BBS Faculty Member - Jayaraj Rajagopal

Jayaraj Rajagopal

Department of Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital
Center for Regenerative Medicine-CPZN 4240
185 Cambridge Street
Boston MA 02114
Harvard Stem Cell Institute
185 Cambridge St. (CPZN-4240)
Boston , MA 02114
Tel: 617-803-9740
Fax: 617-724-2662
Visit my lab page here.

Our laboratory is interested in organ regeneration and the use of developmental approaches to dissect human disease. We focus on lung regeneration and lung disease. The lung is a vertebrate invention that allowed the early tetrapods to leave the water and colonize the land. Oxygen is the essential actor in aerobic metabolism and the lung’s cardinal function is to mediate the efficient transfer of oxygen from the atmosphere to the circulatory system. Given this essential function, respiratory diseases are life-threatening. Our work on lung developmental biology and organ regeneration is the biological platform from which we attempt to cure diseases of the respiratory tract in man.

We use an understanding of embryonic lung development as a framework to understand how the reactivation and distortion of normal developmental processes results in human lung disease. Although the airways and alveoli of the lung are produced from the same progenitor cells, the airways of the lung regenerate, but the alveoli do not. This contrast allows us to ask why some tissues regenerate while others do not. We have developed a robust in vivo model of airway regeneration which affords us the ability to perform, in analogy to bone marrow transplantation, quantitative repopulation experiments in a solid organ using sorted populations of lung progenitor cells and putative lung stem cells. The identification of lung stem cells will provide a novel method for generating in vitro models of human lung disease. Furthermore, lung stem cell deployment in vivo and subsequent in situ engraftment may also provide a basis for regenerative medical therapies in lung disease. We are also pursuing methods to create mature lung tissue and lung stem cells from human embryonic stem cells.

Last Update: 8/22/2013


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Rajagopal J, Doudna J, and Szostak J. Stereochemical Course of Catalysis by the Tetrahymena Ribozyme. Science 1989;244:692-94.

Rajagopal J, Anderson W, Kume S, Martinez O, Melton D. Insulin Staining of ES Cell Progeny from Insulin Uptake. Science 2003;299:363.

Rajagopal J, Carroll TJ, Guseh JS, Bores SA, Blank LJ, Anderson WJ, Yu J, Zhou Q, McMahon AP, Melton DA. Wnt7b stimulates embryonic lung growth by coordinately increasing the replication of epithelium and mesenchyme. Development 2008;135: 1625-34.

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; 1751-59.

© 2013 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College