Balaji Santhanam

Balaji Santhanam


Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Balaji Santhanam is a postdoctoral research scientist in the laboratory of Saeed Tavazoie. Currently, his research focuses on uncovering novel post-transcriptional regulatory modules using transcriptome data. The goal is to integrate transcript abundance, pathway activities, cis regulatory motifs and binding preferences of regulators to gain a comprehensive understanding of underlying regulatory networks.

Balaji obtained his PhD from the Baylor College of Medicine, where he worked in Gad Shaulsky’s lab on gene regulatory networks controlling early development in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. Prior to his recruitment to the Tavazoie lab, Balaji was a scientist in the Oncology Division at Philips Research North America.

Education History

PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics

MS, University of Southern California
Electrical Engineering

BTech, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli
Electrical Engineering


(* indicates equal author contribution)

Chen X, Köllner TG, Jia Q, Norris A, Santhanam B, Rabe P, Dickschat S, Shaulsky G, Gershenzon J, Chen F. Terpene synthase genes in eukaryotes beyond plants and fungi: Occurrence in social amoebae. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016. (in press)

Li CLF, Santhanam B, Webb AN, Zupan B, Shaulsky G. Gene discovery by chemical muta- genesis and whole-genome sequencing in Dictyostelium. Genome Res. 2016 Sep;26(9):1268-76.

Katoh-Kurasawa M, Santhanam B, Shaulsky G, The GATA transcription factor gene gtaG is required for terminal differentiation in Dictyostelium. J Cell Sci. 2016 Mar 9. pii: jcs.181545.

Hirose S, Santhanam B, Katoh-Kurasawa M, Shaulsky G, Kuspa A. Allorecognition, via TgrB1 and TgrC1, mediates the transition from unicellularity to multicellularity in the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum. Development. 2015 Oct 15;142(20):3561-70.

Santhanam B, Cai H, Devreotes PN, Shaulsky G, Katoh-Kurasawa M. The GATA transcription factor GtaC regulates early developmental gene expression dynamics in Dictyostelium. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 6;6:7551.

Rosengarten RD, Santhanam B, Fuller D, Katoh-Kurasawa M, Loomis WF, Zupan B, Shaulsky G. Leaps and lulls in the developmental transcriptome of Dictyostelium discoideum. BMC Genomics. 2015 Apr 13;16:294.

Cai H, Katoh-Kurasawa M, Muramoto T, Santhanam B, Long Y, Li L, Ueda M, Iglesias PA, Shaulsky G, Devreotes PN. Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of a GATA transcription factor functions as a developmental timer. Science. 2014 Mar 21;343(6177):1249531.

Miranda ER, Zhuchenko O, Toplak M, Santhanam B, Zupan B, Kuspa A, Shaulsky G. ABC transporters in Dictyostelium discoideum development. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 14;8(8):e70040.

Nasser W, Santhanam B, Miranda ER, Parikh A, Juneja K, Rot G, Dinh C, Chen R, Zupan B, Shaulsky G, Kuspa A. Bacterial discrimination by Dictyostelid amoebae reveals the complexity of ancient interspecies interactions. Curr Biol. 2013 May 20;23(10):862-72.

Rosengarten R*, Santhanam B*, Katoh-Kurasawa M. Transcriptional regulators: dynamic drivers of multicellular formation, cell differentiation and development. In Dictyostelids: Evolution, Genomics and Cell Biology. Romeralo M, Baldauf S, Excalante R, eds. Springer 2013.

Miranda ER*, Rot G*, Toplak M, Santhanam B, Curk T, Shaulsky G, Zupan B. Transcriptional profiling of Dictyostelium with RNA sequencing. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;983:139-71.