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Meet The Team


Principal Investigator: Arunika (Runi) Das

Runi did her undergraduate training in Chemistry from the University of Calcutta, India. She then did a Master’s program at the same University in Biochemistry. This piqued her interest in fundamental biological questions involving cell division. She pursued her Graduate thesis project in Dr. Kim McKim’s lab at Rutgers University, New Jersey studying Drosophila meiotic divisions. She discovered that germ cell divisions shape unique functions of proteins ubiquitously present in all cell types. She also made the serendipitous discovery that evolutionarily unconserved parts of proteins assume unprecedented importance in specialized cell divisions such as meiosis.

Subsequently, she joined as a co-mentored postdoctoral researcher with Drs. Michael Lampson and Ben Black at the University of Pennsylvania. Runi’s findings are the first to reveal the underlying plasticity of an important epigenetically defined chromosomal locus: the centromere, in a mammalian model system. Her work, combining genetics and cell biology, has transformed the field and highlighted the inherent plasticity of histone inheritance through reproduction and early embryo development. In addition, she has contributed to the understanding of protein stability mechanisms that escape reproductive aging and preserve gamete quality.

Runi is an NIH FIRST Faculty in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine!

Runi is passionate about ballet and music and also loves to read!

team Aging

This team is studying how advanced maternal age affects protein balance in mouse eggs , and hoping to identify the "triggers" of female reproductive aging

team epigenetics

This team uses mouse, fly, and horse systems to understand epigenetic mechanisms of maintaining genome integrity in embryos with a focus on centromeres.


The Das lab looks forward to collaborating on Equine projects with the de Mestre lab!

DSC05251 Mandi de Mestre by John Enright.png
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