Prof. Geeta Narlikar
MSc, 1992, Chemistry

Prof. Geeta Narlikar is a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair I at the University of California, San Francisco. She obtained her MSc in Chemistry from IIT Bombay in 1992 and PhD from Stanford University in 1998. She carried out postdoctoral research at the Harvard Medical School.

On the professional front, Prof. Narlikar is an expert in the fields of epigenetic regulation and genome organization. She studies how the folding and compartmentalization of our genome is regulated to generate the many cell types that make up our body. Her laboratory has pioneered the application of sophisticated biophysical approaches to study the mechanisms of macromolecules that regulate genome organization. Through these studies they are learning (i) how nanoscale molecular motors use chemical energy to cause mechanical disruptions in the packaged genome, (ii) that the smallest unit of genome folding, a nucleosome, acts akin to a dynamic receptor rather than a static packaging unit and, (iii) that liquid-liquid phase separation processes can help organize and sequester large regions of the genome. These types of discoveries from the Narlikar laboratory are changing textbook descriptions of genome packaging and suggesting new avenues to tackle diseases caused by defects in genome organization.

Prof. Narlikar’s scientific work has been recognized by different awards during the course of her faculty career. These include 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) and the Deleage Prize awarded by the Deleage foundation (2017). Since 2017, Professor Narlikar has been appointed to the Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair I.

Prof. Narlikar also enjoys teaching and mentoring graduate students. She believes that kindling the fire of curiosity within graduate students and consistently supporting their initiative brings out the best in them.

Special Memories

" A precious treasure from IIT Bombay is the collection of strong friendships that I made with my fellow H10 batch mates. Even today, we connect and start chatting with the same ease as a tiffin time in the H10 mess. I am also grateful to the mountaineering group for introducing me to hiking in the Sahyadris and to the majestic vistas from atop the old forts. The histories of these places, made the climbs more than just hikes in the mountains: if I closed my eyes, I could imagine Shivaji's Maratha army running up the large stone steps that I was struggling to climb, or imagine the village folk selling their wares inside the fort ramparts, where we were eating our lunch'".