Elizabeth V. Wattenberg PhD » Faculty

Research Interests:Molecular mechanisms by which different types of carcinogenic agents interfere with the signaling pathways that control cell fate and function.

Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Address Division of Environmental Health Sciences Mayo Mail Code #807 420 Delaware Street SE Minneapolis MN 55455 Work Phone: 612-626-0184
Photo of Elizabeth V. Wattenberg PhD


Elizabeth Wattenberg earned a Ph.D. in toxicology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on molecular toxicology, particularly the mechanisms by which carcinogenic agents modulate cellular signal transduction pathways. She has also conducted research in the fields of risk assessment and environmental regulation. Her teaching interests include toxicology, carcinogenesis, and tumor biology.

Ph.D., Toxicology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology B.S., Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University

Professional Experience:

  • 2000-present, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
  • 1994-2000, Assistant Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
  • 1990-1994, Environmental Toxicologist Section of Health Risk Assessment, Minnesota Department of Health
  • 1989-1990, Postdoctoral Fellow, Gray Freshwater Biological Institute, University of Minnesota


  • Editorial Board of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2003-present;
  • Pathobiology-3 Panel, Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, 2003;
  • Cell Function & Metabolism Study Section, American Heart Association, 2004-2007;
  • National Institutes of Health Oncology Fellowship Study Section, 2005 – 2007, 2011;
  • National Institutes of Health Special Emphasis Panel Study Section, Minority Biomedical Research program 2009;
  • Work Group for the Minnesota Chemical Regulation Project, 2010-present;
  • Interdisciplinary Molecular Sciences & Training Review Panel: Genes, Genomes, and Genetics, 2011


Charles N. Hewitt Creative Teaching Award. School of Public Health. University of Minnesota. 2011

Selected Publications:

  • Wattenberg EV. Palytoxin: Exploiting a novel skin tumor promoter to explore signal transduction and carcinogenesis. Am. J. Physiol. Cell. Physiol. 292:C24-32 (2007). PMCID: PMC1769420
  • Lei J, Mariash CN, Bhargava M, Wattenberg EV, Ingbar DH. T3 increases Na,K-ATPase activity via a MAPK ERK1/2 dependent pathway in rat adult alveolar epithelial cells. Am. J. Physiol. Lung. Cell Mol. Physiol. 294(4):L749-754 (2008).
  • Zeliadt NA, Mauro LJ, and Wattenberg EV. Reciprocal Regulation of Extracellular Signal Regulated Kinase 1/2 and Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase Phosphatase-3. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 232:408-417 (2008). PMCID: PMC2581931
  • Wollack, JW, Zeliadt NA, Mullen DG, Amundson G, Geier S, Falkum S, Wattenberg EV, Barany G, Distefano MD. Multifunctional Prenylated Peptides for Live Cell Analysis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131: 7293-7303 (2009). PMCID: PMC2774768
  • Charlson AT, Zeliadt NA, and Wattenberg EV. Extracellular signal regulated kinase 5 mediates signals triggered by the novel tumor promoter palytoxin. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 241:143-153 (2009). PMCID: PMC2784154
  • Li, L, Perdigao, J, Pegg, AE, Lao, Y, Hecht,SS, Lindgren, BR, Reardon, JT, Sancar, A, Wattenberg, EV, Peterson, LA. The influence of repair pathways on the cytotoxicity and mutagenicity induced by the pyridyloxobutylation pathway of tobacco specific nitrosamines. Chem Res Toxicol. 22: 1464-72 (2009). PMCID: PMC2787827
  • Wollack, JW, Zeliadt NA, Mullen DG, Barany G, Wattenberg EV, Distefano MD. Investigation of the sequence and length dependence for cell-penetrating prenylated peptides. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 20:161-163 (2010). PMCID: PMC283455630.
  • Ochocki JD, Igbavboa U. Wood WG, Wattenberg EV, Distefano MD. Enlarging the scope of cell penetrating prenylated peptides to include farnesylated “CAAX” box sequences and diverse cell types. Chem Biol DrugDes. 76:107-15 (2010). PMCID: PMC2919362
  • Wattenberg EV. . Noncarcinogenic effects of cigarette smoke on the respiratory tract. In Comprehensive Toxicology, 2nd Edition. Vol. 9, Toxicology of the Respiratory Tarct. Yost, G. S. ed. Elsevier: Oxford, 379-388 (2010).
  • Wattenberg EV. Modulation of protein kinase signaling cascades by palytoxin. Toxicon, 57: 440-448 (2011).
  • Ochocki JD, Mullen DG, Wattenberg EV, Distefano MD. Evaluation of a Cell Penetrating Prenylated Peptide Lacking an Intrinsic Fluorophore via in situ Click Reaction.  Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 21:4998-5001 (2011).
  • Abate-Pella, D, Zeliadt NA, Ochocki JD, Warmka JK, Dore TM, Blank DA, Wattenberg EV, Distefano MD. Photochemical Modulation of Ras-Mediated Signal Transduction using Caged Farnesyltransferase Inhibitors: Activation via One- and Two-Photon Excitation. ChemBioChem. 13:1009-16 (2012)
  • Warmka, JK, Solberg, EL, Zeliadt, NA, Zeliadt, Srinivasan, B, Charlson, AT, Xing, C, Wattenberg, EV. Inhibition of mitogen activated protein kinases increases the sensitivity of A549 lung cancer cells to the cytotoxicity induced by a kava chalcone analog. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 424:488-492, 2012.