Walt Klimecki, DVM, PhD

Associate Professor, Veterinary Medicine

About Dr. Klimecki

Dr. Klimecki received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Ohio State University in 1984 and his PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Arizona in 1994. Following his postdoctoral work at the Arizona Cancer Center, he was one of the founding members of a biotech company started within Motorola in Tempe, Arizona. He returned to the University of Arizona in 2000, where he was a human genetics and toxicology researcher. He currently holds appointments in the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Nursing, the College of Medicine, and the College of Public Health. He is a member of the Arizona Respiratory Center and the BIO5 Institute.

To date, Dr. Klimecki has been the Principal Investigator of research studies totaling approximately $6,000,000 in extramural funding.  His research program focuses on the health consequences of environmental exposure to metals, particularly arsenic.  His studies have explored the complicated balance between the particular DNA sequence “versions” of genes we inherit from our ancestors and the particular environmental exposures we experience throughout our lives. Toxicity resulting from these exposures is often a combination of the particular versions of genes that we inherit that produce our unique biological systems, together with the underlying mechanisms by which chemicals can damage biological systems. His research group published the first genetic association study of arsenic-exposed humans, demonstrating the impact of commonly inherited genetic variation and "safe" versus "unsafe" metabolic pathways of arsenic biotransformation.

Dr. Klimecki's teaching foci have included pharmacology, toxicology, epidemiology, immunology, and human medical genetics. He has been actively involved in the university-wide movement toward evidence-based pedagogy and recently led the development of the first academic undergraduate program in the history of the College of Pharmacy, the B. Sc. degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Klimecki was the  Principle Investigator of an NIH-funded grant to design and implement a program that provides research training and experience in the environmental health sciences to STEM-underrepresented undergraduates.  That award is now in its second 5-year funding period.  His administrative work at UA includes serving as an interim Department Head, leading UA Graduate Council as Chair, and Director of the Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate program.  At the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Klimecki teaches Pharmacology in several systems courses, the summer Selectives course, and the 4-semester longitudinal course in Clinical Logic.


  • Ph.D. Pharmacology and Toxicology
    • University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • D.V.M. Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
    • The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
  • B.S. Animal Science
    • The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio