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Rupangi Vasavada CV Bio 300px

Rupangi Vasavada, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Translational Research and Cellular Therapeutics
Rupangi Vasavada, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Translational Research and Cellular Therapeutics. Prior to joining City of Hope, Dr. Vasavada was at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and before that, at University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. 
Dr. Vasavada’s research is centered on understanding the pathophysiology of diabetes and finding ways to treat the disease, specifically as it relates to the pancreatic beta cell. Her research has focused on biological peptides and their downstream molecular pathways to enhance the preservation and regeneration of functional beta cells for the treatment of diabetes. Recent work in her lab has been directed toward understanding the role of circulating extracellular vesicles as functional and molecular biomarkers in type 1 diabetes. At City of Hope, Dr. Vasavada is continuing her work on the therapeutic potential of biologic peptides and the role of vesicles in the etiology of diabetes, while building new collaborations with her colleagues.   
Dr. Vasavada is a standing member of the National Institutes of Health Cellular Aspects of Obesity and Diabetes study section, and has served on study sections with the JDRF and the American Diabetes Association. She received her Ph.D. in molecular biology from University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Science in zoology from Delhi University in India.


City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1500 East Duarte Road

Duarte, CA 91010

  • Vasavada RC, Eager KB, Barbanti-Broadano G, Caputo A, Ricciardi RP. Adenovirus Type 12 early region 1A proteins repress class I HLA expression in tranformed human cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 83:5257-5261 (1986). PMID: 3014539
  • Vasavada RC, Wysolmerski J, Broadus AE, Philbrick WM. Identification and characterization of a GC-rich promoter of the human parathyroid hormone-related peptide gene. Molec Endocrinol 7:273-282 (1993). PMID: 8469240
  • Holt EH, Vasavada RC, Broadus AE, Philbrick WM. Expression of the parathyroid hormone- related peptide gene in human renal cell carcinoma lines is associated with site-specific demethylation. J Biol Chem 286:20639-20645 (1993). PMID: 7690760
  • Orloff JJ, Kats Y, Urena P, Schipani E, Philbrick WM, Vasavada RC, Abou-Samra A-B, Segre GV, Jueppner H. Further evidence for a novel receptor for amino-terminal parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) on keratinocytes and squamous carcinoma cell lines. Endocrinology 136:3016-3023 (1995). PMID: 7789327
  • Vasavada RC, Cavaliere C, D'Ercole AJ, Dann P, Burtis WJ, Madlener AL, Zawalich K, Zawalich W, Philbrick WM, Stewart AF. Overexpression of parathyroid hormone-related protein in the pancreatic islets of transgenic mice causes islet hyperplasia, hyperinsulinemia, and hypoglycemia. J Biol Chem 271:1200-1208 (1996). PMID: 8557651
  • Wysolmerski JJ, Vasavada RC, Foley J, Weir EC, Burtis WJ, Kukreja SC, Guise TA, Broadus AE, Philbrick WM. Transactivation of the PTHrP gene in squamous carcinomas predicts the occurrence of hypercalcemia in athymic mice. Cancer Res 56:1043-1049 (1996). PMID: 8640759
  • Wu T, Vasavada RC, Yang K, Massfelder T, Ganz M, Abbas, SK, Care AD, Stewart AF. Structural and physiologic characterization of the mid-region secretory form of PTHrP. J Biol Chem 271:24371-24381 (1996). PMID: 8798692
