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Contact Information

Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 3004
Phone: +1-508-831-4108
Fax: +1-508-831-5936

Tanja Dominko

Our lab investigates the molecular basis of stem cell gene activation in human fibroblasts during induced pluripotency. We evaluate the role of FGF2 isoforms independently and in combination in order to identify key molecular mechanisms and pathways. We investigate FGF2 targets and partners during this phenotypic change.  Last, we investigate the role of low O2-induced chromatin modifiers JMJD histone demethylases in activation, and the maintenance of this FGF2-induced stem-like phenotype.

The second research area focuses on identification and characterization of Xenopus laevis oocyte components that possess reprogramming activity and can convert human fibroblasts into multipotent stem cells.

At the undergraduate level, I teach Regulation of Gene Expression and Introduction to Biotechnology in alternate years. At the graduate level, I teach classes on cell cycle regulation, stem cell biology, and applications, and I lead a journal club on gametogenesis, fertilization, and embryogenesis. 

Research Interests

  • Stem cell biology
  • Nuclear reprogramming and gene expression
  • Epigenetics
  • Regenerative biology
  • Stem cell niche


  • DVM, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1985
  • MS, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1988
  • PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 1996
  • Postdoc., University of Wisconsin-Madison 1997
  • Postdoc., Oregon Health Sciences University - Primate Center, Portland, OR 2000

Featured Publications

  • Page, R., Malcuit, C. and T. Dominko (2011). Methods for inducing pluripotentcy In: Regenerating the Heart – Stem Cells and the Cardiovascular System. Springer Publishers, Ira Cohen and Glenn Gaudette, Editors, pp. (in press)
  • Ambady, S., Kashpur, O., Kole, D., Malcuit, C., Holmes, W.F., Page, R., and T. Dominko (2010). Embryonic NANOG and its pseudogene NANOG P8 are expressed in a variety of human cells. Int J Dev Biol. 2010 Nov 19. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 21136380.
  • Dominko, T. (2010). Cellular reprogramming: Current technology/perspectives and generation of induced pluripotent cells. In: Human Stem Cell Technology and Biology: A Research Guide and Laboratory Manual. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, (Stein, G.S. et al., Editors), pp 297-310.
  • Page, R., Holmes, W.F., Kole, D., Huntress, V., Vilner, L., Ambady, S., Kashpur, O., Vojtic, I., Whitton, H. and T. Dominko (2009). Induction of stem cell gene expression in adult human dermal fibroblasts without transgenes. Cloning and Stem Cells, 11:417-426.
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