Gopal Sapkota was born in a remote village in Nepal and raised there. At the age of 9, he attended a national school in Kathmandu, where he completed his schooling. He went to England for his undergraduate studies and obtained his Masters in Biochemistry from University of Bath.
Gopal received his Ph.D. from University of Dundee under the supervision of Dr. Dario Alessi. During this time he initiated the work on the LKB1 protein kinase, which has subsequently led to many discoveries in the field from the lab. After that he worked in Joan Massagué’s laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York as a postdoctoral fellow. There he received the prestigious Damon Runyon Fellowship to study the regulation of TGFβ signalling pathway, which is defective in many human diseases.
Gopal discovered that phosphorylation of Smad transcription factors downstream of the MAPK and other pathways marks them for recognition and degradation by the ubiquitin ligase Smurf1. He also identified SCPs as the Smad1-tail as well as Smad1/2/3-linker phosphatases.
In November 2008, he joined the MRC Unit as a Programme Leader and his lab focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved in balancing the TGFβ/BMP pathways in cells and human diseases.