Biology Faculty: Prashanth Rangan

Prashanth Rangan

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Office LS2033D
Telephone (518) 442-3485
Fax (518) 442-4767

Areas of Interest

  • Translational regulation in stem cell maintenance
  • Role of heterochromatin in small RNA production
  • Role of non-coding RNAs in stem cell fate



The goal of the Rangan Laboratory is to understand how a stem cell fate is initiated, maintained and terminated. Stem cells have the capacity to both self-renew and differentiate. Improper differentiation or self-renewal of stem cells can result in a loss of homeostasis, which has been implicated in human afflictions such as cancer and degenerative diseases.

We investigate germ line stem cells (GSCs) in the developmental context of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. In the developing embryo and ovary, we are able to study each aspect of the stem cell life cycle - initiation, maintenance, and differentiation.  We are specifically interested in understanding the role of small RNAs, non-coding RNAs, and translational regulators within this system. Many mechanisms governing these processes have been shown to be widely conserved, thus making findings in our system broadly applicable.  By utilizing Drosophila genetics paired with genomic approaches, my lab is interested in addressing the following questions:

  1. stem cellsWhat is the role of heterochromatin formation in small RNA production?
  2. What are the targets of translational regulators that are required for GSC maintenance?
  3. What is the role of non-coding RNA in maintaining a stem cell fate?



  • Rangan, P, Malone, CD, Navarro, C, Newbold, S, Sachidanandam, R, Hannon, GJ and Lehmann, R “piRNA production requires heterochromatin formation in Drosophila” Current Biology, 21(6):1373-9. (Editors Choice: Science, Highlights: Nature Review Molecular Cell Biology, Dispatch: Current Biology)
  • Rangan, P, DeGennaro, M and Lehmann, R, (2009) “Regulating gene expression in the Drosophila germline” Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2008; 73:1-8.
  • Chauhan, S, Behrouzi, R, Rangan, P and Woodson, SA (2009) “Structural rearrangements linked to global folding pathways of the Azoarcus group I ribozyme” J Mol Biol. 386(4), 1167-78.
  • Rangan, P, DeGennaro, M, Jaime-Bustamante, K, Coux, RX, Martinho, R and Lehmann, R (2008) “Temporal and spatial control of germ plasm RNAs” Current Biology, 19(1): 72-7. (Nature Review Genetics, Research Highlights).
  • Cinalli, RM*, Rangan, P*, Lehmann, R, (2008) “Germ cells are forever” Cell, 132 (4), 559-62. (* equal contribution).
  • Chauhan, S, Caliskan, G, Briber, R M, Perez-Salas, U, Rangan, P, Thirumalai, D, Woodson SA (2005) “RNA tertiary interactions mediate native collapse of a bacterial group I ribozyme.” J Mol Biol, 353(5), 1199-209.
  • Rangan, P, Masquida, B, Westhof, E, Woodson, SA, (2004) “Architecture and folding mechanism of the Azoarcus group I pre-tRNA.” J Mol Biol. 339(1), 41-51.
  • Rangan, P*, Perez-Salas, UA*, Krueger, S, Briber, R.M, Thirumalai D, Woodson SA, (2004) “Compaction of a bacterial group I ribozyme coincides with the assembly of core helices.” Biochemistry, 43(6), 1746-53. (* equal contribution)
  • Rangan, P & Woodson, SA, (2003) “Structural requirement for Mg2+ binding in the group I intron core.” J Mol Biol. 329(2), 229-38.
  • Rangan, P, Masquida, B, Westhof, E, Woodson, SA, (2003) “Assembly of core helices and rapid tertiary folding of a small bacterial group I ribozyme.” Proc Nat Acad Sci USA, 100, 1574-9.