Hrishikesh S. Kulkarni, MD, MSCI


Instructor of Medicine

Education and Training

  • Medical Degree: Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India (2009)
  • Postdoctoral Research Scholar: University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA (2010)
  • Residency, Internal Medicine: UPMC Montefiore/Presbyterian Internal Medicine Residency Program, Pittsburgh, PA (2013)
  • Fellowship, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine: Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis MO (2016)
  • Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI), Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, MO (2017)
  • Postdoctoral Research Scholar: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (2018)
  • Instructor of Medicine: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO (Present)



  • National Science Fellowship for Students Interested in Research Careers, India, 2005
  • 57th Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Lindau, 19th Forum dedicated to Physiology or Medicine, Germany, 2007
  • Jonas Salk Fellowship, Health Career Futures, Jewish Health Care Foundation, Pittsburgh, United States, 2012
  • International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation Early Career Registry Award, 2014
  • Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP), Philadelphia, PA, 2017
  • Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP), Glenview, IL, 2017
  • KL2 Career Development Award, Washington University, St Louis, 2018

Research Interests

Dr. Kulkarni’s research focuses how the innate immune system, specifically complement proteins, affects the lung epithelium in health and disease. During postdoctoral training with Dr. John Atkinson (Rheumatology), he demonstrated that airway epithelial cells are unique in having intracellular stores of the complement protein C3 (a central component of the cascade) and these stores can be augmented to mitigate cell death. Dr. Kulkarni employs both in vitro and in vivo model systems to distinguish the role of locally-derived C3 in the lung from that present in the blood and how it modulates the development of acute lung injury.

Additionally, Dr. Kulkarni is utilizing human bronchoalveolar lavage specimens, explant tissue and DNA to determine whether certain components of the complement system can be used to identify those recipients developing  severe primary graft dysfunction, a form of acute lung injury occurring after lung transplantation.

The overarching goal of this research is to determine how epithelial cell-derived proteins can be harnessed to mitigate the risk of acute lung injury in various settings, to ultimately reduce the burden of end-stage lung disease. Additionally, identifying mechanisms by which complement facilitates survival of airway epithelial cells makes it an attractive target for studying in other diseases benefiting from pro-survival mechanisms such as cancer.



View Dr. Kulkarni’s publications on PubMed