Alan Dombkowski

Alan Dombkowski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Division of Clinical Pharmacology
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Children's Hospital of Michigan
3901 Beaubien Blvd. Room 3N47
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 745-6381

Research Interests: 

  • Functional genomics
  • Non-coding RNAs
  • Exosomes
  • Semi-conductor sequencing
  • Computational biology
  • Algorithm development

 Research Description:

The central theme of my research is the integration of functional genomics and computational methods to elucidate molecular mechanisms of disease and to identify potential therapeutic targets. We develop and apply computational methods and "omics" technologies to leverage the depth and dimensionality of data derived from a range of molecular levels, e.g. transcriptomics, small RNA sequencing, epigenetic events, and proteomics. We focus on characterization of cellular pathways and signaling events involved in disease progression and pathology. We are engaged in collaborative studies associated with a variety of cancers and tuberous sclerosis complex. In particular, we are investigating non-coding RNAs (e.g. microRNAs) and epigenetic events that are associated with alterations of the mTOR pathway. Our work with benign tumors that arise in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) patients may help determine why some mutations in the mTOR pathway lead to malignancies while others result in benign lesions. Our recent work has focused on the role of inter-cellular trafficking of RNAs by exosomes.

Recent Publications:

Farran B, Dyson G, Craig D, Dombkowski A, Beebe-Dimmer JL, Powell IJ, Podgorski I, Heilbrun L, Bolton S, Bock CH. A study of circulating microRNAs identifies a new potential biomarker panel to distinguish aggressive prostate cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2018;39:556-61.

Bagla S, Cukovic D, Asano E, Sood S, Luat A, Chugani HT, Chugani DC, Dombkowski AA. A distinct microRNA expression profile is associated with a[(11)C]-methyl-L-tryptophan (AMT) PET uptake in epileptogenic cortical tubers resected from patients with tuberous sclerosis complex. Neurobiol Dis. 2018;109:76-87.

Huang YW, Gu F, Dombkowski A, Wang LS, Stoner GD. Black raspberries demethylate Sfrp4, a WNT pathway antagonist, in rat esophageal squamous cell papilloma. Mol Carcinog. 2016;55:1867-75.

Edwards H, Rubenstein M, Dombkowski AA, Caldwell JT, Chu R, Xavier AC, Thummel R, Neely M, Matherly LH, Ge Y, Taub JW. Gene Signature of High White Blood Cell Count in B-Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0161539.

Rondini EA, Duniec-Dmuchowski Z, Cukovic D, Dombkowski AA, Kocarek TA. Differential Regulation of Gene Expression by Cholesterol Biosynthesis Inhibitors That Reduce (Pravastatin) or Enhance (Squalestatin 1) Nonsterol Isoprenoid Levels in Primary Cultured Mouse and Rat Hepatocytes. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2016;358:216-29.

Irish JC, Mills JN, Turner-Ivey B, Wilson RC, Guest ST, Rutkovsky A, Dombkowski A, Kappler CS, Hardiman G, Ethier SP. Amplification of WHSC1L1 regulates expression and estrogen-independent activation of ERα in SUM-44 breast  cancer cells and is associated with ERα over-expression in breast cancer. Mol Oncol. 2016;10:850-65.

Dombkowski AA, Batista CE, Cukovic D, Carruthers NJ, Ranganathan R, Shukla U,  Stemmer PM, Chugani HT, Chugani DC. Cortical Tubers: Windows into Dysregulation of Epilepsy Risk and Synaptic Signaling Genes by MicroRNAs. Cereb Cortex. 2016;26:1059-71. 

Education and Training:

Ph.D. (2001) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Computational)
M.Sc. (1999) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Biophysics
B.S. (1995) University of Houston, Houston, TX Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences (Summa Cum Laude)

Cancer Biology Courses Taught:

CB7300 Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics

Lab web site: