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Mihoko Kai

Assistant Professor
(410) 614-9223 (p)

Radiation oncology and molecular radiation sciences


Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology and
Molecular Radiation Sciences


1990 - 1994 B.S. Science University of Tokyo Science 1994 - 1996 M.S. Science University of Tokyo Biological Science 1996 - 1999 Ph.D. Science University of Tokyo Biological Science 1999 - 2003 Postdoctoral Fellow Stanford University School of Medicine Molecular Biology 2011-2012 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Leadership Program for Women Faculty


07/2003 - 09/2005 Basic Life Science Research Associate
Stanford University School of Medicine
Department of Pathology 

10/2005 -10/2007 Instructor
Stanford University School of Medicine
Department of Pathology

10/2007 – 8/2008 Basic Life Science Senior Research Scientist
Stanford University School of Medicine
Department of Pathology

7/2008 – present Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Department of Radiation Oncology and
Molecular Radiation Sciences
Department of Oncology
The Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center


Research Summary

The main focus of my laboratory is to understand how genome stability is maintained in cells at the cellular and molecular levels. Improper coordination and control of the cell cycle checkpoint and DNA repair pathways will lead to genome instability, a hallmark of cancer-prone syndromes. My laboratory is presently investigating several aspects of this relationship. The other focus of my laboratory is to identify DNA damage response control pathways in cancer stem cells, focusing on radiation responses in human and mouse glioblastoma stem cells. Discovery of new links between cancer stem cell regulation and DNA damage response pathways will open up new possibilities to improve outcomes of radiation therapy and reduce or prevent relapse in malignant diseases.

Journal Citations

1. Kai, M., Takahashi, T., Todo, T. and Sakaguchi, K. Novel DNA binding proteins highly specific to UV-damaged DNA sequences from embryos of Drosophila melanogaster. Nucleic Acids Research. 1995 Jul 25; 23(14):2600-2607.

2. Kimura, S., Kai, M., Kobayashi, H., Suzuki, A., Morioka, H., Otsuka, E. and Sakaguchi, K. A structure-specific endonuclease from cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) inforescence. Nucleic Acids Research. 1997 Dec 15; 25(24):4970-4976.

3. Kai, M., Todo, T., Wada, M., Ryo, H., Masutani, D., Kobayashi, H., Morioka, H., Ohtsuka, E., Hanaoka, F. and Sakaguchi, K. A new Drosophila ultraviolet light-damaged DNA recognition endonuclease that selectively nicks a (6-4) photoproduct site. Biochem Biophys. Acta. 1998 Apr 29; 1397(2):180-188.

4. Tanaka, K., Yonekawa, T., Kawasaki, Y., Kai, M., Furuya, K., Iwasaki, M., Murakami, H., Yanagida, M. and Okayama, H. Fission yeast of Eso1p is required for establishing sister chromatid cohesion during S phase. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 2000 May; 20(10):3459-3469.

5. Kai, M., Tanaka, H. and Wang, T.S. Fission Yeast Rad17 Associates with Chromatin in Response to Aberrant Genomic Structures. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 2001 May 15; 21(10):3289-3301.

6. Tanaka, K., Hao, Z., Kai, M. and Okayama, H. Establishment and maintenance of sister chromatid in fission yeast by a unique mechanism. EMBO J. 2001; 20(20): 5779-5790.

7. Kai, M. and Wang, T. S.-F. Checkpoint activation regulates mutagenesis translesion synthesis. Genes & Development. 2003 17 (1): 64-76.

8. Kai, M. and Wang, T.S. Checkpoint response to replication stalling: inducing tolerance and preventing mutagenesis (review). Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis. 2003 532: 59-73 (invited)

9. Kai, M., Boddy, M.N., Russell, P. and Wang, T.S. Replication checkpoint kinase Cds1 regulates Mus81 to preserve genome integrity during replication stress. Genes & Development. 2005; 19: 919-932

10. Kai, M., Taricani, L., and Wang, T.S. Methods for Studying Mutagenesis and Checkpoints in Schizosaccharomyces Pombe. Methods in Enzymology, 2005; 409:183-194. (invited)

11. Kai, M., Furuya, K., Paderi. F., Carr, A.M., and Wang, T.S. Rad3-dependent phosphorylation of the checkpoint clamp regulates repair-pathway choice. Nature Cell Biology, 2007; 9:691-697.

12. Kai, M. DNA repair of Cancer Stem Cells, Chapter 7: DNA repair mechanisms in other cancer stem cell models Springer (Invited) (Editors: L, Mathews., E, Hurt., and S, Cabarcas.)

13. Shin, M., Yuan, M., Kai, M., ATM-dependent phosphorylation of the checkpoint clamp governs repair pathways to maintain genomic stability. Cell Cycle, 2012; 11:9: in press.

14. Yuan, M.*, Kano, S.*, Cardarelli, R., Chen, Y., Cascella, N., Lin, S., Valle, D., O'Donnell, P., Sawa, A.**, Kai, M.**, Clinical utility of functional glutamatergic neurons directly convered from fibroblasts of patients with neuropsychiatric disorders. Nature Medicine; in revision.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
** These authors contributed equally to this work (co-last authors).


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