Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship Program
MGH BIDMC Harvard Medical School

Jay Rajagopal


Jayaraj Rajagopal, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine

Academic Interests

Dr. Rajagopal’s research focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms. lung developmental biology, stem cell biology, and Regenerative Medicine. We focus on the role of developmental regulator such as the Notch pathway in airway injury and regeneration. In the area of stem cell biology we have made a number of fundamental conceptual advances: (1) mature cells can dedifferentiate into stem cells after injury, (2) that the Yap growth control pathway is essential for the identity and maintenance of adult airway stem cells, (3) that seemingly homogenous airway stem cells are comprised of several unique and functional subpopulations, (4) that stem cells can serves as niches for differentiated cells turning the niche paradigm on its head, and (5) that stem cells send forward signals to other cells in a tissue to orchestrate the regenerative process. These inquiries into the molecular mechanisms underlying adult lung epithelial regeneration and lung development will serve as a framework within which we seek to understand how the reactivation and distortion of normal developmental processes results in human lung diseases. Given that Notch is a major research focus and is involved in mucous metaplasia, a cardinal feature of COPD, asthma, and cystic fibrosis, we would eventually like to collaborate to apply developmental biological approaches to these airway diseases.

Awards and Recognition

Dr. Rajagopal became a Howard Hughes Faculty Scholars Award in 2016. He currently serves as a Professor of Medicine and a co-director of the Stanbury Physician-Scientist track at Harvard Medical School.


A full list of Dr. Rajagopal’s published work can be found on My Bibliography.

More information can be found on Dr. Rajagopal's Harvard Catalyst Profile.


+Current Projects

  • Adult lung regeneration and new conceptual advances in stem cell biology
  • Creation of airway epithelium from patient-specific iPS cells and murine models of human disease
  • Lung developmental biology and developmental pathways related to human disease
  • New technology development for analyzing and modulating airway regeneration

+Selected Publications

  • Guseh JS, Bores SA, Stanger BZ, Zhou Q, Anderson WJ, Melton DA, Rajagopal J. Notch signaling promotes airway mucous metaplasia and inhibits alveolar development. Development. 2009; 136(10):1751-1759. PMCID: PMC2673763
  • Mou H, Zhao R, Sherwood R, Ahfeldt T, Lapey A, Wain J, Sicilian L, Izvolsky K, Musunuru K, Cowan C, Rajagopal J. Generation of multipotent lung and airway progenitors from mouse ESCs and patient-specific cystic fibrosis iPSCs. Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Apr 6;10(4):385-97.
  • Kim JK, Vinarsky V, Wain JC, Zhao R, Jung K, Choi J, Lam A, Pardo-Saganta A, Breton S, Rajagopal J, Yun SH. In vivo imaging of tracheal epithelial cells in mice during airway regeneration. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2012; 47: 864-868.
  • Pardo-Saganta A, Law BM, Gonzalez-Celeiro M, Vinarsky V, Rajagopal J. Ciliated cells of the pseudostratified airway epithelium do not become mucous cells after OVA challenge. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013; Mar: 48(3): 364-373. PMCID: PMC3604083.
  • Tata PR, Pardo-Saganta A, Prabhu M, Vinarsky V, Law BM, Fontaine BA, Tager AM, Rajagopal J. Airway Specific Inducible Transgene Expression Using Aerosolized Doxycycline. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013; Dec: 49(6): 1048-1056. PMID: 23848320.
  • Tata PR, Mou H, Pardo-Saganta A, Zhao R, Prabhu M, Law BM, Vinarsky V, Cho JL, Breton S, Sahay A, Medoff BD, Rajagopal J. Dedifferentiation of committed luminal epithelial cells into functional stem cells in vivo. Nature, 2013; 503; 218-223. PMID: 24196716.
  • Zhao R, Fallon TR, Saladi SV, Pardo-Saganta A, Villoria J, Mou H, Vinarsky V, Gonzalez-Celeiro M, Nunna N, Hariri LP, Camargo F, Ellisen LW, Rajagopal J. Yap Tunes Airway Epithelial Size and Architecture by regulating the Identity, Maintenance, and Self-renewal of Stem Cells. Developmental Cell. 2014 Jul 28;30(2): 151-65. PMID: 25043474.
  • Pardo-Saganta A, Law BM, Tata PR, Villoria J, Saez B, Mou H, Zhao R, Rajagopal J. Injury Induces Direct Lineage Segregation of Functionally Distinct Airway Basal Stem/Progenitor Cell Subpopulations. Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Feb 5;16(2):184-197. PMID: 25658372.
  • Pardo-Saganta A, Tata PR, Law BM, Saez B, Chow RD, Prabhu M, Gridley T, Rajagopal J. Parent Stem Cells Can Serve as Niches for their Daughter Cells. Nature 2015 July 30;523(7562): 597-601. PMID: 26147083. Reviewed in Cell (Stem Cells Show Parental Control) 2015 Jul 30; 162(3):476-7. PMID 26232219.
  • Mou H, Vinarsky V, Purushothama Rao T, Brazauskas K, Choi SH, Crooke AK, Zhang B, Solomon GM, Turner B, Bihler H, Harrington J, Lapey A, Channick C, Keyes C, Freund A, Artandi S, Mense M, Rowe S, Engelhardt JF, Hsu YC, Rajagopal J. Dual SMAD inhibition allows the long term expansion of diverse epithelial stem cells. Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Aug 4; 19(2): 217-31. PMID: 27320041