  • Philbrick WM, Wysolmerski JJ, Galbraith S, Holt E, Orloff JJ, Yang KH, Vasavada RC, Weir EC, Broadus AE, Stewart AF. Defining the roles of parathyroid hormone-related protein in normal physiology. Physiological Reviews 76:127-173 (1996). PMID: 8592727
  • Reddy D, Pollock AS, Clark SA, Sooy K, Vasavada RC, Stewart AF, Honeyman T, Christakos S. Transfection and overexpression of the calcium binding protein calbindin-D28K results in a stimulatory effect on insulin synthesis in a rat β cell line (RIN 1046-38). Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:1961-1966 (1997). PMID: 9050887
  • Massfelder T, Dann P, Wu TL, Vasavada RC, Helwig J, Stewart AF. Opposing mitogenic and anti-mitogenic actions of parathyriod hormone-related protein in vascular smooth muscle cells: a critical role for nuclear targeting. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94: 13630-13635 (1997). PMID: 9391077
  • Porter SE, Sorenson RL, Dann P, Garcia-Ocaña A, Stewart AF, Vasavada RC. Progressive pancreatic islet hyperplasia in the islet-targeted, parathyroid hormone-related protein-overexpressing mouse. Endocrinology 139: 3743-3751 (1998). PMID: 9724026
  • Vasavada, RC, Garcia-Ocaña, A, Massfelder, T, Dann, P, Stewart AF. Parathyroid hormone-related protein in the pancreatic islet and the cardiovascular system. Recent Progress in Hormone Research 53:305-340 (1998). PMID: 9769713
  • Garcia-Ocaña A, Takane KK, Syed MA, Philbrick WM, Vasavada RC, Stewart AF. Hepatocyte growth factor overexpression in the islet of transgenic mice increases beta cell proliferation, enhances islet mass, and induces mild hypoglycemia. J Biol Chem 275: 1226-1232 (2000). PMID: 10625667
  • Vasavada RC, Garcia-Ocaña A, Zawalich WS, Sorenson RL, Dann P, Syed M, Ogren L, Talamantes F, Stewart AF. Targeted expression of placental lactogen in the beta cells of transgenic mice results in beta cell proliferation, islet mass augmentation and hypoglycemia. J Biol Chem 275: 15399-15406 (2000). PMID: 10809775
  • Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC, Cebrian A, Reddy V, Takane KK, Lopez-Talavera JC, Stewart AF. Transgenic overexpression of hepatocyte growth factor in the beta cell markedly improves islet function and islet transplant outcomes. Diabetes 50:2752-2762 (2001). PMID: 11723058
  • Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC, Takane K, Cebrian A, Lopez-Talavera JC, Stewart AF. Using beta cell growth factors to enhance human pancreatic islet transplantation. JCEM 86:984-988 (2001). PMID: 11238473
  • Cebrian A, Garcia-Ocaña A, Takane KK, Sipula D, Stewart AF, Vasavada RC. Overexpression of parathyroid hormone-related protein inhibits pancreatic beta cell death in vivo and in vitro. Diabetes 51:3003-3013 (2002). PMID: 12351440
  • Garcia-Ocaña A, Takane KK, Reddy VT, Lopez-Talavera J-C, Vasavada RC, Stewart AF. Adenovirus-mediated hepatocyte growth factor transfer to murine islets improves pancreatic islet transplant performance and reduces beta cell death. J Biol Chem 278:343-351 (2003). PMID: 12403787
  • Rao P, Cozar-Castellano I, Roccisana J, Vasavada RC, Garcia-Ocaña A. Hepatocyte growth factor gene therapy for islet transplantation. Expert Opin Biol Ther 4:507-518 (2004). PMID: 15102600
  • Fujinaka Y, Sipula D, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC. Characterization of Mice Doubly Transgenic for Parathyroid Hormone-related Protein and Murine Placental Lactogen: A Novel Role for Placental Lactogen in Pancreatic Beta Cell Survival. Diabetes 53: 3120-3130 (2004). PMID: 15561942
