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Contact Information
Biology Department

Tara Cominski, Ph.D.
Program Director

Henderson Hall 112B

Phone: (973) 290-4161
tcominski@steu.edu

Tara Cominski, Ph.D.

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Background

Dr. Tara Cominski is a neuroscientist with more than 15 years' experience in cellular, molecular, and behavioral neuroscience. She received her M.S. in Biology from Seton Hall University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Rutgers University.

Dr. Cominski is the Biology Program Director, advisor for the Biology Club and the Alpha Epsilon chapter of the TriBeta Biological Honor Society, as well as an Assistant Professor at SEU. Additionally, she has developed a research program in neurobiology at SEU and mentors undergraduate students on research projects in the field.

Biology students have the opportunity to work on projects in collaboration with the Veterans Hospital in East Orange where Dr. Cominski holds a research scientist position.

Research Interests

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • PTSD and Anxiety Disorders
  • Stress and Hormonal markers of stress
  • Opioid System
  • Hippocampal Neurogenesis
  • Exercise, Meditation and Lifestyle effects on the Nervous and Endocrine systems

Examples of Student Independent Research Projects

  • "Kappa Opioid Receptor and Its Role in Demyelination in a Multiple Sclerosis Model"
  • "Effects of Raspberry Ketone on Lipid Metabolism"
  • "Salivary Cortisol Levels in Relation to Self-Perceived Anxiety and Meditation in College Students"
  • "Endogenous Opioid Expression in Rats Exposed to Mild Traumatic Brain Injury"

Publications

  • Ziegler A.N., Feng Q., Chidambaram S., Testai J.M., Kumari E., Rothbard D.E., Constancia M., Sandovici I., Cominski T., Pang K., Gao N., Wood T.L., Levison S.W. (2019) Insulin-like Growth Factor II: An Essential Adult Stem Cell Niche Constituent in Brain and Intestine. Stem Cell Reports Apr 9;12(4):816-830.
  • Sinha SP, Avcu P, Spiegler KM, Komaravolu S, Kim K, Cominski T, Servatius RJ, Pang KCH. (2017) Startle suppression after mild traumatic brain injury is associated with an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, reactive gliosis and neuronal loss in the caudal pontine reticular nucleus. Brain Behav Immun Mar;61:353-364.
  • Dennis TS, Beck KD, Cominski TP, Bobzean SAM, Kuzhikandathil EV, Servatius RJ, Perrotti LI. (2016) Exposure to morphine-associated cues increases mu opioid receptor mRNA expression in the nucleus accumbens of Wistar Kyoto rats. Behav Brain Res Oct 15;313:208-213.
  • Janke K.L., Cominski T.P., Kuzhikandathil E.V., Servatius R.J., Pang K.C. (2015) Investigating the Role of Hippocampal BDNF in Anxiety Vulnerability Using Classical Eyeblink Conditioning. Frontiers in Psychiatry 6:106.
  • Cominski T.P., Jiao X., Catuzzi J.E., Stewart, A.L., Pang K.C. (2014). The role of the hippocampus in avoidance learning and anxiety vulnerability. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8:273.
  • Cominski T.P., Turchin C., Ansonoff M.A., Pintar J.E. (2014). Mu opioid receptor knockout leads to strain dependent alterations in spatial learning and hippocampal neurogenesis. Neuroscience 278C:11-19.
  • Cominski T.P., Turchin C., Hsu M., Ansonoff M.A., Pintar J.E. (2012). Loss of the mu opioid receptor on different genetic backgrounds leads to increased BrdU labeling in the dentate gyrus only after repeated injection. Neuroscience 206:49-59.
  • Atkins N., Mitchell J.W., Romanova E.V., Morgan D.J., Cominski T.P., Eckler J.L., Pintar J.E., Sweedler J.E., Gillette M.U. (2010). Circadian Integration of Glutamatergic Signals by Little SAAS in Novel Suprachiasmatic Circuits. Plos One 5(9): e12612.
  • Catherine E. Gleason, Yun Ning, Tara P. Cominski, Rana K. Gupta, Klaus H. Kaestner, John E. Pintar, and Morris J. Birnbaum. (2010). Role of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 5 (IGFBP5) in organismal and pancreatic β-cell growth. Molecular Endocrinology 24(1):178-92.
  • Beck K.D., McLaughlin J., Bergen M.T., Cominski T.P., Moldow R.L., and Servatius R.D. (2008). Facilitated acquisition of the classically conditioned eyeblink response in women taking oral contraceptives. Behavioural Pharmacology 19(8): 821-828.
  • Beck K.D., Jiao X., Cominski T.P., Servatius R.J. (2008). Estrus cycle stage modifies the presentation of stress-induced startle suppression in female Sprague-Dawley rats. Physiology and Behavior 93: 1019-1023.
  • Yun Ning, Bao Hoang, Alwin GP Schuller, Tara P. Cominski, Ming-Sing Hsu, Teresa L. Wood, John E. Pintar. (2007). Delayed mammary gland involution in mice with mutation of the insulin-like growth factor binding protein 5 gene. Endocrinology 148(5): 2138-47.
  • Servatius, R.J., Beck, K.D., Moldow, R.L., Salameh, G., Tumminello, T., & Short, K.R. (2005). Stress-induced anxious state in male rats: Simulation by corticotrophin releasing hormone. Biological Psychiatry 57: 865-872.