Xaralabos G. Varelas, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Cell Biology

Xaralabos Varelas
72 E. Concord St


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.

Other Positions

  • Member, BU-BMC Cancer Center, Boston University
  • Member, Pulmonary Center, Boston University
  • Member, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Boston University
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, Boston University
  • Member, Genome Science Institute, Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences


  • University of Alberta, PhD
  • McGill University, BSc


  • Published on 6/21/2023

    Reed ER, Jankowski SA, Spinella AJ, Noonan V, Haddad R, Nomoto K, Matsui J, Bais MV, Varelas X, Kukuruzinska MA, Monti S. ß-catenin/CBP activation of mTORC1 signaling promotes partial epithelial-mesenchymal states in head and neck cancer. Transl Res. 2023 Oct; 260:46-60. PMID: 37353110.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/18/2023

    Federico A, Kern J, Varelas X, Monti S. Structure learning for gene regulatory networks. PLoS Comput Biol. 2023 May; 19(5):e1011118. PMID: 37200395.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/8/2023

    Ning B, Tilston-Lunel AM, Simonetti J, Hicks-Berthet J, Matschulat A, Pfefferkorn R, Spira A, Edwards M, Mazzilli S, Lenburg ME, Beane JE, Varelas X. Convergence of YAP/TAZ, TEAD and TP63 activity is associated with bronchial premalignant severity and progression. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2023 May 08; 42(1):116. PMID: 37150829.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/24/2023

    Khan MM, Frustino J, Villa A, Nguyen BC, Woo SB, Johnson WE, Varelas X, Kukuruzinska M, Monti S. Total RNA sequencing reveals gene expression and microbial alterations shared by oral pre-malignant lesions and cancer. bioRxiv. 2023 Mar 24. PMID: 36993637.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/15/2023

    Tilston-Lunel AM, Varelas X. Polarity in respiratory development, homeostasis and disease. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2023; 154:285-315. PMID: 37100521.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/20/2023

    Burgess CL, Huang J, Bawa P, Alysandratos KD, Minakin K, Morley MP, Babu A, Villacorta-Martin C, Hinds A, Thapa BR, Wang F, Matschulat AM, Morrisey EE, Varelas X, Kotton DN. Generation of human alveolar epithelial type I cells from pluripotent stem cells. bioRxiv. 2023 Jan 20. PMID: 36711505.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/20/2023

    Raslan AA, Pham TX, Lee J, Hong J, Schmottlach J, Nicolas K, Dinc T, Bujor AM, Caporarello N, Thiriot A, von Andrian UH, Huang SK, Nicosia RF, Trojanowska M, Varelas X, Ligresti G. Single Cell Transcriptomics of Fibrotic Lungs Unveils Aging-associated Alterations in Endothelial and Epithelial Cell Regeneration. bioRxiv. 2023 Jan 20. PMID: 36712020.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/28/2022

    Kern JG, Tilston-Lunel AM, Federico A, Ning B, Mueller A, Peppler GB, Stampouloglou E, Cheng N, Johnson RL, Lenburg ME, Beane JE, Monti S, Varelas X. Inactivation of LATS1/2 drives luminal-basal plasticity to initiate basal-like mammary carcinomas. Nat Commun. 2022 Nov 28; 13(1):7198. PMID: 36443313.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/2/2022

    Rohban MH, Fuller AM, Tan C, Goldstein JT, Syangtan D, Gutnick A, DeVine A, Nijsure MP, Rigby M, Sacher JR, Corsello SM, Peppler GB, Bogaczynska M, Boghossian A, Ciotti GE, Hands AT, Mekareeya A, Doan M, Gale JP, Derynck R, Turbyville T, Boerckel JD, Singh S, Kiessling LL, Schwarz TL, Varelas X, Wagner FF, Kafri R, Eisinger-Mathason TSK, Carpenter AE. Virtual screening for small-molecule pathway regulators by image-profile matching. Cell Syst. 2022 Sep 21; 13(9):724-736.e9. PMID: 36057257.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/30/2022

    Shirai T, Sekai M, Kozawa K, Sato N, Tanimura N, Kon S, Matsumoto T, Murakami T, Ito S, Tilston-Lunel A, Varelas X, Fujita Y. Basal extrusion of single-oncogenic mutant cells induces dome-like structures with altered microenvironments. Cancer Sci. 2022 Nov; 113(11):3710-3721. PMID: 35816400.

    Read at: PubMed

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