Deepshika Ramanan is an assistant professor in the NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis. She is an immunologist that studies the biology of maternal-offspring relationships, like how maternal microbiota, diet, and environment can shape a newborn’s immune development, and influence their long-term immune health across generations.
Maternal factors, like microbiota, diet, exercise, and environment, are critical in a newborn’s early development and long-term immune health. These factors can influence a child’s risk for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases—but how and to what extent are questions Ramanan strives to answer. She has discovered in mice that communication between maternal intestines and mammary glands can impact breast milk composition and offspring intestinal immunity. She has also found that maternal immune traits can be transferred for multiple generations.
The Ramanan laboratory uses a combination of single-cell techniques, metabolomics, and metagenomics in mouse models, human tissue samples, and breast milk to study the immune cell landscape of this complex maternal-offspring relationship. Their research informs how the immune system influences maternal health and offspring health not only during pregnancy and infancy, but for generations to come.