Jeff Ranish, PhD

Professor

Dr. Ranish’s formal training is in biochemistry and molecular biology. He did his undergraduate work in biochemistry at Cornell University, and earned his Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Washington. During his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Ranish studied the molecular mechanism of transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Hahn at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, he applied biochemical, molecular biology, and molecular genetics approaches to address this problem. Dr. Ranish’s studies culminated in the identification and cloning of the genes encoding the general transcription factor TFIIA, and the development of an immobilized promoter system for isolating and studying transcription complexes. He used this system to define intermediates in the formation of preinitiation complexes, and to define the reinitiation complex. For his postdoctoral training, Dr. Ranish worked with Dr. John Yates, III and Dr. Ruedi Aebersold in the Molecular Biotechnology department at the University of Washington where he developed his skills in mass spectrometry based-proteomic technologies. Dr. Ranish joined Dr. Aebersold when he left the University of Washington to found the ISB in 2000.

During his tenure in Dr. Aebersold’s lab, Dr. Ranish developed a new strategy for studying macromolecular complexes by quantitative mass spectrometry. The strategy can be used to determine the composition of complexes and to detect changes in complex composition. It is based on the use of stable isotope tagging of proteins and mass spectrometry to compare the relative abundances of tryptic peptides derived from suitable pairs of purified or partially purified protein complexes. Application of the technology to study transcription factor complexes from yeast and higher eukaryotes has resulted in the discovery of new transcription factors with roles in human health, and has revealed mechanisms for how genes are regulated during development. The usefulness of the approach is apparent from the extensive local, national, and international collaborations that Dr. Ranish engages in.

PhD, Molecular and Cellular Biology Program University of Washington, 1999

Proteomics, macromolecular complexes and transcriptional regulation