Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Physiology
Phone: (916) 378-3563
Dr. Ravi Ranjan is a neuroscientist, physiologist, and geneticist exploring some of the most intriguing problems in Biology today, such as how does our brain functions? Why do we age? Why does our memory decline during the aging process?
Cognitive decline is one of aging's most debilitating effects. Even in the absence of a neurodegenerative disorder, our brains experience a considerable loss of neurons and associated synaptic contacts during the healthy process of aging. While an enormous amount of research is dedicated to understanding the causes of various neurodegenerative disorders, comparatively little work is invested in understanding what keeps normal neurons alive in the first place. But aging is not just a fascinating biological problem; it is the number one cause of death and disability in our society. Aging is the most important risk factor for developing various health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and cardiac conditions. Given its underlying role for all major diseases, aging must be better understood for scientists, researchers, and medical professionals to achieve novel discoveries and develop treatments for the medical afflictions we face in the world today. Dr. Ranjan’s research interests are specifically focused on understanding the basic and neuron-specific cell biology that maintains a healthy nervous system using Drosophila as a model system. Increasing our understanding of this basic neural mechanism is key to understanding aging's role in human health.
Dr. Ranjan chose academia as a career because of his love for research and teaching. What fascinates Dr. Ranjan most about his research and teaching career is the excitement of sharing new knowledge with students. For Dr. Ranjan, teaching has become a matter of motivating and engaging students to become their own best teachers and cultivate their passions and interests. During his career, Dr. Ranjan has published research in high-profile journals such as Nature, Neuron, Journal of Neuroscience, and Aging Cell. Dr. Ranjan has also received the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award, a prestigious award given to select researchers around the world for their contributions in the field of Biology of Aging.