BBS Faculty Member - Ramesh Shivdasani

Ramesh Shivdasani

Department of Genetics

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dept. of Medical Oncology, Dana Bldg., Rm. 720
450 Brookline Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Tel: 617-632-5746
Fax: 617-582-7198
Visit my lab page here.

Our laboratory studies molecular control of development and cell differentiation using self-renewing epithelia in the digestive tract as a model system.

The gastrointestinal tract is especially suited for molecular investigation of mechanisms that regulate lifelong stem cell self-renewal. Furthermore, because communication between endoderm (prospective epithelium) and its adjoining mesenchyme is crucial in organogenesis and homeostasis, the digestive tract is a useful model to study tissue-tissue interactions. The laboratory has identified novel regulators of cell differentiation, determined their functions in vivo, and advanced understanding of how chromatin and transcription factors interact to generate cell-specific transcriptional programs and tissue identity.

Surprisingly few pathways mediate signaling in mammalian development and differentiation, including Wnt, Hedgehog and Notch. We study how these ubiquitous pathways signal through tissue-restricted transcription factors to generate diverse and specific cell fates. We use whole-genome analysis of transcription factor binding and histone modifications in intestinal epithelial cells to determine how regulatory factors interact with one another and with chromatin to produce tissue-specific outcomes in normal and malignant epithelia. These approaches combine the power of modern genomics with sound experimental models to understand how cells and tissues transition between alternative fates.

An important goal of the laboratory is to understand how cellular relationships established in embryos are subverted in cancer. We especially seek to characterize processes that are active in development and silent in the normal adult tissue, but reactivated in tumors. Such processes shed light on developmental mechanisms relevant to tumorigenesis and reveal aspects of the disease that may be sensitive to novel therapies.

Last Update: 8/4/2015


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Verzi MP, Shin H, He HH, Sulahian R, Meyer CA, Montgomery RK, Fleet JC, Brown M, Liu XS, Shivdasani RA. Differentiation-specific histone modifications reveal dynamic chromatin interactions and alternative partners for the intestinal transcription factor CDX2. Dev Cell 2010; 19:713-726.

Kim T-H, Kim B-M, Mao J, Rowan S, Shivdasani RA. Endodermal Hedgehog signals modulate Notch pathway activity in the developing digestive tract mesenchyme.
Development 2011; 138:3225-3233.

Kim T-H, Li F, Ferreiro-Neira I, Ho L-L, Luyten A, Nalapareddy K, Long H, Verzi MP, Shivdasani RA. Broadly permissive intestinal chromatin underlies lateral inhibition and cell plasticity.
Nature 2014; 506: 511-515.

Luyten A, Zang C, Liu XS, Shivdasani RA. Active enhancers are delineated
de novo during hematopoiesis, with limited lineage fidelity among specified primary blood cells. Genes Dev 2014; 28:1827-1839.

© 2015 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College