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Arunika Das, MS, PhD

Department of Biomedical Sciences

Assistant Professor

Lab Website

Department of Biomedical Sciences
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, NY 14853

Office: 607.253.4240
Fax: 607.253.4447

Research Interest

The Das lab explores genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of chromosome inheritance and aging during meiosis and early development. Specifically, the lab aims to define how the centromere, an epigenetic mark that controls chromosome segregation, is inherited through unique challenges presented by reproduction and embryogenesis.  By integrating evolutionary cell biology and genetics, microscopy, comparative reproductive biology, and biochemistry the Das lab addresses open fundamental questions in chromatin biology and reproductive epigenetics. The lab uses diverse model systems such as mouse and fly to obtain a holistic understanding of how genome stability is achieved through aging in female gametes, and epigenetic reprogramming in embryogenesis.


Ph.D., Cell and Developmental Biology, Rutgers University, 2016
M.Sc, Biochemistry, University of Calcutta, 2009
B.Sc, Chemistry, St. Xavier’s Unviersity, Calcutta, 2007

Biography/Professional Experience

Dr. Arunika Das did her undergraduate training in Chemistry, and a Master’s program in Biochemistry from the University of Calcutta, India. This piqued her interest in fundamental biological questions in cell division. She pursued her Graduate thesis project in Dr. Kim McKim’s lab at Rutgers University, studying Drosophila meiosis and chromosome segregation. Subsequently, she joined as a co-mentored postdoctoral researcher with Drs. Michael Lampson and Ben Black at the University of Pennsylvania. This work focused on the underlying plasticity of the epigenetic centromere mark, in mammalian early embryo development. During her postdoc, Arunika also began exploring consequences of female reproductive aging on chromosome segregation and early development. Her work, combining genetics and cell biology, has transformed the field and highlighted the inherent plasticity of histone inheritance through reproduction and early embryo development. Arunika is now excited to answer how cells tackle challenges of inheriting chromosomes during aging and development.

​Arunika is currently an NIH FIRST Faculty, and is keen on fostering an inclusive, and innovative research environment in her lab, teaching, and mentoring students to help them achieve their career goals.


Centromere specifying nucleosomes persists in aging mammalian oocytes in the absence of their    nascent assembly.
Arunika Das, Katelyn G. Boese, Sung Hee Baek, Kikue Tachibana, Michael A. Lampson, Ben E. Black, Current Biology, 2023

Novel insights into reproductive ageing and menopause from genomics
Arunika Das*, Aspasia Destouni*, Human Reproduction, 2022. *= Co-corresponding author

Epigenetic, genetic and maternal effects enable stable centromere inheritance
Arunika Das, Aiko Iwata-Otsubo, Jennine M. Dawicki McKenna, Aspasia Destouni, Katelyn G. Boese, Ben E. Black, Michael A. Lampson, Nature Cell Biology, 2022

Equalizing epigenetically imprinted centromeres in early mammalian embryos
Gabriel Manske, Kelsey Jorgensen, Binbin Ma, Mansour Aboelenain, Catherine Tower, Saikat Chakraborty, Rajesh Ranjan, Arunika Das, Michael A Lampson, Ben E Black, Karen Schindler, Xin Chen, Saher Sue Hammoud, bioRxiv, 2022

Maternal inheritance of centromeres through the germline
Arunika Das, Ben E. Black and Michael A. Lampson, Current Topics In Developmental Biology,2020

Sister centromere fusion during meiosis I depends on maintaining cohesins and destabilizing microtubule attachments
Lin-Ing Wang, Arunika Das, Kim S. McKim, PLoS Genetics, 2019

Kinesin 6 Regulation in Drosophila Female Meiosis by the Non-conserved N- and C- Terminal Domains.
Arunika Das, Jeffry Cesario, Anna-Maria Hinman, Janet K. Jang, Kim S. McKim. G3 May 2018

Centromere inheritance through the germline
Arunika Das, Evan M. Smoak, Ricardo Linares-Saldana, Ben E. Black, Michael A. Lampson, Chromosoma, October 2017

Spindle Assembly and Chromosome Segregation Requires Central Spindle Proteins in Drosophila Oocytes
Arunika Das, Shital J. Shah, Bensen Fan, Daniel Paik, Daniel J. DiSanto, Anna Maria Hinman, Jeffry M. Cesario, Rachel A. Battaglia, Nicole Demos, Kim S. McKim, Genetics, January 2016.

Awards and Honors

S. Walter Englander Postdoctoral Research Award (Perelman School of Medicine) - 2022
Honorable Mention - Keith R. Porter Award for Research Excellence (ASCB) - 2022
Fellowship - Marine Biological Laboratory for Frontiers in Reproduction course - 2017
Benedict-Michael Fellowship - 2014-2015
Charles and Joanna Busch Graduate Student Fellowship - 2023-2013
Lectureship, Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-NET), India - 2009

Professional/Academic Affiliations

American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
Genetics Society of America (GSA)
Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR)