Professor, Division of Signaling and Gene Expression
La Jolla Institute for Immunology
Dr. Anjana Rao obtained her Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University and was a Professor at Harvard Medical School until 2010, when she moved to the La Jolla Institute and UCSD (University of California in San Diego). Her research is focused on the regulation of gene expression, using immune cells, haematopoietic stem cells and embryonic stem cells as model systems. Her lab purified and molecularly characterized the calcium/ calcineurin-regulated transcription factor NFAT; defined diverse transcriptional programs regulated by NFAT proteins in T cells; identified the pore subunit of the store-operated Ca2+ channel, ORAI1; and discovered that proteins of the TET family are enzymes that alter DNA methylation status and regulate gene expression by oxidizing 5-methylcytosine. In recent studies, her lab has defined the role of NFAT and other transcription factors in anti-tumor responses, and explored the roles of TET proteins and oxidized methylcytosines in the immune/ haematopoietic systems and in embryonic development and oncogenesis. Dr. Rao has received numerous awards throughout her career. She is an elected member/fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and recently received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA. She has mentored more than 90 students and post-doctoral fellows who have gone on to leadership positions in science-related fields.