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James E. Trosko

James TroskoProfessor, Emeritus, Pediatrics and Human Development

1129 FARM LN ROOM 246

Research Interests:
The Trosko lab focuses on the mechanisms of carcinogenesis and mutagenesis. His initial research involved the study of radiation-induced mammalian mutagenesis. This led to the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) repair in normal human cells and the lack of DNA repair and increased mutagenesis in the cancer-prone xeroderma pigmentosum syndrome. Later work with the tumor promoter, phorbolester, he discovered that the inhibition by tumor-promoting chemicals, oncogenes and growth factors were related to the mechanism of tumor promotion by their shared ability to modulate gap junction function. His team then developed several in vitro assays to detect chemical modulators of gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) (e.g., metabolic cooperation assays; fluorescent recovery after photobleaching; scrape loading dye transfer, etc.) Later they found that modulation of GJIC was related to chemical induced teratogenesis, reproductive dysfunction and neurotoxicity. Most recently, his group has demonstrated that normal human epithelial stem cells could be isolated from kidney tissues and breast tissues. In addition, anti-tumor chemicals, as well as tumor suppressor genes appear to up-regulate GJIC in a manner opposite to tumor promoters and oncogenes. He has recently discovered biomarkers for adult human stem cells that has provided strong evidence for the "stem cell theory" of cancer.

Educational Background:
Central Michigan Univ., B.A., 1960, Chemical Biology 
Michigan State Univ., M.S., 1962, Genetics 
Michigan State Univ., Ph.D., 1963, Radiation Genetics 

Selected Professional Activities:
Dr. Trosko was Summa Cum Laude, CMU (1956), was a NDEA Predoctoral Fellow, from 1960-63, at Oak Ridge National Lab, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow from 1963-64. He also was an American Cancer Society, Postdoctoral Fellow from 1965 to 66. He received the Teacher-Scholar Award from MSU in 1970, the NCI-Research Career Development Award from 1972-to 77, the Searle Award from U.K. Environmental Mutagen Society in 1979 and the Sigma Xi Senior Scientist Award in 1985. He was honored with the MSU Distinguished Faculty Award in 1987 and the Scientific Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology in 2001. In 2002, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award, Central Michigan University, for academic teaching and research. He recently received the 2006 "Brain Pool" award, from the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology, Seoul National University, for Adult Stem Cell Research. This award has allowed him to spend three months at Seoul National University, August-October, 2006, to identify adult cancer stem cell markers. More recently, Dr. Trosko has received a Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology “World Class University” award to do research at Seoul National University as an Invited Research Professor on human adult stem cells for two months during 2010 & 2011.

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Laboratory Trainees:

  • Mayya Malakh, Postdoctoral, Human Medicine
  • Ben Sopczynski, Postdoctoral, Human Medicine