Assoc. Prof. Esra Çağavi

I have receieved my bachelor’s degree from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Bosphorus (Bogazici) University in 2002. The following year I have joined Dr. Gerry Weinmaster’s lab at the Biological Chemisty Department at UCLA. There, I was interested in elucidating the mechanism of activation of Notch signaling in the mammalian system. Due to its high importance and relevance in normal and diseased state, I have examined ADAM metalloprotease mediated cleavage of Notch receptor, which is a requirement for signaling activity, and which could serve as a therapeutic target. Our study demonstrated clearly that the metalloproteases required for ligand-induced or ligand-independent shedding of Notch receptor are in fact different. My studies revealed that while ADAM10 is absolutely required for normal Notch1 processing induced by ligand, ADAM17 is exclusively required for ligand-independent, dysregulated Notch1 activity.

After completing my graduate studies at UCLA, I have joined Dr. Yibing Qyang’s lab at the Stem Cell and Cardiovascular Research Center at Yale University. As heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, I was interested in specializing in understanding cardiac development and disease at the molecular level. Particularly, I was focused on potential role of stem cells and stem-cell derived cells in cardiac development and regeneration. Through my post-doctoral studies, I had experience in signaling mechanisms in stem cell differentiation, basic cardiac tissue engineering techniques and iPSC approach for disease modelling. This work has been instrumental and layed the foundation for my own research group.

The current interests of my lab at REMER are:

  • Modelling disease in vitro by induced-pluripotent stem cells-derived from patients
  • Understanding molecular mechanisms of cardiac development and disease
  • Developing novel tissue engineering approaches for cardiac tissue generation for heart repair


  • Cagavi E. , Bartulos O., Suh C. Y., Sun B., Yue Z., Jiang Z., Yue L., Qyang Y. “Functional cardiomyocytes derived from Isl1 cardiac progenitors via Bmp4 stimulation” Plos One (2014).
  • Dunworth W. P., Cardona-Costa J., Cagavi E., Kim J. D., Meadows S., Fisher J. C., Wang Y., Cleaver O., Qyang Y., Ober E. A., and Jin S. W. “Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2 Signaling Negatively Modulates Lymphatic Development in Vertebrate Embryos” Circ Res 114 (1) :56-66 (2014).
  • Ge X., Ren Y., Bartulos O., Lee M. Y., Yue Z, Kim K. Y., Li W., Amos P. J., Cagavi Bozkulak E., Iyer A., Zheng W., Zhao H., Martin K. A., Kotton D. N., Tellides G., Park I. H., Yue L., Qyang Y. “Modeling Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis Syndrome Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” Circulation 126(14):1695-704 (2012).
  • Alcon A., Cagavi Bozkulak E., Qyang Y. “Regenerating Functional Heart Tissue for Myocardial Repair” Cell Mol Life Sci 69(16):2635-56 (2012).
  • Amos P. J., Cagavi Bozkulak E., Qyang Y. “Methods of Cell Purification: A Critical Juncture for Laboratory Research and Translational Science” Cells Tissues Organs 195(1-2):26-40 (2012).
  • Lee M. Y., Cagavi Bozkulak E., Schliffke S., Amos P. J., Ren Y., Ge X., Ehrlich B. E., Qyang Y. “High Density Cultures of Embryoid Bodies Enhanced Cardiac Differentiation of Murine Embryonic Stem Cells” Biochem Biophys Res Commun 416, 51-57 (2011).
  • Lee M. Y., Sun B., Schliffke S., Yue Z., Ye M., Paavola J, Cagavi Bozkulak E., Amos P.J., Ren Y., Ju R., Jung Y. W., Ge X., Yue L., Ehrlich B. E., Qyang Y. “Derivation of Functional Ventricular Cardiomyocytes Using Endogenous Promoter Sequence from Murine Embryonic Stem Cells” Stem Cell Res 8, 49–57 (2011).
  • Bozkulak E. C., Weinmaster G. “Selective Use of ADAM10 and ADAM17 in Activation of Notch1 Signaling” Mol Cell Bio 29(21), 5679–5695 (2009).
  • Rooke N., Vadim M., Cagavi E., Black D. L. “Roles for SR Proteins and hnRNP A1 in the Regulation of c-src Exon N1” Mol Cell Bio 23(6), 1874-1884 (2003).