Rodrigo Fernandez-Valdivia

Rodrigo Fernandez-Valdivia

(313) 577-0879Fax: (313) 577-0057

Rodrigo Fernandez-Valdivia

Office Address

540 E. Canfield, Room 9248
Detroit, MI 48201

Administrative Contact

Brenda Batts

Position Title

Assistant Professor

Education Training

  • B.Sc. Biology (1998) Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa, Peru
  • M.Sc. Histology (Advanced Studies Title) (2001) Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
  • Ph.D. Cellular Biology and Genetics (2006) Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain

Research Interests

Our laboratory conducts research focused on the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that control the intercellular signaling governing organogenesis and cancer development.  We are particularly interested in the study of cell-to-cell communication pathways in lung and mammary gland development, and in defining how deregulation of these signals leads to neoplastic conversion.  We use highly innovative mouse genetic approaches to define the cell-specific roles of the Notch pathway in lung and breast biology by modulating Notch signaling activity in specific cell populations of the lung and mammary epithelia.  Our laboratory is also interested in defining the cellular origins of the distinct subtypes of lung and breast cancers, and in establishing the role of Notch signaling as a downstream mediator of nuclear receptor signaling in the breast epithelium, particularly in mammary gland stem cells.  Our laboratory has a strong interest in developing novel technologies for lineage analysis of normal and cancer stem cells, and in identifying pharmacologically targetable pathways to treat lung and breast cancers.

Areas of Interest

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Cells-of-origin of lung and breast cancers
  • Mammary gland stem cells
  • Notch signaling
  • Steroid hormone signaling


Current Lab Personnel

Lab Personnel


1. Hai L, Szwarc MM, Lonard DM, Rajapakshe K, Perera D, Coarfa C, Ittmann M, Fernandez-Valdivia R, Lydon JP. (2019) Short-term RANKL exposure initiates a neoplastic transcriptional program in the basal epithelium of the murine salivary gland. Cytokine. 2019 Nov;123:154745. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2019.154745. Epub 2019 Jun 18.

2. Chammaa M, Malysa A, Redondo C, Jang H, Chen W, Bepler G, Fernandez-Valdivia R. (2018) RUMI is a novel negative prognostic marker and therapeutic target in non-small-cell lung cancer. J Cell Physiol. 2018 Dec;233(12):9548-9562. doi: 10.1002/jcp.26858. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

3. Dzinic, S.H., Bernardo, M.M., Li, X., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Ho, Y.S., Mi, Q.S., Bandyopadhyay, S., Lonardo, F., Vranic, S., Oliveira, D., Bonfil, R.D., Dyson, G., Chen, K., Omerovic, A., Sheng, X., Han, X., Wu, D., Bi, X., Cabaravdic, D., Jakupovic, U., Wahba, M., Pang, A., Harajli, D., Sakr, W., Sheng, S. (2017) An essential role of maspin in embryogenesis and tumor suppression. Cancer Res. 2017 Feb 15;77(4):886-896. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-2219. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

4. Gal, A., Lin, P.C., Cacioppo, J.A., Hannon, P.R., Mahoney, M.M., Wolfe, A., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Lydon, J.P., Elias, C.F., Ko, C. (2016) Loss of Fertility in the Absence of Progesterone Receptor Expression in Kisspeptin Neurons of Female Mice. PLoS One, 11(7):e0159534. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159534.

5. Thakurdas, S.M., Lopez, M.F., Kakuda, S., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Zarrin-Khameh, N., Haltiwanger, R.S., Jafar-Nejad, H. (2016) Jagged1 heterozygosity in mice results in a congenital cholangiopathy which is reversed by concomitant deletion of one copy of Poglut1 (Rumi). Hepatology, 63(2):550-565.

6. Grimm, S.L., Ward, R.D., Obr, A.E., Franco, H.L., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Kim, J.S., Roberts, J.M., Jeong, J.W., DeMayo, F.J., Lydon, J.P., Edwards, D.P., Weigel, N.L. (2014) A role for site-specific phosphorylation of mouse progesterone receptor at serine 191 in vivo. Mol Endocrinology, 28(12):2025-2037.

7. Takeuchi, H., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Caswell, D., Nita-Lazar, A., Rana, N., Garner, T., Weldeghiorghis, T., Macnaughtan, M., Jafar-Nejad, H., Haltiwanger, R. (2012) Rumi functions as both a protein O-glucosyltransferase and a protein O-xylosyltransferase. PNAS, 108(40): 16600-16605.

