Geeta Narlikar

This week’s WiSE Wednesday we’re featuring a CSHL frequent flyer, Dr. Geeta Narlikar. Dr. Narlikar is a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Stanford University in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Herschlag and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Robert Kingston. Dr. Narlikar is a world-leading expert in the field of chromatin biology, and has been bringing her expertise to CSHL while teaching our Summer course on Chromatin, Epigenetics, and Gene Expression for the past 6 years, as lead instructor from 2014-2018 and guest speaker since. She has also been a regular presenter of several CSHL meetings, including the keynote presentation at the 2018 Systems Biology: Global Regulation of Gene Expression meeting.

Dr. Narlikar’s lab is focused on elucidating the biophysical mechanisms governing chromatin compaction and nuclear organization as well as the impacts they have on the regulation of gene transcription. Her work has challenged the idea that nucleosomes serve as stable and rigid docking sites for DNA to be wound upon, but rather function as dynamic, flexible structures which frequently “breathe”. In recent years her lab has utilized sophisticated and innovative techniques to demonstrate the role of phase separation in the organization of the nucleus, specifically focusing on the role the protein HP1a plays in sequestration of heterochromatin into phase separated droplets.

Dr. Narlikar’s groundbreaking research has earned her a plethora of awards, including the Beckman Young Investigator Award (2006), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award (2008), the Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award by the UCSF Graduate Students Association (2011), the Deleage Prize awarded by the Deleage foundation (2017), the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging (2018), and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (2018).

In addition to her passion for science, she also has an intense passion for mentorship and education, as showcased by her tenure as a lead instructor in the CSHL GeneX Course. From her lab website biosketch, “she believes that kindling the fire of curiosity within graduate students and consistently supporting their initiative brings out the best in them.”

Through her excellent science, ability to effectively communicate complex biological phenomena, and her incredible devotion to education, she has inspired countless young scientists and will undoubtedly continue to do so for years to come.

Article written by Connor Fitzpatrick


  1. Follow this link to check our Dr. Narlikar’s research profile at UCSF

Check out the following YouTube videos titled:

  1. Institute Colloquium 2019 “The Dynamic packaged Genome” by Dr Geeta Narlikar A Talk given by Dr. Narlikar. Posted by the YouTube Channel: IISER Pune

2. Bridging the Gap: Geeta Narlikar, PhD Posted by the YouTube Channel: UCSF School of Medicine

3. CSHL Keynote, Dr. Geeta Narlikar, UCSF Dr. Narlikar’s speech at a CSHL meeting in March of 2018. Posted by the YouTube Channel: CSHL Leading Strand

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