Kristine Willett

Chair and Professor of Pharmacology & Environmental Toxicology in BioMolecular Sciences and Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Kristine L Willett

Dr. Kristine L. Willett is Chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi.

Research Interests

  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Basis of Health and Disease
  • Lead Poisoning Prevention


Dr. Kristine L. Willett 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 UM since 2000 including both graduate and undergraduate courses in toxicology and environmental toxicology. She also teaches classes in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. During her time at UM, she has mentored more than 20 Masters and PhD students, and around 50 high school and undergraduate students in her laboratory. She also serves at the Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program Coordinator.

Dr. Willett’s research has been funded over the years by NIDA, NIEHS, NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Her lab studies the developmental, reproductive and multigenerational impacts of cannabinoids and benzo[a]pyrene exposure using fish models. She also has studied nanosilver mechanisms of toxicity and the consequences of the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and climate change on oysters. She is also part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers helping to engage Mississippi communities to decrease lead exposure via drinking water. Throughout her career she has led research projects which were designed to fundamentally understand the molecular mechanisms underlying toxicity and/or shed light on the potential adverse outcomes due to relevant anthropogenic contamination.

Dr. Willett is active in both the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and the Society of Toxicology (SOT) where she is especially involved in aspects of toxicology undergraduate education. She also serves as Deputy Editor of Toxicological Sciences, the SOT journal. She earned the 2022 UM Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award and the 2017 UM Faculty Achievement Award.

Dr. Willett earned her BA in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina and a PhD in Toxicology from Texas A&M University. She was a Dreyfus postdoctoral fellow in environmental chemistry at Indiana University followed by a RJR Leon Golberg postdoctoral fellow in toxicology at Duke University prior to moving to UM.


B.A. Chemistry, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1993)

Ph.D. Toxicology, Texas A&M University (1997)