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Purushothama Rao Tata

Assistant Professor
Cell Biology
(919) 684-0624
Research Interest: 
Developmental biology
Signal transduction
Research Summary: 
Understanding the cellular and molecular basis of cell plasticity in organ regeneration and tumorigenesis.
Research Description: 

Many human diseases are a result of either a deficit or surfeit in the quantity or functionality of particular cell types. Although theprinciples of cell fate specification during embryogenesis are rather well documented, it is unclear what mechanisms are used to maintaincell identity and appropriate cell numbers in adult tissues. While the cell autonomous molecular processes defining cell states in bothphysiological and pathological conditions are being defined with increasing precision using genome-wide inventories, the question ofwhen and how individual cell types interact with one another to maintain their identity remains largely unresolved. In this context Tata lab studies:

i) Defining the cellular heterogeneity and the lineage hierarchies in epithelial tissues
ii) How do individual cells maintain their identity under steady state conditions and in the context of regeneration?
iii) The genetic and epigenetic basis of tissue plasticity associated with regeneration and tumorigenesis

Tata lab focuses on understanding the ensemble properties of tissues in the context of development, homeostasis, regeneration and tumorigenesis in diverse epithelial tissues including lung. We use mouse models of disease that recapitulates the human disease pathology. We utilize genetic, live imaging, cell biological and next generation sequencing technologies including single-cell RNA sequencing to study the behavior of tissues at single cell level.

Injury induces direct lineage segregation of functionally distinct airway basal stem/progenitor cell subpopulations.
Pardo-Saganta A, Law BM, Tata PR, Villoria J, Saez B, Mou H, Zhao R, Rajagopal J.
Cell Stem Cell. 2015. 16:184-97.

Parent stem cells can serve as niches for their daughter cells.
Pardo-Saganta A, Tata PR, Law BM, Saez B, Chow RDz, Prabhu M, Gridley T, Rajagopal J.
Nature. 2015. 523:597-601.

Cellular plasticity: 1712 to the present day.
Tata PR, Rajagopal J.
Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2016. 43:46-54.

Dedifferentiation of committed epithelial cells into stem cells in vivo.
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.
Nature. 2013. 503:218-23.

Dual SMAD Signaling Inhibition Enables Long-Term Expansion of Diverse Epithelial Basal Cells.
Mou H, Vinarsky V, Tata PR, 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.
Cell Stem Cell. 2016. 19:217-31.