Xaralabos Varelas, PhD
Associate Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Dept of Biochemistry

PhD, University of Alberta



Dr. Varelas is a creative cellular and molecular biologist whose research focuses on the development of tissues and organs, and how the underlying homeostatic signals go awry in cancer. His well-funded work on the regulation and function of the Hippo signaling pathway, an essential developmental pathway that has emerged as a central mediator of cancer,has identified novel regulators and functions for Hippo pathway signaling, and described important roles for this pathway in various cancers and in animal development.Dr. Varelas also mentors students within his research program and serves on a many student thesis committees on the Medical and Charles River campuses.

Research in the Varelas lab is focused on gaining insight into the molecular mechanisms by which cell fate is coordinated with cell proliferation and survival during animal development and disease. The lab is particularly interested in understanding the roles and regulation of the transcriptional regulators YAP and TAZ (YAP/TAZ), which are key effectors of the Hippo signaling pathway.

YAP/TAZ integrate cell polarity and mechanical cues with information relayed by growth factors and chemicals to direct essential processes and maintain organ homeostasis. The lab is incorporating genetic and biochemical approaches to define how YAP/TAZ control developmental events, and how dysregulation of YAP/TAZ activity contributes the etiology of various diseases, such as cancer.


Defining Epithelial Cues Contributing to Sjogren's Syndrome
07/01/2016 - 06/30/2018 (PI)
Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation

Mechanobiology of Lung Fibrosis
12/01/2014 - 11/30/2017 (PI)
Mayo Clinic NIH NHLBI
5R01HL092961-07

Defining aberrant epithelial cell polarity-regulated cues in breast cancer
09/01/2014 - 08/31/2017 (PI)
Department of Defense/Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity

Regulation of the Ciliated Cell Program in Airway Progenitors
06/01/2016 - 05/31/2017 (PI)
Trustees Of Columbia University In The City Of New York NIH NHLBI
5R01HL119836-03

Specification and patterning of the developing airway by cell polarity regulated cues
06/01/2014 - 05/31/2017 (PI)
March of Dimes Foundation

Defining Epithelial Cell Polarity Cues That Direct Cell Fate
08/15/2014 - 04/30/2017 (PI)
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
5R01HL124392-03

Defective Cell Polarity and Hippo Signalling in the Etiology of Sjogren's Syndrome
04/01/2014 - 03/31/2016 (Co-PI)
PI: Maria A. Kukuruzinska, PhD
Biogen Idec

Institutional Research Grant
01/01/2012 - 12/31/2015 (PI of Sub-Project / SP)
PI: Avrum Spira, MD
American Cancer Society - MA Division

Roles of the Hippo pathway effectors Taz/Yap in mesenchymal stem cell fate specification
12/01/2013 - 11/30/2015 (PI)
Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center NIH NIDDK
5P30DK046200-22

Defining Polarity Cues that Control Tumor Initiation and Progression
07/01/2012 - 06/30/2014 (PI)
Concern Foundation

Showing 10 of 12 results. Show All Results


Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

  1. Szymaniak AD, Mi R, McCarthy SE, Gower AC, Reynolds TL, Mingueneau M, Kukuruzinska M, Varelas X. The Hippo pathway effector YAP is an essential regulator of ductal progenitor patterning in the mouse submandibular gland. Elife. 2017 May 11; 6.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28492365.
  2. Rohban MH, Singh S, Wu X, Berthet JB, Bray MA, Shrestha Y, Varelas X, Boehm JS, Carpenter AE. Systematic morphological profiling of human gene and allele function via Cell Painting. Elife. 2017 Mar 18; 6.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28315521; DOI: 10.7554/eLife.24060;.
  3. Jorgenson AJ, Choi KM, Sicard D, Smith KM, Hiemer SE, Varelas X, Tschumperlin DJ. TAZ activation drives fibroblast spheroid growth, expression of profibrotic paracrine signals, and context-dependent ECM gene expression. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2017 Mar 01; 312(3):C277-C285.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27881410; DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00205.2016;.
  4. Zhang L, Yang CS, Varelas X, Monti S. Altered RNA editing in 3'' UTR perturbs microRNA-mediated regulation of oncogenes and tumor-suppressors. Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 16; 6:23226.View Related Profiles. PMID: 26980570; PMCID: PMC4793219; DOI: 10.1038/srep23226;.
  5. Szymaniak AD, Mahoney JE, Cardoso WV, Varelas X. Crumbs3-Mediated Polarity Directs Airway Epithelial Cell Fate through the Hippo Pathway Effector Yap. Dev Cell. 2015 Aug 10; 34(3):283-96.View Related Profiles. PMID: 26235047; PMCID: PMC4536126; DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.06.020;.
  6. Hiemer SE, Zhang L, Kartha VK, Packer TS, Almershed M, Noonan V, Kukuruzinska M, Bais MV, Monti S, Varelas X. A YAP/TAZ-Regulated Molecular Signature Is Associated with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Mol Cancer Res. 2015 Jun; 13(6):957-68.View Related Profiles. PMID: 25794680; PMCID: PMC4470857; DOI: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-14-0580;.
  7. Narimatsu M, Samavarchi-Tehrani P, Varelas X, Wrana JL. Distinct polarity cues direct Taz/Yap and TGFß receptor localization to differentially control TGFß-induced Smad signaling. Dev Cell. 2015 Mar 9; 32(5):652-6. PMID: 25758863; DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.02.019;.
  8. Mori M, Mahoney JE, Stupnikov MR, Paez-Cortez JR, Szymaniak AD, Varelas X, Herrick DB, Schwob J, Zhang H, Cardoso WV. Notch3-Jagged signaling controls the pool of undifferentiated airway progenitors. Development. 2015 Jan 15; 142(2):258-67.View Related Profiles. PMID: 25564622; PMCID: PMC4302835; DOI: 10.1242/dev.116855;.
  9. Liu F, Lagares D, Choi KM, Stopfer L, Marinkovic A, Vrbanac V, Probst CK, Hiemer SE, Sisson TH, Horowitz JC, Rosas IO, Fredenburgh LE, Feghali-Bostwick C, Varelas X, Tager AM, Tschumperlin DJ. Mechanosignaling through YAP and TAZ drives fibroblast activation and fibrosis. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015 Feb 15; 308(4):L344-57.View Related Profiles. PMID: 25502501; PMCID: PMC4329470; DOI: 10.1152/ajplung.00300.2014;.
  10. Varelas X, Kukuruzinska MA. Head and neck cancer: from research to therapy and cure. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Dec; 1333:1-32.View Related Profiles. PMID: 25532687; DOI: 10.1111/nyas.12613;.
Showing 10 of 30 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 30 publications over 13 distinct years, with a maximum of 6 publications in 2014

YearPublications
20031
20051
20061
20081
20092
20102
20113
20121
20134
20146
20154
20162
20172
In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

Cancer biology
Cell Polarity
Epithelial biology
Hippo pathway signaling
Lung development and disease
TGF-beta pathway signaling
Wnt signaling
YAP/TAZ
Contact for Mentoring:


72 E. Concord St Silvio Conte (K)
Boston MA 02118
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