David Dolivo, PhD Student
Hometown: Elgin, IL
Previous degree/school where degree was earned:
BS Biochemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Why did you choose WPI for your PhD?
I first heard about WPI at a graduate school fair in Chicago. After looking into the department of Biology and Biotechnology, I was drawn particularly to the research of several faculty members, including that of Tanja Dominko. The research taking place at WPI was, to me, intriguing due to the tremendous amount of collaboration taking place not only between labs but between departments and even between separate institutions in the vicinity. The IGERT fellowship made WPI an even more attractive institution for me, as it allows for interdisciplinary training and professional development experiences that most PhD students never get to go through.
In which professor's lab are you currently working?
Briefly describe the research:
The Dominko lab focuses on the induction of regeneration competence in human fibroblasts. In order to do this, we investigate the signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of stem cell genes, and we attempt to induce regeneration competence via endogenous expression of these genes via addition of transcription factors or alterations of cell-culture conditions. The potential for these cells to be used in therapy is enormous, as endogenously expressed stem-like cells lack the risk of oncogenesis that arises when pluripotency is induced via transgenes, and cells derived from a patient-specific source circumvent issues of cellular immunity that usually accompany tissue transplantation.