Dr. Narlikar

Geeta J. Narlikar

Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics

Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair I

University of California, San Francisco


Dr. Narlikar obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Stanford University under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Herschlag and carried out postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Kingston. She has been a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF since 2003. She is an expert in the fields of epigenetic regulation and genome organization. Dr. Narlikar 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. 


Dr. Narlikar 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.


Dr. 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), 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). Since 2017, Professor Narlikar has been appointed to the Lewis and Ruth Cozen Chair I. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2021.