Rajashekhar Gangaraju

Assistant Professor
Anatomy and Neurobiology

MEMPHIS TN 381632243
Tel: (901) 448-2721


  • PostDoc, Indiana University School of Medicine, Vascular Biology
  • Ph.D., National University of Singapore, School of Medicine, Molecular Biology

Research Keywords

Diabetes; Retinopathy; Macular degeneration; Adult stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; adipose stem cells; adipose stromal cells; Pericyte; Apoptosis; Neurodegeneration; Angiogenesis; p38 MAPK.

Research Interest/Specialty

My research program’s goal is to employ adult stem cells derived from adipose tissue for the treatment of retinal neuro-vascular pathology. We primarily utilize preclinical in vitro and in vivo models to investigate the potential of our findings for clinical translation, with the long-term goal of advancing clinical management of Diabetic retinopathy (DR) and Age-related macular degeneration. By training, I am a cell biologist with experience in Physiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Pharmacology with special interest in vascular biology.


  1. Basavarajappa, HD, Lee, B, Lee, H, Sulaiman, RS, An, H, Magaña, C, Shadmand, M, Vayl, A, Rajashekhar, G, Kim, EY, Suh, YG, Lee, K, Seo, SY, Corson, TW. Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Novel Homoisoflavonoids for Retinal Neovascularization. J Med Chem, 58 (12), 5015-27, 2015.
  2. Rajashekhar, G. Mesenchymal stem cells: new players in retinopathy therapy. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 5, 59, 2014.
  3. Basavarajappa, HD, Lee, B, Fei, X, Lim, D, Callaghan, B, Mund, JA, Case, J, Rajashekhar, G, Seo, SY, Corson, TW. Synthesis and mechanistic studies of a novel homoisoflavanone inhibitor of endothelial cell growth. PLoS One, 9 (4), e95694, 2014.
  4. Corson, TW, Samuels, BC, Wenzel, AA, Geary, AJ, Riley, AA, McCarthy, BP, Hanenberg, H, Bailey, BJ, Rogers, PI, Pollok, KE, Rajashekhar, G, Territo, PR. Multimodality imaging methods for assessing retinoblastoma orthotopic xenograft growth and development. PLoS One, 9 (6), e99036, 2014.
  5. Rajashekhar, G, Ramadan, A, Abburi, C, Callaghan, B, Traktuev, DO, Evans-Molina, C, Maturi, R, Harris, A, Kern, TS, March, KL. Regenerative therapeutic potential of adipose stromal cells in early stage diabetic retinopathy. PLoS One, 9 (1), e84671, 2014.
  6. Rajashekhar, G, Shivanna, M, Kompella, UB, Wang, Y, Srinivas, SP. Role of MMP-9 in the breakdown of barrier integrity of the corneal endothelium in response to TNF-α. Exp Eye Res, 122, 77-85, 2014.
  7. Green, LA, Petrusca, D, Rajashekhar, G, Gianaris, T, Schweitzer, KS, Wang, L, Justice, MJ, Petrache, I, Clauss, M. Cigarette smoke-induced CXCR3 receptor up-regulation mediates endothelial apoptosis. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, 47 (6), 807-14, 2012.
  8. Green, LA, Kim, C, Gupta, SK, Rajashekhar, G, Rehman, J, Clauss, M. Pentoxifylline reduces tumor necrosis factor-α and HIV-induced vascular endothelial activation. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 28 (10), 1207-15, 2012.
  9. Dhong, ES, Hwang, NH, Kim, DW, Rajashekhar, G, Johnstone, BH, March, KL. Morphologic changes in photodamaged organotypic human skin culture after treatment of autologous adipose-derived stromal cells. J Craniofac Surg, 23 (3), 805-11, 2012.
  10. Rajashekhar, G, Gupta, A, Marin, A, Friedrich, J, Willuweit, A, Berg, DT, Cramer, MS, Sandusky, GE, Sutton, TA, Basile, DP, Grinnell, BW, Clauss, M. Soluble thrombomodulin reduces inflammation and prevents microalbuminuria induced by chronic endothelial activation in transgenic mice. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol, 302 (6), F703-12, 2012.
  11. Clauss, M, Voswinckel, R, Rajashekhar, G, Sigua, NL, Fehrenbach, H, Rush, NI, Schweitzer, KS, Yildirim, AÃ, Kamocki, K, Fisher, AJ, Gu, Y, Safadi, B, Nikam, S, Hubbard, WC, Tuder, RM, Twigg, HL, Presson, RG, Sethi, S, Petrache, I. Lung endothelial monocyte-activating protein 2 is a mediator of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema in mice. J Clin Invest, 121 (6), 2470-9, 2011.
  12. Rajashekhar, G, Kamocka, M, Marin, A, Suckow, MA, Wolter, WR, Badve, S, Sanjeevaiah, AR, Pumiglia, K, Rosen, E, Clauss, M. Pro-inflammatory angiogenesis is mediated by p38 MAP kinase. J Cell Physiol, 226 (3), 800-8, 2011.
  13. Shivanna, M, Rajashekhar, G, Srinivas, SP. Barrier dysfunction of the corneal endothelium in response to TNF-alpha: role of p38 MAP kinase. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 51 (3), 1575-82, 2010.
  14. Diab, KJ, Adamowicz, JJ, Kamocki, K, Rush, NI, Garrison, J, Gu, Y, Schweitzer, KS, Skobeleva, A, Rajashekhar, G, Hubbard, WC, Berdyshev, EV, Petrache, I. Stimulation of sphingosine 1-phosphate signaling as an alveolar cell survival strategy in emphysema. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 181 (4), 344-52, 2010.
  15. Rajashekhar, G, Mitnacht-Kraus, R, Ispe, U, Garrison, J, Hou, Y, Taylor, B, Petrache, I, Vestweber, D, Clauss, M. A monoclonal rat anti-mouse EMAP II antibody that functionally neutralizes pro- and mature-EMAP II in vitro. J Immunol Methods, 350 (1-2), 22-8, 2009.
  16. Zhang, Y, Herbert, BS, Rajashekhar, G, Ingram, DA, Yoder, MC, Clauss, M, Rehman, J. Premature senescence of highly proliferative endothelial progenitor cells is induced by tumor necrosis factor-alpha via the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. FASEB J, 23 (5), 1358-65, 2009.
  17. Hu, W, Criswell, MH, Fong, SL, Temm, CJ, Rajashekhar, G, Cornell, TL, Clauss, MA. Differences in the temporal expression of regulatory growth factors during choroidal neovascular development. Exp Eye Res, 88 (1), 79-91, 2009.
  18. Rajashekhar, G, Traktuev, DO, Roell, WC, Johnstone, BH, Merfeld-Clauss, S, Van Natta, B, Rosen, ED, March, KL, Clauss, M. IFATS collection: Adipose stromal cell differentiation is reduced by endothelial cell contact and paracrine communication: role of canonical Wnt signaling. Stem Cells, 26 (10), 2674-81, 2008.
  19. Rajashekhar, G, Grow, M, Willuweit, A, Patterson, CE, Clauss, M. Divergent and convergent effects on gene expression and function in acute versus chronic endothelial activation. Physiol Genomics, 31 (1), 104-13, 2007.
  20. Hou, Y, Plett, PA, Ingram, DA, Rajashekhar, G, Orschell, CM, Yoder, MC, March, KL, Clauss, M. Endothelial-monocyte-activating polypeptide II induces migration of endothelial progenitor cells via the chemokine receptor CXCR3. Exp Hematol, 34 (8), 1125-32, 2006.