Anjana Rao, Ph.D.

Anjana Rao, Ph.D. headshot

Anjana Rao, Ph.D.

Professor, Division of Signalling and Gene Expression, La Jolla Institute for Immunology
Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology and Moores Cancer Center, UC San Diego

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Anjana Rao's Bio

Dr. Anjana Rao obtained her Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard University and was a Professor at Harvard Medical School until 2011, 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 mediate DNA demethylation 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 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 has received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA. She has mentored more than 100 students and post-doctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to leadership positions in science-related fields.

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