM, and in 1997 he was appointed chairman of the department, a position that he held until 2018.  Dr. Prozialeck has had extensive experience in teaching Pharmacology to medical, pharmacy, optometry, dental and allied health students, and has lectured in numerous CME programs for physicians and other healthcare professionals. In addition, he has been extensively involved in research in the areas of psychopharmacology, toxicology and drug policy. Dr. Prozialeck’s current research is focused on elucidating the mechanisms by which the environmental pollutant cadmium produces its adverse effects, along with identifying early biomarkers of cadmium toxicity and kidney injury.  He is also interested in emerging herbal medications and publishes reviewers in that area.  He has published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters.  In addition, he has obtained over $3.0 million dollars in NIH support for his research.  In 2021, Dr. Prozialeck was the recipient of the Career Achievement Awards from the Metals Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology. Dr. Prozialeck has served on several NIH study sections and as Associate Editor of the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.  He is a former President of the Great Lakes Chapter of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the Midwest Regional Chapter-Society of Toxicology. 

Title
Professor

Campus
Downers Grove, IL

College
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
College of Pharmacy
Downers Grove Campus
College of Graduate Studies - IL

Department
Pharmacology

Program
Biomedical Sciences (M.A.)
Biomedical Sciences (M.B.S.)
Dental Medicine
Optometry
Osteopathic Medicine
Pharmacy
Physician Assistant Studies

Call My
Office

630-515-6385

Send Me
a Message

wprozi@midwestern.edu

Education

Thomas Jefferson University | 1978 | Ph.D.
Juniata College | 1974 | B.S.

Research

Dr. Prozialeck is currently involved in several areas of research. Over the past 35 years, his primary research has focused on the area of cadmium toxicology. Cadmium (Cd) is an important industrial and environmental pollutant that currently ranks seventh on the EPA's priority list of hazardous substances. With the low-level patterns of Cd exposure that are common in humans, the primary target of toxicity is the kidney, where Cd causes a generalized dysfunction of the proximal tubule. Even though Cd is recognized as a major cause of kidney disease in many parts of the world, the mechanisms by which Cd damages the kidney have yet to be elucidated. Moreover, current methods for monitoring exposed populations for early signs of Cd nephrotoxicity are inadequate. Dr. Prozialeck's research is aimed at addressing each of these important issues. One project centers on the possible role of the cadherins family of calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecules as molecular targets of cadmium toxicity in the kidney. A second project is aimed at characterizing the use of biomarker molecules such as Kim-1 and cystatin C as indicators of cadmium-induced kidney injury. A third project, being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Michael Fay of the MWU Department of Biomedical Sciences, is aimed at examining the possible roles of micro-RNA's in the pathophysiology of cadmium nephrotoxicity. In addition to his cadmium research, Dr. Prozialeck is involved in a collaborative research with Drs. Marc Scheetz and Brooke Griffin, of the Chicago College of Pharmacy, that is aimed at developing formulation and dosing protocols for the antimicrobial drug vancomycin with reduced potential for causing kidney damage. Dr. Prozialeck is also interested in herbal medications such as kratom and marijuana. Dr. Prozialeck publishes literature reviews and is involved in efforts to formulate rational policies for the use and regulation of these agents.

Publications

  1. Prozialeck, W.C., Avery, B.A., Boyer, E.W., Grundmann, O., Henningfield, J.E., Kruegel, A.C., McMahon, L.R., McCurdy, C.R., Swogger, M.T., Veltri, C., Singh, D. Kratom policy: the challenge of balancing therapeutic potential with public safety. International Journal of Drug Policy, 70: 70-77 https://doi.org/10.10116/j.drugpo.2019.05.003, PMID:31103778 (2019).
  2. Pais, G.M., Avedissian, S.N., Rhodes, N.J., Lodise, T.P., Prozialeck, W.C., Lamar, P.C., Cliff, C., Gulati, A., Fitzgerald, J. Downes, K., Zuppa, A. and Scheetz, M.H.. Comparative performance of novel urinary biomarkers for vancomycin induced kidney injury according to timeline of injury. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 63:e00079-19. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00079-19, PMID: 30988153 (2019).
  3. Saref, A., Suraya, S., Singh, D., Grundmann, O., Narayanan, S., Swogger, M.T., Prozialeck, W.C., Boyer, E.W., Chen, N. J.-Y., Balsingam, V.B. Self-reported prevalence and severity of opioid and kratom (Mitragyna speciosa, korth) side effects, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, April 20:111876. Doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.111876, PMID: 31014959 (2019).
  4. Joshi, M.D., Pais, G., Chang, J., Hlakhenka, K., Avedissian, S.N., Gulati, A., Prozialeck, W.C., Lamar, P.C., Zhang, Z., Scheetz, M.H. and Griffin, B. Evaluation of fetal and maternal vancomycin-induced kidney injury during pregnancy in a rat model, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, PMID: 31332061, pii: AAC.00761-19. Doi: 10.1128/AAC.00761-19. 63:e00761-19,  (2019).
  5. Browar, A.W., Leavitt, L.L., Prozialeck, W.C. and Edwards, J.R. Levels of cadmium in human mandibular bone. Toxics, 7(2). pii:E31. doi: 10.3390/toxics7020031. PMID: 31167416 (2019).
  6. Saref A., Suraya, S., Singh, D., Grundmann, O., Narayanan, S., Swogger, M.T., Prozialeck, W.C., Boyer, E. and Balasingam V. Self-Reported Data on Regular Consumption of Illicit Drugs and HIV Risk Behaviors after Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa Korth.) Initiation among Illicit Drug Users in Malaysia. J Psychoactive Drugs, 52: 138-146. Doi: 10.1080/02791072.2019.1686553 PMID: 31682782 (2019)
  7. Rockwood, S., Mason, D., Lord, R., Lamar, P., Prozialeck, W. and Al-Nakkash, L. Genistein diet improves body weight, serum glucose and triglyceride levels in both male and female ob/ob mice. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity 12:2011-2021. doi: 10.2147/DMSO. S216312.e Collection, PMID: 3168680, (2019).
  8. Avedissian, S.N., Pais, G.M. Liu, J. O’Donnell, J.N., Lodise, T., Prozialeck, W., Lamar, P.C., Neely, M., and Scheetz, M.H.  The pharmacodynamics-toxicodynamic relationship of AUC and CMAX in vancomycin-induced kidney injury.  Open Forum Infectious Disease supplement 2, Oct. 6. S573 (2019).
  9. Pais, G.M., Liu, J., Avedissian, S.N., Xanthos, T., Chalkias, A., d’Alojas, E., Loco, E., Gilchrist, A., Prozialeck, W.C., Rhodes, N.J., Lodise, T.P., Fitzgerald, J.C., Downes, K., Zuppa, A.F. and Scheetz, M.H. Lack of synergistic nephrotoxicity between vancomycin and piperacillin-tazobactam nephrotoxicity in a rat model and confirmatory cellular model. J. Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 75: 1228-1236. pii. dkz563. Doi: 10.1093/jac/dkz563, PMID: 31968633 (2020).
  10. Singh, D., Narayanan, S., Surya, S., Saref, A, Grundman, O., Prozialeck, W.C., Corraza, O., Swogger, M.T., Griffin, H.O., Balasingam, M.V. Public Perceptions Toward Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) use in Malaysia, J. Psychoactive Drugs, 52: 282-288, doi. 10.1080/02791072.2020.1738603, E-pub ahead of print, PMID: 32153252, (2020).
  11. Grundmann, O., Brown, P.N., Boyer, E.W., Swogger, M.T., Walsh, Z., Prozialeck, W., Kruegel, A.C., Veltri, C.A., Dudley, S. Kratom-risk analysis in context is essential. Pharmacotherapy 39:1119-1120, DOI: 101002/phar.2336, PMID: 31729073, (2019).
  12. Rizkalla, M., Kowalkowski, B. and Prozialeck, W.C. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome: a common but underappreciated clinical problem. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 120: 174-180, PMID 3207790 (2020).
  13. Edwards, J., Kowal, M., Van Dreel, A., Lamar, P.C. and Prozialeck, W.C. A method for the evaluation of site-specific nephrotoxic injury in the intact rat kidney. Toxics 8: pii. E4. doi. 10.3390toxics8010004, PMID 31968633, (2020).
  14. Grundmann, O., Singh, D., Smith, K.E., Raffa, R.B., Garcia-Romeu, A., Babin, J.K., Prozialeck, W.C. and Henningfield, J.E. Kratom use in the United States: a diverse and complex profile. Addiction, 2020 Jun 30. Doi:10.1111/add.15173. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32602213 (2020).
  15. Prozialeck, W.C., Edwards, J.R., Lamar, P.C., Plotkin, B.J., Sigar, I.M., Grundmann, O. and Veltri, C.A. Evaluation of the mitragynine content, levels of toxic metals and the presence of microbes in kratom products purchased in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Jul 30;17(15):5512. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17155512, PMID: 32751712 (2020).
  16. Singh, D., Brown, P.N., Cinosi, E., Garcia-Romeu, A., McCurdy, C.R., Mc Mahon, L.R., Prozialeck, W.C., Smith, K.E., Swogger, M.T., Veltri, C., Walsh, Z. and Grundmann, O. Current and future impact of COVID-19 on kratom (Mitragynine speciosa, Korth) supply and use.  Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11:574483, DOI: 10.3389/psyt2020574483. eCollection  PMID: 33324252 (2020).
  17. Metastassio, A., Prevete, E., Singh, D., Grundmann, O., Prozialeck, W. Bersani, G. and Corazza, O. Can kratom be used to mitigate pain and other symptoms of COVID-19? Front Psychiatry 11:594816. doi: 10.3389/psyt2020.594816. eCollection 2020. PMID: 33329145 (2020).
  18. Avedissian, S.N., Pais, G., Liu, J., O’Donnell, J.N., Lodise, T.P., Neely, M., Prozialeck, W.C., Lamar, P.C., Becher, L., Scheetz, M. The pharmacodynamic-toxicodynamic relationship of AUC and CMAX in vancomycin induced kidney injury in an animal model. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 65: e01945-20. Doi;10.1128/AAC.01945-20, PMID: 33318004 (2021). 
  19. Grundmann, O., Brown, P.N., Boyer, E.W., Swogger, M.T., Walsh, Z., Prozialeck, W., Kruegel, A.C., Veltri, C.A., Dudley, S. Kratom-risk analysis in context is essential. Pharmacotherapy 39:1119-1120, DOI: 101002/phar.2336, PMID: 31729073, (2019).
  20. Prozialeck, W.C., Edwards, J.R., Lamar, P.C., Plotkin, B.J., Sigar, I.M., Grundmann, O. and Veltri, C.A. Evaluation of the mitragynine content, levels of toxic metals and the presence of microbes in kratom products purchased in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Jul 30;17(15):5512. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17155512, PMID: 32751712 (2020).
  21. Singh, D., Brown, P.N., Cinosi, E., Garcia-Romeu, A., McCurdy, C.R., Mc Mahon, L.R., Prozialeck, W.C., Smith, K.E., Swogger, M.T., Veltri, C., Walsh, Z. and Grundmann, O. Current and future impact of COVID-19 on kratom (Mitragynine speciosa, Korth) supply and use.  Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11:574483, DOI: 10.3389/psyt2020574483. eCollection  PMID: 33324252 (2020).
  22. Metastassio, A., Prevete, E., Singh, D., Grundmann, O., Prozialeck, W. Bersani, G. and Corazza, O. Can kratom be used to mitigate pain and other symptoms of COVID-19? Front Psychiatry 11:594816. doi: 10.3389/psyt2020.594816. eCollection 2020. PMID: 33329145 (2020).
  23. Avedissian, S.N., Pais, G., Liu, J., O’Donnell, J.N., Lodise, T.P., Neely, M., Prozialeck, W.C., Lamar, P.C., Becher, L., Scheetz, M. The pharmacodynamic-toxicodynamic relationship of AUC and CMAX in vancomycin induced kidney injury in an animal model. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 65: e01945-20. Doi;10.1128/AAC.01945-20, PMID: 33318004 (2021).
  24. Singh D., Narayanan S., Vicknasingam B, Prozialeck W.C., Smith K.E., Corazza O, Henningfield J.E., Grundmann O. The use of kratom (mitragyna speciosa Korth.) among people who co-use heroin and methamphetamine in Malaysia. J Addict Med. 2021 May 17. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000876. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34001777.