  • Roccisana J, Reddy V, Vasavada RC, Gonzalez-Pertusa JA, Magnuson MA, Garcia-Ocaña A. Targeted inactivation of HGF receptor, c-met, in beta cells leads to defective insulin secretion and Glut-2 downregulation without alteration of beta cell mass. Diabetes 54:2090-2102 (2005). PMID: 15983210
  • Cozar-Castellano I, Fiaschi-Taesch N, Bigatel TA, Takane KK, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC, Stewart AF. Molecular control of cell cycle progression in the pancreatic beta-cell. Endocr Rev. 27:356-370 (2006). PMID: 16638909
  • Vasavada RC, Gonzalez-Pertusa JA, Fujinaka Y, Fiaschi-Taesch NM, Cozar I, Garcia-Ocaña A. Growth factors and pancreatic beta cell proliferation. International Journal of Cell Biology and Biochemistry 38:931-950 (2006). PMID: 16168703
  • Vasavada RC, Cozar-Castellano I, Sipula D, Stewart AF. Tissue-specific deletion of the retinoblastoma protein in the pancreatic beta cell has limited effects on beta cell replication, mass and function. Diabetes 56:57-64 (2007). PMID: 17192465
  • Fujinaka Y, Takane K, Yamashita H, Vasavada RC. Lactogens promote beta cell survival through JAK2/STAT5 activation and BclXL upregulation. J Biol Chem 282:30707-30717 (2007). PMID: 17728251
  • Vasavada RC, Wang L, Fujinaka Y, Takane KK, Rosa T, Mellado-Gil JM, Garcia-Ocaña A. Protein kinase C-ζ markedly enhances β-cell proliferation: An essential role in growth factor-mediated β-cell mitogenesis. Diabetes 56:2732-2743 (2007). PMID: 17686945
  • Cozar-Castellano I, Harb G, Selk K, Takane KK, Sicari B, Law B, Zhang P, Scott DK, Fiaschi-Taesch N, Vasavada RC, Stewart AF. Lessons from the first comprehensive molecular characterization of cell cycle control in rodent insulinoma cell lines. Diabetes 57:3056-3068 (2008). PMID: 18650366
  • Harb G, Vasavada RC, Cobrinik D, Stewart AF. The retinoblastoma protein and its homolog p130 regulate the G1/S transition in pancreatic beta cells. Diabetes 58:1852-1862 (2009). PMID: 19509021
  • Zhang H, Zhang J, Pope CF, Crawford L, Vasavada RC, Jagasia SM, Gannon M. Gestational diabetes resulting from impaired β-cell compensation in the absence of FoxM1, a novel downstream effector of placental lactogen. Diabetes 59:143-152 (2010). PMID: 19833884
  • Guthalu NK, Zhang XY, Williams K, Mozar A, Vasavada RC. Growth factor mediated regulation of beta cell survival. The Open Endocrine Journal 4:80-95 (2010).
  • González-Pertusa JA, Dubé J, Valle SR, Rosa TC, Takane KK, Mellado-Gil JM, Perdomo G, Vasavada RC, García-Ocaña A. Novel pro-apoptotic effect of hepatocyte growth factor: Synergy with palmitate to cause pancreatic beta cell apoptosis Endocrinology 151:1487-1498 (2010). PMID: 20176723
  • Guthalu NK*, Joshi-Gokhale S*, Harb G, Williams K, Zhang XY, Takane KK, Zhang P, Scott D, Stewart AF, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC. Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) enhances human β-cell proliferation and function with simultaneous induction of cyclin-dependent-kinase 2 (cdk2) and CyclinE expression. Diabetes 59: 3131-3138 (2010). PMID: 20876711 (* contributed equally)
  • Mellado-Gil JMD, Rosa TC, Demirci C, Gonzalez-Pertusa JA, Velazquez-Garcia S, Ernst S, Vasavada RC, Stewart AF, Alonso LC and Garcia-Ocaña A. Disruption of HGF/c-met signaling enhances pancreatic beta cell death and accelerates the onset of diabetes. Diabetes 60: 525-536 (2011). PMID: 20980460
  • Velazquez-Garcia S, Valle SR, Takane KK, Rosa TC, Demirci C, Mellado-Gil JMD, Ernst S, Scott D, Vasavada RC, Alonso LC and Garcia-Ocaña A. Activation of Protein Kinase C Zeta (ζ) in Pancreatic β-Cells In Vivo Improves Glucose Tolerance and Induces β-Cell Expansion Via mTOR Activation. Diabetes 60:2546-2559 (2011). PMID: 21911744
