Rok Tkavc, Ph.D.

Rok Tkavc, Ph.D.

Name: Rok Tkavc, Ph.D.

USU Department of Primary Appointment: 
Microbiology and Immunology
Adjunct assistant professor, Staff Scientist
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

Research Interests:
Neissria gonorrhoeae, antimicrobial peptides,
Deinococcus radiodurans, radiation resistance, mycology

Office Phone: 
(301) 295-9614


Post-doctoral fellow, USU, Bethesda, MD (PAT, Dr. Daly's lab) 2012-2016
PhD in Biotechnology, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2007–2012
MSc (Eq. degree) in Microbiology, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia 2002–2007

Representative publications, projects, and/or deployments

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pathology (USU) 2017–present
  • “Edible Mushrooms and Ionizing Radiation – Fungal Survival and Post-Exposure Fruiting”, Slovenian Research Agency, PI: Tine Grebenc (National Forestry Institute), Co-PI: Rok Tkavc (USU).
  • USU Post-Doctoral Society 2013–present
  • USUHS Authorized Independent Irradiator Operator 2012–present
  • FEMS Meeting Attendance Grant 2011
  • Grand Prize, iGEM, MIT, Cambridge, MA 2006


  • Tkavc et al, 2018. Prospects for fungal bioremediation of acidic radioactive waste sites: characterization and genome sequence of Rhodotorula taiwanens MD1149. Frontiers in Microbiology, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02528.
  • Shuryak, ..., Tkavc et al, 2017. Microbial cells can cooperate to resist high-level chronic ionizing radiation. PLOS ONE, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0189261.
  • Sharma, ..., Tkavc et al, 2017. Across the Tree of Life, Radiation Resistance is Governed by Antioxidant Mn2+, Gauged by Paramagnetic Resonance. PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1713608114
  • Matrosova,..., Tkavc et al, 2017. High-quality genome sequence of the radioresistant bacterium Deinococcus ficus KS 0460. Standards in genomic sciences, doi: 10.1186/s40793-017-0258-y.
  • Klubo-Gwiezdzinska,..., Tkavc et al, 2017. Amifostine used clinically for salivary gland protection during therapy with radioiodine is cytotoxic for thyroid cancer cells. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology. doi: 10.1530/EC-17-0138.
  • Zajc, ..., Tkavc et al, 2014. Chaophilic or chaotolerant fungi: a new category of extremophiles? Frontiers in microbiology, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00708
  • Herzog-Velikonja, Tkavc et al, 2014. Diversity of cultivable bacteria involved in the formation of macroscopic microbial colonies (cave silver) on the walls of a cave in Slovenia. International journal of speleology, doi: 10.5038/1827-806X.43.1.5.
  • Cantrell, Tkavc et al, 2013. Fungal communities of young and mature hypersaline microbial mats. Mycologia, doi: 10.3852/12-288.
  • Tkavc et al, 2011. Bacteria associated with Artemia spp. along the salinity gradient of the solar salterns at Eilat (Israel). FEMS Microbiology Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01112.x.
  • Tkavc et al, 2011. Bacterial communities in the 'petola' microbial mat from the Sečovlje salterns (Slovenia). FEMS Microbiology Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00985.x.