Yohannes Tesfaigzi, PhD

Fundamental Science
Senior Faculty Representative


Professor, Medicine, Respiratory and Inflammatory Diseases, BWH

Dr. Tesfaigzi completed his studies in cell and molecular biology at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, and continued with postdoctoral training on airway cells at the University of California, Davis. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Tesfaigzi research interest has been focused on identifying the cause for chronic mucous hypersecretion, a hallmark of cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, and asthmatic bronchitis. His studies have shown that the intrinsic cell death pathway is crucial for regulating the number of hyperplastic mucous cells. More recently, Dr. Tesfaigzi showed that the Native American ancestry in Hispanic populations is protective from decline in lung function and airflow obstruction. In addition, he has identified genetic variants that increase susceptibility to chronic bronchitis and elucidated the functional significance of these polymorphisms. Based on his discovery of new peptides and small molecules that successfully reduce mucous cell metaplasia in animal models, current efforts are to evaluate the efficacy of these new drugs in individuals with susceptibility genes for chronic bronchitis.  Dr. Tesfaigzi has served on and chaired many study sections.