  • Williams K, Abanquah D, Joshi-Gokhale S, Lin H, Guthalu NK, Zhang XY, Bisello A, Stewart AF, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC. Systemic administration of parathyroid hormone-related peptide 1-36 stimulates endogenous beta cell growth while preserving function in adult mice. Diabetologia 54:2867-2877 (2011). PMID: 21800111
  • Metukuri MR, Zhang P, Alonso L, Takane K, Strom SC, O’Doherty RM, Stewart AF, Vasavada RC, Garcia-Ocaña A, and Scott DK. ChREBP mediates glucose-stimulated beta cell proliferation. Diabetes 61:2004-2015 (2012). PMID: 22586588
  • Demirci C, Ernst S, Taylor R, Valle S, Becker D, Alonso LC, Vasavada RC, Garcia-Ocaña A. Loss of c-Met in pancreatic ß-cells leads to incomplete maternal ß-cell adaptation and gestational diabetes. Diabetes 61:1143-1152 (2012). PMID: 22427375
  • Guthalu NK, Mozar A, Otero A, Chin C, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC. Lactogens protect rodent and human beta cells against glucolipotoxicity-induced cell death through Jak2/Stat5 signaling. Diabetologia 55:1721-1732 (2012). PMID: 22382519
  • Alvarez-Perez JC, Ernst S, Demirci C, Casinelli GP, Mellado-Gil JM, Rausell-Palamos F, Vasavada RC, Garcia-Ocaña A. Hepatocyte Growth Factor/c-Met Signaling Is Required for ß-Cell Regeneration. Diabetes 63:216-223 (2014). PMID: 24089510
  • Mozar A*, Guthalu NK*, Pollack I, Fenutria R, Vasavada RC. The role of PTHrP in pancreatic beta cells and implications for diabetes pathophysiology and treatment. Clinical Reviews in Bone and Mineral Metabolism 12:165-177 (2014). (* contributed equally)
  • Alvarez-Perez JC, Rosa TC, Casinelli GP, Valle SR, Lakshmipathi J, Rosselot C, Rausell-Palamos F, Vasavada RC, Garcia-Ocaña A. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) ameliorates hyperglycemia and corrects ß-cell mass in IRS2 deficient mice. Molecular Endocrinology 28:2038-2048 (2014). PMID:25361392
  • Wang P, Fiaschi-Taesch NM, Vasavada RC, Scott DK, Garcia-Ocaña A, Stewart AF. Advances and Challenges in Human Beta Cell Proliferation for Diabetes. Nature Reviews Endocrinology 11:201-212 (2015). PMID:25687999
  • Stewart AF, Hussain MA, Garcia-Ocaña A, Vasavada RC, Bhushan A, Bernal-Mizrachi E, Kulkarni RN. Human Beta Cell Proliferation and Intracellular Signaling: Part 3. Diabetes 64:1872-1885 (2015). PMID: 25999530
  • Kondegowda NG, Fenutria R, Pollack I, Orthofer M, Garcia-Ocaña A, Penninger J, Vasavada RC. Osteoprotegerin and Denosumab stimulate human beta cell proliferation through inhibition of the Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand (RANKL) pathway. Cell Metabolism 22:77-85 (2015). PMID: 26094891
  • Lakshmipathi J, Alvarez-Perez JC, Rosselot C, Casinelli GP, Stamateris R, Rausell-Palamos F, O’Donnell CP, Vasavada RC, Scott DK, Alonso LC, Garcia-Ocaña A. PKC ζ activity is essential for pancreatic beta cell replication during insulin resistance by regulating mTOR activation and cyclinD2 expression. Diabetes 65:1283-1296 (2016). PMID: 26868297
  • Mozar A, Lin H, Williams K, Chin C, Nagesha Guthalu NK, Stewart AF, Garcia-Ocana A, Vasavada RC. Parathyroid Hormone-Related peptide (1-36) enhances beta cell regeneration and increases beta cell mass in a mouse model of partial pancreatectomy. PLOS One. 11:e0158414 (2016). PMID: 27391423
  • Sacaan AI, Thibault S, Hong M, Kondegowda NK, Nichols T, Li R, Rosselot C, Evering W, Fenutria R, Vitsky A, Brown T, Finkelstein M, Garcia-Ocaña A, Khan N, Stewart AF, Vasavada RC. CDK4/6 Inhibition on Glucose and Pancreatic Beta Cell Homeostasis in Young and Aged Rats. Mol. Cancer Res. 15:1531-1541 (2017). PMID: 28760782
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