Awards

1989      Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching

1992,1994-1997, 1999, 2000, 2015    Teacher of the Year Awards by second year medical students at CCOM

1999    Irvin M. Korr Award for excellence in biomedical research from the American Osteopathic Association     

2000, 2002, 2009    Original research images selected for cover art on issues of the journal, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology

2002, 2003, 2008, 2011  Teacher of the Year Awards by second year pharmacy students at CCP.     

2003                        Plaque of Appreciation for service to the Master’s in Biomedical Sciences Program at Midwestern University.

2004                        Awarded honorary unit “Coin of Excellence” by 330th Army Medical Brigade.

2005                        Plaque of Appreciation for service to the Great Lakes Chapter of ASPET

2006                        Faculty Recognition Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.

2007                        Littlejohn Award for Academic Service, presented by Midwestern University

2008-present           Included in Juniata College listing of distinguished alumni, http://www.juniata.edu/about/distinguished-alumni.php 

2010                         Educator of the Year Award, from the American Osteopathic Foundation, https://aof.org/grants-awards/physicians-educators-and-researchers/educator-year/past-recipients

2011                        Plaque of Appreciation for Service to Midwest Regional Chapter, Society of Toxicology

2011                        Midwestern University Pharmacy Teacher of the Year Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

2013                        “Golden Apple” Award for excellence in teaching presented by the Chicago College of Pharmacy.

2015                         Service Recognition and Career Achievement Award by Great Lakes Chapter of ASPET.

2017                         Basic Science Teacher of the Year Award by Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2017.

2019                         Career Achievement Award presented by CCOM Alumni Association.

2021                         Career Achievement Award from Metals Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology