Kenichi (Ken) Tamama, MD, PhD, FCAP
Assistant Professor of Pathology

Dr. Tamama is a member of the Division of Clinical Chemistry. He is the Director of the Toxicology Laboratory and the Director of Pathology Resident Training in Chemistry.
Office Location:
S737 Scaife Hall
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-648-9485
Lab Telephone: 412-383-9771


  • MD - Gunma University School of Medicine, Maebashi, Japan, 1995
  • PhD - Gunma University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Maebashi, Japan, 2001

Clinical Expertise

As a board certified clinical pathologist, I oversee Clinical Toxicology Laboratory in UPMC Clinical Laboratories and sign out Toxicology cases generated by GC-MS. As Director of Pathology Resident Training in Clinical Chemistry, I am also in charge of Clinical Chemistry education in the Pathology Residency Program at UPMC.

Research Interests

Cell therapy with adult multipotential stromal cells or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a promising approach against various diseases including nonhealing chronic wounds, as these cells promote angiogenesis and tissue regeneration, and exert immunomodulatory effects upon cell transplantation. Initially MSC differentiation and direct incorporation into regenerating tissues was speculated as a primary mechanism of MSC action; however, it has been realized that the strong paracrine capability of various growth factors and cytokines is a key mechanism of MSC-mediated wound healing and tissue regeneration. We are studying the molecular mechanisms that support strong paracrine machineries in MSC in order to maximize the regenerative effects of MSC-based therapeutics. One promising approach is to culture MSC in low oxygen condition, as the hypoxic condition promotes the production of angiogenic growth factors in the short term and delays replicative cell senescence in the long term. Another approach is to focus on EGFR signaling, as we have previously shown that the activation of EGFR signaling pathway promotes in vitro MSC expansion without compromising differentiation potentials, enhances the preservation of early progenitor MSCs, and increases the production of growth factors.


  • Diplomate of American Board of Pathology (CP)
  • Physicians License - PA, OH, CA, Japan


Clinical Chemistry

Honors and Awards

  • Wound Healing Society (WHS) Organogenesis Award Finalist, 2012
  • ACLPS Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award, 2007
  • NAVBO Junior Investigator Award, 2007
  • ASIP Trainee Travel Award and ASIP Young Pathologist Fellowship for Experimental Biology, 2007
  • ACLPS Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award , 2006
  • CAP Foundation Scholar Research (Salary support of US$25,000), 2005-2006
  • CP Web Case Winner, Pathology Resident Program, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
  • First place winner in Clinical Research at Retreat of Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
  • ACLPS Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award, 2005
  • CP Web Case Winner, Pathology Resident Program, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
  • ACLPS Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award, 2003
  • Fellowship of Japan-North America Medical Exchange Foundation, 2002
  • Fellowship of Japan Medical Education Foundation for clinical clerkship in U.K., 1994

Selected Publications

View Dr. Tamama's publications on PubMed

(* denotes corresponding authorship)

  • Berg A, Tamama K, Peck Palmer OM. Metabolic acidosis with discrepant lactate results. Clin Chem. 2013 Apr;59(4):713-4.
  • Dwyer JB, Tamama K*. Ketoacidosis and Trace Amounts of Isopropanol in a Chronic Alcoholic Patient. Clin Chim Acta. 2013; 415: 245249
  • Tamama K*, Barbeau DJ. Early growth response genes (EGRs) signaling supports strong paracrine capability of mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Int. 2012;2012:428403
  • Kerpedjieva SS, Kim DS, Barbeau DJ, Tamama K*. EGFR ligands drive multipotential stromal cells to produce multiple growth factors and cytokines via early growth response-1. Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Feb 8. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Tamama K*, Kerpedjieva SS. Acceleration of wound healing by multiple growth factors and cytokines secreted from multipotential stromal cells / mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Advances in Wound Care. 2012 Aug; 1(4): 177-182.
  • Tamama K*, Kawasaki H, Kerpedjieva SS, Guan J, Ganju RK, Sen CK. Differential roles of hypoxia inducible factor subunits in multipotential stromal cells under hypoxic condition. J Cell Biochem. 2011 Mar;112(3):804-17.
  • Kawasaki H, Guan J, Tamama K*. Hydrogen gas treatment prolongs replicative lifespan of bone marrow multipotential stromal cells in vitro while preserving differentiation and paracrine potentials. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Jul 2;397(3):608-13.
  • Wang F, Li Z, Khan M, Tamama K, Kuppusamy P, Wagner WR, Sen CK, Guan J. Injectable, rapid gelling and highly flexible hydrogel composites as growth factor and cell carriers. Acta Biomater. 2010 Jun;6(6):1978-91.
  • Tamama K*, Kawasaki H, Wells A. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) treatment on multipotential stromal cells (MSCs). Possible enhancement of therapeutic potential of MSC. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2010;2010:795385
  • Wang F, Li Z, Tamama K, Sen CK, Guan J. Fabrication and Characterization of Prosurvival Growth Factor Releasing, Anisotropic Scaffolds for Enhanced Mesenchymal Stem Cell Survival/Growth and Orientation. Biomacromolecules. 2009 Sep 14;10(9):2609-18.
  • Tamama K*, Sen CK, Wells A. Differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells into the smooth muscle lineage by blocking ERK/MAPK signaling pathway. Stem Cells Dev. 2008 Oct;17(5):897-908.