Maria Isabel Dominguez, PhD Hear my name
Assistant Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Hematology & Medical Oncology

PhD, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
MSc, University of the Basque Country
BS, University of the Basque Country

My laboratory focuses on the role of Wnt/ß-catenin signaling components post-fertilization and in organ development, and how their deregulation leads to diseases such as cancer and congenital diseases. We have made important contributions to this field, identifying novel mechanisms of action for the Ser/Thr kinases CK2 and GSK3ß in Wnt/ß-catenin signaling and embryo development, some of which are now included in developmental biology textbooks (and even in fiction novels/movies). Our innovative work on the transcript expression of CK2 genes in cancer created a paradigm shift in the field and opened new avenues of research (“Mining CK2 in Cancer” was on the top 10% most cited articles by 2017). Recently, we are pioneering the use of the Xenopus laevis model system to the study of rare neurodevelopmental diseases. Our research has been funded from federal and non-federal agencies, disseminated in peer-reviewed publications, and widely reproduced by other researchers. We use complementary experimental and computational approaches, and models such as frogs and mice, cell culture and in vitro assays. We integrate biological and clinical data to understand the mechanisms of disease progression which can be used to develop appropriate therapeutic approaches. My laboratory has 3 research interests:

1. Define the molecular and biological mechanisms underlying rare human neurodevelopmental disorders syndromes Okur-Chung Neurodevelopmental Syndrome (OCNDS, OMIM #617062) and Poirier-Bienvenu Neurodevelopmental Syndrome (POBINDS, OMIM # 618732), characterized by intellectual disability/autism and epilepsy, respectively. OCNDS and POBINDS are attributed to de novo (germline non-inherited) variants in the genes CSNK2A1 and CSNK2B, respectively; genes that code for subunits of a kinase that we are experts on, CK2.

2. dentifying the molecular mechanisms controlling the activation of Wnt/ß-catenin signaling, which are still elusive despite the fact that Wnt/ß-catenin signaling deregulation causes several human diseases (e.g. cancer and congenital disease). Our aim is to understand of the molecular events leading to ß-catenin activation, which will help develop novel and specific inhibitors for the treatment of cancers with upregulated nuclear ß-catenin levels.

3. Defining the alterations of CK2 genes in tumor types. CK2 has been proposed for a number of years as a therapeutic target for cancer, as it was found to be upregulated in a small subset of patient tumor samples. Indeed, there are clinical trials in place to test CK2 inhibitors. However, we do not have a whole picture of the expression of CK2 genes in cancer that can direct therapeutic approaches, in particular studies that take advantage of large patient databases are missing.

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Since I was a graduate student, I have been committed to educating, training and mentoring biomedical professionals. A a faculty member, I develop training programs that foster career development skills and scientific competencies, and I have extensive expertise in designing and implementing strategies to facilitate and foster career development of biomedical trainees, including underrepresented groups in biomedicine. Some of these innovations are already reflected in academic publications.

- Assistant Director, Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP), BUSM
- Director, Research Selective, 3rd year medical students, BUSM
- Academic advisor, Master of Science in Medical Sciences (MAMS) program, GMS, BUSM
- Director, Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BI751 B1), GMS, BUSM

- Executive Director of Professional Development, BU’s BEST, GMS, BUSM
- Co-director of the Basic Medical Sciences course (PS701), Physician Assistant Program, BUSM
- Co-director, Future Medical Educators program, BUSM
- Leader, Career Development and Advisory Commission ECUSA-USA - Spanish Scientists in USA

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Since I was a postdoctoral fellow, I have been engaged and committed to fostering a diverse biomedical workforce

- Director, Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) Program, GMS, BUSM
- Faculty advisor for the Latino Medical Student Association

- Member and former co-chair of the Faculty Development and Diversity Committee in the Department of Medicine
- Former advisor to the office of Professional Development and part of the Postdoctoral Affairs Postdoctoral Advisory Committee (PAC)
- Faculty advisor of the Minority and International Scientists Organization
- Former GMS Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, GMS, BUSM

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Boston University
BU-BMC Cancer Center

Boston University
Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Boston University
Genome Science Institute

Boston Medical Center

Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences

STaRS at BU - Summer Training as Research Scholars at Boston University
05/01/2018 - 04/30/2024 (PI)
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Characterization of CSNK2A1 variants in Okur-Chung Neurodevelopmental Syndrome
12/01/2020 - 12/31/2023 (PI)
CSNK2A1 Foundation

In silico characterization of CSNK2A1 variants in Okur-Chung Neurodevelopmental Syndrome
07/01/2021 - 06/30/2023 (PI)
CSNK2A1 Foundation

Control of Embryonic Development by CK2: CK2 as a Core Wnt/beta-catenin component
08/01/2011 - 06/30/2017 (PI)
5R01 GM098367-04

Effect of CK2 disregulation on heart morphogenesis
07/01/2010 - 06/30/2014 (PI)
American Heart Assoc

Role of Protein Kinese Ck2 Alpha in Cardiac Development
07/01/2007 - 06/30/2010 (PI)
American Heart Assoc


Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

iCite Analysis       Copy PMIDs To Clipboard

  1. Unni P, Friend J, Weinberg J, Okur V, Hochscherf J, Dominguez I. Predictive functional, statistical and structural analysis of CSNK2A1 and CSNK2B variants linked to neurodevelopmental diseases. Front Mol Biosci. 2022; 9:851547.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36310603; PMCID: PMC9608649; DOI: 10.3389/fmolb.2022.851547;
  2. Brandt PD, Sturzenegger Varvayanis S, Baas T, Bolgioni AF, Alder J, Petrie KA, Dominguez I, Brown AM, Stayart CA, Singh H, Van Wart A, Chow CS, Mathur A, Schreiber BM, Fruman DA, Bowden B, Wiesen CA, Golightly YM, Holmquist CE, Arneman D, Hall JD, Hyman LE, Gould KL, Chalkley R, Brennwald PJ, Layton RL. A cross-institutional analysis of the effects of broadening trainee professional development on research productivity. PLoS Biol. 2021 07; 19(7):e3000956.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34264929; PMCID: PMC8282014; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000956;
  3. Dominguez I, Cruz-Gamero JM, Corasolla V, Dacher N, Rangasamy S, Urbani A, Narayanan V, Rebholz H. Okur-Chung neurodevelopmental syndrome-linked CK2a variants have reduced kinase activity. Hum Genet. 2021 Jul; 140(7):1077-1096. PMID: 33944995; DOI: 10.1007/s00439-021-02280-5;
  4. Guerra B, Dembic M, Siddiqui MA, Dominguez I, Ceppi P, Andresen BS. Down-Regulation of CK2a Leads toUp-Regulation of the Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27KIP1 in Conditions Unfavorable for the Growth of Myoblast Cells. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2020 Nov 21; 54(6):1177-1198. PMID: 33216476; DOI: 10.33594/000000308;
  5. Dominguez I, Zumwalt AC. Integrating the basic sciences in medical curricula: focus on the basic scientists. Adv Physiol Educ. 2020 Jun 01; 44(2):119-123.View Related Profiles. PMID: 32108509
  6. Bolgioni, AF, Barbercheck,CR, Hokanson, SC, Dominguez, I, Spencer, JL, Hyman, LE, Schreiber BM. BEST: Implementing Career Development Activities for Biomedical Research Trainees. BU’s BEST: Using biomedical workforce data to inform curriculum and influence career exploration. Academic Press. San Diego. 2020; 1-10.
  7. Zumwalt AC, Dominguez I. Correction to: Integrating the Educators: Outcomes of a Pilot Program to Prime Basic Science Medical Educators for Success in Integrated Curricula. Med Sci Educ. 2019 Dec; 29(4):1157-1158.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34459837; PMCID: PMC8368330; DOI: 10.1007/s40670-019-00807-0;
  8. Schaefer S, Doktor TK, Frederiksen SB, Chea K, Hlavacova M, Bruun GH, Rabjerg M, Andresen BS, Dominguez I, Guerra B. Down-regulation of CK2a correlates with decreased expression levels of DNA replication minichromosome maintenance protein complex (MCM) genes. Sci Rep. 2019 10 10; 9(1):14581. PMID: 31601942; PMCID: PMC6787000; DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-51056-5;
  9. Ann C. Zumwalt, Isabel Dominguez. Integrating the Educators: Outcomes of a Pilot Program to Prime Basic Science Medical Educators for Success in Integrated Curricula. Medical Science Educator. 2019; 29(3):637–642. View Publication
  10. Marivin A, Morozova V, Walawalkar I, Leyme A, Kretov DA, Cifuentes D, Dominguez I, Garcia-Marcos M. GPCR-independent activation of G proteins promotes apical cell constriction in vivo. J Cell Biol. 2019 05 06; 218(5):1743-1763.View Related Profiles. PMID: 30948426; PMCID: PMC6504902; DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201811174;
Showing 10 of 53 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 53 publications over 24 distinct years, with a maximum of 4 publications in 1993 and 2005 and 2012 and 2017 and 2019


2022 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Nomination, Faculty Development and Diversity Award, Department of Medicine, BUSM
2022 Boston University: First Prize, Research Happening at BU, 2022 Boston University Research Photo Contest
2021 GMS, Boston University School of Medicine: Nomination, GMS Exceptional Mentoring Award during COVID-19 (Master's Programs)
2021 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Nomination, Faculty Development and Diversity Award, Department of Medicine, BUSM
2020 GMS, Boston University School of Medicine: GMS Exceptional Mentoring Award during COVID-19 (Master's Programs)
2017 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Education Pilot Grant
2016-2017 Department of Medicine Leadership Development Program
2014-2015 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Pilot Project Grant
2013 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Faculty Development Grant
2008 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Faculty Development Grant
2007-2008 Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation: Junior Faculty Cancer Research Award
2007-2008 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Pilot Project Grant
2003-2004 Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine: Pilot Project Grant
2002-2003 Cancer Center, BU School of Medicine: American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant
1998 The Company of Biologists: Travel Fellowship to Attend the 7th International Xenopus Meeting
1996-1998 Basque Government: Postdoctoral Fellowship
1994-1996 Spanish Government: Postdoctoral Fellowship
1990-1994 Basque Government: Postgraduate Fellowship
1988-1989 Iberduero S.A.: Postgraduate Fellowship
1987-1988 Basque Government: Undergraduate Fellowship

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