Dr. Prashanth Rangan

Pew Scholar

The Rangan Lab is a’ buzz with excitement and the commotion isn’t coming from some flyaway Drosophila samples. Rather the clamor is over Dr. Prashanth Rangan being named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. His lab will receive $240,000, valuable funding for his research into the inner workings of the Drosophila germ cell.

The Rangan lab explores what gives germ cells their distinctive ability to grow and develop into all cell types. The adaptable nature of the germ cell means that this type of research could have implications in regenerative therapies.

In his proposal, Dr. Rangan discussed how somatic cells which require RNA transcription that initiates in the head region of a cell, contrasts with germ cells which require RNA translation that initiates from the tail. Using both structural RNA and cell developmental perspectives, Dr. Rangan looks at how the “non-coding” regions of this tail architecture could determine the developmental processes of these immortal cells.” This research could provide insight into the structural qualities and chronological parameters that enable a germ cell’s fundamental nature. Ultimately, these insights could help scientists learn to reprogram somatic cells, returning them to a more stem cell like state.

Dr. Rangan is proud of receiving this Pew Scholar honor but feels “the reward will come if I do my work well.” For Dr. Rangan, the Pew fellowship validates his interdisciplinary career path. After completing his doctoral degree in Biophysics, he wanted a career change and decided to explore doing work in vivo. As a post-doctoral fellow, he worked in the preeminent lab of Dr. Ruth Lehmann. However, when he first started, he said he “felt more like a first year graduate student and had never worked with living things before.”

Now equipped with broad knowledge and skill, an enthusiastic lab team and of course funding, let’s say that the Rangan lab is ready to well… fly.



Jul 01, 2014

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