Hiromi Tanaka, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

  • B.S., Tottori University, Japan, 1995
  • M.S., Tottori University Faculty of Medicine, Japan, 1997
  • Ph.D., Tottori University Faculty of Medicine, Japan, 2000
  • Postdoctoral Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA, 2000-2003
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, 2003-2006

Currently Dr. Tanaka's research studies mechanisms of genomic instability that cause tumorigenesis.  The lab is developing innovative and quantitative assays for early cancer detection and measurement of chromosomal end-to-end fusions as a genetic biomarker.  Chromosomal end-to-end fusion (or "telomere fusion") is a major hallmark of telomere dysfunction, which is likely a key driving force behind the genomic instability observed in early cancer lesions.  Since genomic instability is one of the earliest neoplastic changes known to occur in tumorigenesis, determining its cause is critical for understanding the etiology of cancer for early detection and therapeutic purposes.


Wu Xi and Tanaka H. Aberrant reduction of telomere repetitive sequences in plasma cell-free DNA for early breast cancer detection. Oncotarget. 2015 Aug 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Nakshatri H, Appaiah HN, Anjanappa M, Gilley D, Tanaka H, Badve S, Crooks PA, Mathews W, Sweeney C, Bhat-Nakshatri P. NF-κB-dependent and -independent epigenetic modulation using the novel anti-cancer agent DMAPT. Cell Death and Disease 6:e1608, 2015.

Tanaka H*, Beam JB, Caruana K. [*corresponding author] The presence of telomere fusion in sporadic colon cancer independently of disease stage, TP53/KRAS mutation status, mean telomere length, and telomerase activity. Neoplasia 16:814-823, 2014

Tanaka H*, Abe S, Huda N, Tu L, Beam MJ, Grimes B, Gilley D* [*shared corresponding author] Telomere fusions in early human breast carcinoma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:14098-103, 2012

Abe S, Tanaka H, Notsu T, Horike S, Fujisaki C, Qi D, Ohhira T, Gilley D, Oshimura M, Kugoh, H. Localization of an hTERT repressor region on human chromosome 3p21.3 using chromosome engineering. Genome Integrity, 1:6, 2010.

Huang L, Harkenrider M, Thompson M, Zeng P, Tanaka H, Gilley D, Ingram DA, Bonanno JA, Yoder MC. A hierarchy of endothelial colony forming cell activity is displayed by bovine corneal endothelial cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 51:3943-3949, 2010 

Huda N*, Tanaka H*, Mendonca MS, Gilley D. [*authors contributed equally].  Damage-induced phosphorylation of TRF2 is required for the rapid stage of DNA double-strand break repair. Mol Cell Biol 29:3597-3604, 2009.

Gilley D, Herbert BS, Huda N, Tanaka H, Reed T.  Factors impacting human telomere homeostasis and age-related disease.  Mech Ageing Dev 129:27-34, 2008.

Huda N, Tanaka H, Herbert BS, Reed T, Gilley D.  Shared environmental factors associated with telomere length maintenance in elderly male twins.  Aging Cell 6:709-713, 2007.

Tanaka H, Mendonca MS, Bradshaw PS, Hoelz DJ, Malkas LH, Meyn MS, Gilley D.  DNA damage-induced phosphorylation of the human telomere-associated protein TRF2.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 102:15539-15544, 2005.

Gilley D, Tanaka H, Herbert BS.  Telomere dysfunction in aging and cancer.  Int J Biochem Cell Biol 37:1000-1013, 2005.

Tanaka H, Horikawa I, Barrett JC, Oshimura M.  Evidence for inactivation of distinct telomerase repressor genes in different types of human cancers.  Int J Cancer 115:653-657, 2005.

Ingram DA, Mead LE, Tanaka H, Meade V, Fenoglio A, Mortell K, Pollok K, Ferkowicz MJ, Gilley D, Yoder MC.  Identification of a novel hierarchy of endothelial progenitor cells using human peripheral and umbilical cord blood.  Blood 104:2752-2760, 2004.

Gilley D*, Tanaka H*, Hande MP, Kurimasa A, Li GC, Oshimura M, Chen DJ. [*authors contributed equally].  DNA-PKcs is critical for telomere capping.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 98:15084-15088, 2001.

Tanaka H, Horikawa I, Kugoh H, Shimizu M, Barrett JC, Oshimura M.  Telomerase-independent senescence of human immortal cells induced by microcell-mediated chromosome transfer.  Mol Carcinog 25:249-255, 1999.

Tanaka H, Shimizu M, Horikawa I, Kugoh H, Yokota J, Barrett JC, Oshimura M.  Evidence for a putative telomerase repressor gene in the 3p14.2-p21.1 region.  Genes Chromosomes Cancer 23:123-133, 1998.

Horikawa I, Tanaka H, Yuasa Y, Suzuki M, Shimizu M, Oshimura M.  Forced expression of YL-1 protein suppresses the anchorage-independent growth of Kirsten sarcoma virus-transformed NIH3T3 cells.  Exp Cell Res 220:11-17, 1995.

Horikawa I, Tanaka H, Yuasa Y, Suzuki M, Oshimura M.  Molecular cloning of a novel human cDNA on chromosome 1q21 and its mouse homolog encoding a nuclear protein with DNA-binding ability. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 208:999-1007, 1995.

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