8. Franco, H.L., Rubel, C.A., Large, M.J., Wetendorf, M., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Orvis, G.D., Jeong, J., Spencer, T.E., Behringer, R.R., Lydon, J.P., DeMayo, F.J. (2012) Epithelial progesterone receptor exhibits pleiotropic roles in uterine development and function. FASEB, 26(3): 1218-1227.

9. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Lydon, J.P. (2012) From the ranks of mammary progesterone mediators, RANKL takes the spotlight. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 357(1-2): 91-100.

10. Leonardi, J.,* Fernandez-Valdivia, R.,* Li, Y., Simcox, A., Jafar-Nejad, H. (2011) Multiple O-glucosylation sites on Notch function as a buffer against temperature-dependent loss of signaling. Development , 138(16): 3569-3578. *Co-first authors.

11. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Takeuchi, H., Samarghandi, A., Lopez, M., Leonardi, J., Haltiwanger, R.S., Jafar-Nejad, H. (2011) Regulation of the mammalian Notch signaling and embryonic development by the protein O-glucosyltransferase Rumi. Development, 138(10): 1925-1934.

12. Jafar-Nejad, H., Leonardi, J., Fernandez-Valdivia, R. (2010) Role of Glycans and Glycosyltransferases in the Regulation of Notch Signaling. Glycobiology, 20(8): 931-949.

13. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Jeong, J., Mukherjee, A., Soyal, S.M., Li, J., Ying, Y., Demayo, F.J., Lydon, J.P. (2010) A mouse model to dissect progesterone signaling in the female reproductive tract and mammary gland. Genesis, 48(2): 106-113.

14. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Mukherjee A., Ying, Y., Li, J., Paquet, M., DeMayo, F., Lydon, J. P. (2009) The RANKL signaling axis is sufficient to elicit ductal side-branching and alveologenesis in the mammary gland of the virgin mouse. Developmental Biology, 328(1):127-139.

15. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Mukherjee, A., Creighton, C. J., Buser, A. C., DeMayo F. J., Edwards D. P., Lydon J. P. (2008) Transcriptional Response of the Murine Mammary Gland to Acute Progesterone Exposure. Endocrinology, 149(12): 6236-6250.

16. Mukherjee, A., Soyal, S. M., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., DeMayo, F. J., Lydon, J. P. (2007) Targeting Reverse Tetracycline-Dependent Transactivator to Murine Mammary Epithelial Cells That Express the Progesterone Receptor. Genesis, 45(10): 639-646.

17. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Mukherjee, A., Amato, P., Allred, D. C.,Nguyen, J., DeMayo, F. J., Lydon, J. P. (2007) Progesterone action in the murine uterus and mammary gland requires steroid receptor coactivator 2: relevance to the human. Frontiers in Biosciences, 12: 3640-3647.

18. Mukherjee, A., Soyal, S. M., Wheeler, D. A., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Nguyen, J., Demayo, F. J., Lydon, J. P. (2006) Targeting iCre expression to murine progesterone receptor cell-lineages using bacterial artificial chromosome transgenesis. Genesis, 44(12): 601-610.

19. Mukherjee, A., Amato, P., Allred, D.C., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Nguyen, J., O'Malley, B.W., Demayo, F.J., Lydon, J.P. (2006) Steroid receptor coactivator 2 is essential for progesterone-dependent uterine function and mammary morphogenesis: Insights from the mouse-implications for the human. J Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol., 102(1-5): 22-31.

20. Mukherjee, A., Soyal S.M., Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Gehin, M., Chambon, P., DeMayo, F.J., Lydon,1 J.P. and O’Malley, B.W. (2006) Steroid Receptor Coactivator 2 Is Critical for Progesterone-Dependent Uterine Function and Mammary Morphogenesis in the Mouse. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 26(17): 6571-6583.

21. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Zhang, Y., Pai, S., Metzker, M.L., and Schumacher, A. (2006) l7Rn6 encodes a novel protein required for Clara cell function in mouse lung development. Genetics, 172(1):389-399.

22. Fernandez-Valdivia, R., Mukherjee, A., Mulac-Jericevic, B., Conneely, O.M., DeMayo, F.J., Amato, P., Lydon, J.P. (2005) Revealing progesterone's role in uterine and mammary gland biology: insights from the mouse. Semin Reprod Med., 23(1):22-37.

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