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Biography

Dr. Tamara Roitbak is a Research Associated Professor in the UNM Department of Neurology. Roitbak has had a long-standing interest in the role of small molecules microRNAs in regeneration following stroke, with demonstrated research productivity in the field. She has a professional background in neuroscience, cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology.

Dr. Tamara Roitbak started her research training with work in the I. Beritashvili Institute of Physiology (Tbilisi, Georgia). She completed her PhD training in the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic. Roitbak’s PhD thesis was entitled “Changes of Extracellular Space Parameters of the Rat Brain during Reactive Astrogliosis”. In 2019, Roitbak received an Honorary medal from EU Centre of Excellence Institute of Experimental Medicine Acad. Sci. of Czech Republic, for the contribution to the Institute’s success and scientific recognition.

In 2000, Roitbak made a transition to the field of cell biology working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Her research was focused on molecular pathogenesis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). As a further step, Roitbak was able to discover human adult kidney stem cells, and received a US patent in 2010.

In year 2005, Roitbak joined the UNM Department of Neurosciences where her research was focused on differentiation of neural stem cells and their use in treatment of neurophysiological disorders. In 2009, she was appointed to Research Assistant Professor faculty position. In 2009, Roitbak became a Cobre Junior PI and in the same year, she received funding for her NIH R21 application on the “The Role of HIF-1 alpha in Vasculotrophic Influence of Neural Stem Cells”. Roitbak’s findings contributed to the knowledge about the therapeutic potential of neural stem cell transplantation following stroke.

In order to establish her career as an independent researcher, Roitbak moved to the UNM Department of Neurosurgery in 2010, and currently joined the UNM Department of Neurology. Her research was and continues to focus mainly on the brain recovery following stroke. Roitbak established her research laboratory, where she has assembled scientific equipment and other resources, necessary to carry her research projects. Roitbak conducts several research projects, which are efficiently accomplished and received several extra- and intramural funding. In August 2013, she received her NIH NINDS R01 grant funding, which allowed her to successfully execute her proposed research project “In vivo Inhibition of Specific microRNAs to Support Post-Stroke Revascularization”. The objective and long-term goal is to employ regulation of microRNAs as a therapeutic method for stroke treatment. The proposed research is expected to lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for future utilization of microRNA analysis for stroke outcome prediction and therapy.