Sharad Ramanathan

Sharad Ramanathan

Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

The research in our lab is directed towards answering two questions: How do cells and organisms process signals from their environment? and How do the underlying molecular pathways evolve?

Harvard University
NorthWest Labs, Room 365.20
52 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-384-7852

Lab Size: Between 5 and 10


Our laboratory studies how cells and organisms make decisions. To arrive at a decision, organisms must measure multiple environmental signals and interpret them appropriately. The questions we are interested in are how cells and organisms interpret their environment, how this interpretation depends on prior experiences, as well as the spatial, temporal modulation and the statistics of environmental cues. We want to achieve a quantitative understanding of the underlying signaling and transcriptional circuits that lead to discrete decisions. Since our goal is to uncover general design principles of the circuits that underlie decision making, our lab works on several model systems. Our recent work has focused on the yeast Sacchromyces cerevisiae, andt we are now working on circuits that make developmental decisions in mammalian cells and behavioral decisions in the worm C. elegans. We are also developing several new optical and micro-fluidic techniques to interrogate the dynamics of signaling and transcriptional networks in single cells.


Mody A., Weiner J., Ramanathan S., (2009) Modularity of MAP kinases allows deformation of their signaling pathways. Nature Cell Biology11, 484 - 491

Hersen P., McClean M.N., Mahadevan L., Ramanathan S., (2008) Signal Processing by the HOG MAP kinase pathway. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105 (20) 7165-7170

Hallatschek O., Hersen, P., Ramanathan, S., and Nelson, D. (2007) Genetic drift at expanding frontiers promotes gene segregation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104 (50), 19926-30

Nachman, I., Regev, A., and Ramanathan, S. (2007) Dissecting Timing Variability in Yeast Meiosis. Cell 131, 544-556.

McClean, M. N., Mody, A., Broach, J., and Ramanathan, S. (2007). Decision Making in MAP Kinase pathways. Nat. Genet. 39, 409-414.