Raj Gopalakrishnan

Raj Gopalakrishnan

Academic Title

Associate Professor and Director
Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences


Fellowship, University of Michigan Center for Organogenesis Post doctoral fellowship 2001
Dentistry, BDS, University of Madras (Chennai, India), 1991
Pathology, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 1999
Other Education
Bone Biology, Post Doctoral, University of Michigan, 2002

Contact Info




Office Address

16-108b Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Bio Statement

Dr. Raj Gopalakrishnan is an Associate Professor and director of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota. He is also a member of the Oral Biology Graduate program at the School of Dentistry.

Dr. Gopalakrishnan received his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.D.S.) degree from University of Madras, Chennai, India in 1991 and completed a residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in 1995. He subsequently obtained a Ph.D. in Pathology from The Ohio State University in 1999, and joined the laboratory of Dr. Renny Franceschi at the University of Michigan as a post doctoral fellow.

In 2002, he became an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.

Research Interests

Transcriptional regulation of osteoblast differentiation and mineralization

Effects of parathyroid hormone on osteoblasts

Regulation of BMP signaling in bone formation

Regulation of BMP signaling in craniofacial development

Research summary:

Dr. Gopalakrishnan's research focuses on genetic mechanisms involved in bone development, specifically the regulation of osteoblast differentiation and mineralization. Two major projects are currently underway in the laboratory. The first involves the regulation of matrix Gla protein (MGP), a key mineralization inhibitor, by parathyroid hormone (PTH). The inhibition of osteoblast-mediated mineralization of the extracellular matrix is one of the major catabolic effects of parathyroid hormone (PTH) on bone. Dr. Gopalakrishnan's studies have shown that induction of MGP by PTH is critical for inhibition of mineralization in osteoblasts. Current studies are directed towards identifying specific signaling and transcriptional mechanisms involved in PTH-mediated induction of MGP and its regulation of PTH-dependent inhibition of mineralization. Dr. Gopalakrishnan is also studying the role of twisted gastrulation (Tsg) in skeletal and craniofacial development. Tsg is a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-binding protein that has the ability to either antagonize or enhance BMP signaling depending on the species, concentration of interacting proteins, and the stage of development. Current studies are directed towards understanding the role of Tsg in osteoblast differentiation and the mode of regulation of BMP signaling in osteoblasts using in vitro and in vivo approaches.


Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society 1998

Fellowship, University of Michigan Center for Organogenesis Post doctoral fellowship 2001

AADR Block Travel Grant 2001

AADR/Warner Lambert Hatton Award 2001

IADR/Unilever Hatton Award 2001

New Investigator Award

Seventh International Conference on the Chemistry and Biology of Mineralized Tissue 2001

Century Club Professor of the Year 2011



Petryk A, Shimmi O, Tervonen L, Jarcho MP, O'Connor, MB and Gopalakrishnan R. Twisted Gastrulation and Chordin inhibits differentiation and mineralization in MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells. Bone., 36(4):617-26, 2005.

Koutlas IG, Pambuccian S, Gopalakrishnan R. Perivascular epithelioid cell tumor of the oral mucosa. Arch Pathol Lab Med., 129(5): 690-3, 2005.

Gopalakrishnan R, Thomas PE, Benson MD, Wang D and Franceschi RT. A homeodomain protein-binding element in the bone sialoprotein promoter is critical for tissue-specific expression in bone. Connect. Tissue Res., 44 (Suppl. 1):154-160, 2003.

Franceschi RT, Xiao G, Jiang D, Gopalakrishnan R, Yang S and Reith E. Multiple signaling pathways converge on the Cbfa1/Runx2 transcription factor to regulate osteoblast differentiation. Connect. Tissue Res., 44(Suppl. 1): 109-116, 2003.

Xiao G, Jiang D, Gopalakrishnan R and Franceschi RT. FGF-2 induction of the osteocalcin gene requires MAPK activity and phosphorylation of the osteoblast transcription factor, Cbfa1/Runx2. J. Biol. Chem., 277(39):36181-36187, 2002.

Carlton PS, Gopalakrishnan R, Gupta A, Liston BW, Habib S, Morse, MA and Stoner GD. Piroxicam is an ineffective inhibitor of N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine-induced tumorigenesis in the rat esophagus. Cancer Research, 62(15):4376-4382, 2002.

Xiao G, Gopalakrishnan R, Jiang D, Reith E, Benson MD and Franceschi RT. Bone morphogenetic proteins, extracellular matrix, and mitogen-activated kinase signaling pathways are required for osteoblast-specific gene expression and differentiation in MC3T3-E1 cells. J. Bone Mineral Res, 17:101-110, 2002.

Gopalakrishnan R, Gupta AK, Carlton PS, Morse MA and Stoner GD. Functional role of cytochrome P450 2A3 in N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA) metabolism in rat esophagus. J. Environ. Health Toxicol A, 65(15): 1077-1091, 2002.

Gopalakrishnan R, Ouyang HJ, Somerman MJ, McCauley LK and Franceschi RT. Matrix Gla protein is a key regulator of PTH/PTHrP-mediated inhibition of mineralization in osteoblasts. Endocrinology, 142(10):4379-4388, 2001.

Gopalakrishnan R, Morse MA, Lu J, Weghorst CM, Sabourin CLK, Stoner GD and Murphy SE. Expression of cytochrome P450 2A3 in rat esophagus: relevance to N-nitrosobenzylmethylamine. Carcinogenesis, 20: 885-891, 1999.

Gopalakrishnan R, Weghorst CM, Lehman TA, Calvert RJ, Bijur G, Sabourin CLK, Mallery SR, Schuller CE and Stoner GD. Mutated and wild type p53 expression and HPV integration in proliferative verrucous leukoplakia and oral squamous cell carcinoma. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Path Oral Radiol and Endod., 83: 471-77, 1997.

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  • Last modified on September 3, 2014