Rupa Sridharan

Rupa Sridharan
Epigenetic control of cell identity in pluripotency, development and disease


  • PhD, Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • MSc, Biotechnology, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India
  • BSc, Life Sciences and Biochemistry, St. Xavier’s College, University of Mumbai, India

Research Description

The main scientific focus of the lab is in defining how the epigenome controls cell fate. During the development of a multicellular organism a single cell can give rise to an entire organism made of a multitude of cells of specialized function. Such functional specification is determined by the integration of signaling and spatial cues that control levels of transcription factors and the receptivity of the chromatin state. Once cell identity is established, epigenetic modifications, including those on histones and DNA, can ensure that it is stably propagated. Cell fate is disrupted in vivo in diseased states and also as organisms age. In vitro, unipotent somatic cells can be reprogrammed to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs can self renew indefinitely and differentiate into all other cell types similar to embryonic stem cells (ESCs). iPSCs bypass the ethical and practical constraints of using ESCs for regenerative therapy.

Our lab is focused on investigating the common and distinct mechanisms that underlie all these paradigms of cell fate change. For this purpose we use genome wide techniques to query the epigenome, transcriptome and proteome at the population and single cell level.


  • Vilas Early Career Investigator award, UW-Madison
  • Kimmel Scholar Award, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Foundation
  • Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award, March of Dimes Foundation
  • Shaw Scientist Award, Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • UCLA, Chancellor’s Award for Postdoctoral Research