Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
The Beers Laboratory
Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

University of Pennsylvania / School of Medicine / Beers Lab

Surafel Mulugeta, Ph.D.

Full size Mulugeta   

       Research Assistant Professor of Medicine

          Translational Research Center
          3400 Civic Center Blvd.
          Room 11-111
          Philadelphia, PA  19104-5159

          Phone: (215) 746-6709

          Fax: ( 215) 746-5985




Surafel Mulugeta, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division (PACCD) of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Mulugeta received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences in 1997 from Old Dominion University/Eastern Virginia Medical School. He completed his post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Aron B. Fisher and Dr. Henry Shuman at the Institute for Environmental Medicine, and with Dr. Michael F. Beers at the PACCD. Following two years as a research associate in Dr. Beers’ laboratory, he joined the PCCD faculty in 2006.

Dr. Mulugeta’s early work includes studies of protein trafficking in the nervous system as well as the identification and characterization of an alveolar type II cell localized ABC transporter protein, ABCA3.

His recent work primarily focuses on the study of the trafficking and posttranslational molecular processing of surfactant protein C (SP-C) and ABCA3 as well as molecular, cellular, and functional analyses of mutant SP-C and ABCA3 forms that are associated with interstitial lung disease (ILD). He is also involved in the study of diseases associated with other ABCA gene mutations associated with major diseases.


Doctoral training – Ph.D. – Biomedical Science/Neuroscience, Eastern Virginia Medical School/Old Dominion University, Norfolk VA, 1997

Postdoctoral Fellowship – Pulmonary Biology, Institute for Environmental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA, 1998–2000

Postdoctoral Fellowship – Pulmonary Biology, Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA, 2000–2003


Dr. Mulugeta’s recent work was funded by the American Lung Association, Dalsemer Research Award (2003-2005), by the Parker B. Francis Foundation Research Award (2004-2007), and by NIH Investigator Research Supplement (IRS) Award (2005-2008). He is currently funded by NIH NHLBI PO1 HL19737, NIH NHLBI RO1 HL090732, and NIH NHLBI ARRA HL090732.


Mulugeta S., J. M. Gray, K. L. Notarfrancesco, L. W. Gonzales, M. Koval, S. I. Feinstein, P. L. Ballard, A. B. Fisher, and H. Shuman. Identification of lbm180 a Lamellar Body Limiting Membrane Protein of Alveolar Type II Cells as the ABC Transporter Protein, ABCA3. J. Biol. Chem. 277:22147-22155, 2002.

Wang W., S. J. Russo, S. Mulugeta, and M. F. Beers. Biosynthesis of Surfactant Protein C: Sorting of SP-C Proprotein Involves Homomeric Association Via a Signal Anchor Domain. J. Biol. Chem. 277:19929-19937, 2002.

Wang W., S. Mulugeta, S. J. Russo, and M. F. Beers. Deletion of Exon 4 From Human Surfactant Protein C Results in Aggresome Formation and Generation of a Dominant Negative. J. Cell Science 116:683-692, 2003.

Mulugeta S., and M. F. Beers. Processing of Surfactant Protein C Requires a Type II Transmembrane Topolgy Directed by Juxtamembrane Positively Charged Residues. J. Biol. Chem. 278:47979-47986, 2003.

Brasch F., M. Griese, M. Tredano, G. Johnen, M. Ochs, T. Nicolai, C. Rieger, S. Hagwood, S. Mulugeta, K.M. Muller, M. Bahuau, and M. F. Beers. Interstitial Pneumonia and Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis in a Full-Term Baby with a De Novo Mutation in the Surfactant Protein C Gene. Eur. Resp. J. 24:1-11, 2004.

Beers M. F., and S. Mulugeta. Surfactant Protein Processing and its Emerging Role in Conformational Lung Disease. (Review) Annu. Rev. Physio., 67:663-696, 2005.

Stevens P.A., A. Pettenazzo, F. Brasch, S. Mulugeta, A. Bartussio; M. Ochs, L. Morrison, S. J., Russo, and M. F. Beers. Non-Specific Interstitial Pneumonitis, Lipoptoteinosis, and Abnormal Proprotein Trafficking Resulting From a Spontaneous Mutation in the Surfactant Protein C Gene. Pediatrics Research. 57:89-98, 2005.

Mulugeta S., V. Nguyen, S. J. Russo, M. Muniswamy, and M. F. Beers. A ProSP-C BRICHOS Domain Mutation Causes ER Stress, Proteasome Dysfunction, and Caspase 3 Activation. 2005 Am. J. Resp. Cell Mol. Biol. 32:521-530, 2005.

Beers M. F., and S. Mulugeta. Surfactant: Surfactant proteins B and C (SP-B and SP-C) in Encyclopedia of Respiratory Medicine. Editors: G. Laurent and S. Shapiro. Elsevier – St. Louis. 148-151, 2006.

Mulugeta S. and Beers M. F. Surfactant Protein C: Its Unique Properties and Emerging Immunomodulatory Role in the Lung. (Review) Microbes and Infection 8:2317-2323, 2006.

Mulugeta S., J. A. Maguire, J. L. Newitt, S.J. Russo, A. Kotorashvili, and M. F. Beers.  Misfolded BRICHOS SP-C mutant proteins induce apoptosis via caspase 4 and cytochrome c related mechanisms. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 293: L720–L729, 2007.

Kotorashvilli A., S.J. Russo, S. Mulugeta, S. Guttentag, M. F. Beers.  Anterograde Transport of Surfactant Protein C Proprotein to Distal Processing Compartments Requires PPDY Mediated Association with Nedd4 Ubiquitin Ligases.  J Biol Chem 284:16667-16678, 2009.

Woichnik M, Sparr C, Kern S, Thurm T, Hector A, Hartl D, Liebisch G, Mulugeta S, Beers MF, Schmitz G, Griese M. A non-BRICHOS surfactant protein C mutation disrupts epithelial cell function and intracellular signaling. BMC Cell Biol. 11:88, 2010.

Maguire, J.A., Mulugeta S., and Beers, M.F.  Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Induced by Surfactant Protein C BRICHOS Mutants Promotes Proinflammatory Signaling by Epithelial Cells.  Am. J. Respir. Cell. Mol. Biol. 44:404–414, 2011.

Beers, M.F., Hawkins, A., Shuman, H., Zhao, M., Newitt, J.N., Maguire, J.A., and Mulugeta, S.  A novel conserved targeting motif found in ABCA transporters mediates trafficking to early post Golgi compartments. J. Lipid Res. 52:1471-1482, 2011.

Beers, M.F., Hawkins, A., Maguire JA., Kotorashvili, A., Zhao M., Newitt, J.L. Ding, W., Russo, S.J, Guttentag, S., Gonzales, L., and Mulugeta, S. A non-aggregating surfactant protein C mutant is misdirected to early endosomes and disrupts phospholipid recycling. Traffic 12:1196-2012, 2011.

Maguire, J.A., Mulugeta S., and Beers, M.F.  Multiple ways to die: Delineation of the unfolded protein response and apoptosis induced by Surfactant Protein C BRICHOS mutants.  Int. J. Biochem. & Cell Biol. 44:101-112, 2012.

Research Interests