• Adjunct Professor, Global Health
  • Professor, Pediatrics - Infectious Diseases
  • Adjunct Professor, Microbiology
Lakshmi Rajagopal

Seattle Children's Research Institute
307 Westlake Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
United States

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Dr. Rajagopal is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Washington. She has adjunct faculty appointments in the Departments of Microbiology and Global Health at the University of Washington. She is also a full faculty member of the Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD program of the University of Washington and a course coordinator of the PABIO 551 program in the Interdisciplinary Pathobiology PhD program.

Rajagopal is a member of the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute, where her laboratory is physically located. She is an internationally recognized expert on the role of novel signaling pathways in Gram-positive pathogens.

Dr. Rajagopal's research interest is to understand virulence mechanisms of human pathogens. Her lab currently focuses on understanding how signaling systems facilitate virulence factor expression and adaptive responses in the human pathogens, Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and Staphylococcus aureus. A full listing of Dr. Rajagopal's journal publications can be found here

  • PhD (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
  • MSc (Madurai University (India))
  • BSc (Bangalore University)
Country Affiliations 
  • Tamil
Health Topics 
  • Infectious Diseases (other than STDs)
  • Maternal Child Health (incl. Reproductive Health)
  • Pathobiology
Pathobiology research areas 
DGH Centers, Programs and Initiatives and Affiliated Organizations 

Bacterial pathogenesis with a focus on Group B Streptococcus and Staphylococcus aureus infections.


Whidbey C, Harrell MI, Burnside K, Ngo L, Becraft AK, Iyer LM, Aravind L, Hitti J, Adams Waldorf KM, Rajagopal L. A hemolytic pigment of Group B Streptococcus allows bacterial penetration of human placenta. J Exp Med 2013;210(6):1265-1281. PMC3674703.

Whidbey C, Vornhagen J, Gendrin C, Boldenow E, Samson JM, Doering K, Ngo L, Ezekwe EA, Jr., Gundlach JH, Elovitz MA, Liggitt D, Duncan JA , Adams Waldorf KM, Rajagopal L. A streptococcal lipid toxin induces membrane permeabilization and pyroptosis leading to fetal injury. EMBO Mol Med 2015;7(4):488-505. PMID25750210. PMC4403049.

Boldenow E, Gendrin C, Ngo L, Bierle C, Vornhagen J, Coleman M, Merillat S, Armistead B, Whidbey C, Alishetti V, Santana-Ufret V, Ogle J, Gough M, Srinouanprachanh S, MacDonald JW, Bammler TK, Bansal A, Liggitt HD, Rajagopal L*, Adams Waldorf KM. Group B Streptococcus circumvents neutrophils and neutrophil extracellular traps during amniotic cavity invasion and preterm labor. Sci Immunol 2016;1(4):aah4576. PMID27819066. PMC5089172. *Co-Corresponding Author

Adams Waldorf KM*, Nelson BR, Stencel-Baerenwald JE, Studholme C, Kapur RP, Armistead B, Walker CL, Merillat S, Vornhagen J, Tisoncik-Go J, Baldessari A, Coleman M, Dighe MK, Shaw DWW, Roby JA, Santana-Ufret V, Boldenow E, Li J, Gao X, Davis MA, Swanstrom JA, Jensen K, Widman DG, Baric RS, Medwid JT, Hanley KA, Ogle J, Gough GM, Lee W, English C, Durning WM, Thiel J, Gatenby C, Dewey EC, Fairgrieve MR, Hodge RD, Grant RF, Kuller L, Dobyns WB, Hevner RF, Gale M, Jr. and Rajagopal L*. Congenital Zika virus infection as a silent pathology with loss of neurogenic output in the fetal brain. Nat Med 2018 Mar;24(3):368-374. PMID29400709. PMC5839998. *Co-corresponding authors

Vornhagen J, Armistead B, Santana-Ufret V, Gendrin C, Merillat S, Coleman M, Quach P, Boldenow E, Alishetti V, Leonhard-Melief C, Ngo LY, Whidbey C, Doran KS, Curtis C, Waldorf KMA, Nance E, Rajagopal L. Group B streptococcus exploits vaginal epithelial exfoliation for ascending infection. J Clin Invest 2018 May 1;128(5):1985-1999. PMID29629904. PMC5919824.