Maria Isabel Ramirez, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine

Maria Ramirez
75 E. Newton St Evans Building


The main goal of the research in our lab is to identify and understand genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation driving the differentiation of distinct epithelial cell lineages during development, and the potential alteration of these mechanisms in lung disease. Correct spatial and temporal patterns of gene expression during lung development are critical for the formation of a functional lung ready for the first breath at birth. In adults, patterns of gene expression also have to be maintained to preserve a healthy lung. Dissecting these basic mechanisms in development will provide the basis to accurately differentiate embryonic stem cells into lung epithelial cell lineages in vitro, to improve fetal lung maturation and to understand altered cell phenotypes in lung disease.

Other Positions

  • Associate Professor, Other Pathology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Assistant Dean, Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Member, Bioinformatics Graduate Program, Boston University
  • Center Faculty Member, Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences


  • University of Buenos Aires, PhD
  • Universidad de Buenos Aires, PhD
  • University of Buenos Aires, BS


  • Published on 9/1/2016

    Kamata H, Yamamoto K, Wasserman GA, Zabinski MC, Yuen CK, Lung WY, Gower AC, Belkina AC, Ramirez MI, Deng JC, Quinton LJ, Jones MR, Mizgerd JP. Epithelial Cell-Derived Secreted and Transmembrane 1a Signals to Activated Neutrophils during Pneumococcal Pneumonia. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2016 Sep; 55(3):407-18. PMID: 27064756.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/7/2015

    Krishnan H, Retzbach EP, Ramirez MI, Liu T, Li H, Miller WT, Goldberg GS. PKA and CDK5 can phosphorylate specific serines on the intracellular domain of podoplanin (PDPN) to inhibit cell motility. Exp Cell Res. 2015 Jul 1; 335(1):115-22. PMID: 25959509.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/2/2015

    Wilson AA, Ying L, Liesa M, Segeritz CP, Mills JA, Shen SS, Jean J, Lonza GC, Liberti DC, Lang AH, Nazaire J, Gower AC, Müeller FJ, Mehta P, Ordóñez A, Lomas DA, Vallier L, Murphy GJ, Mostoslavsky G, Spira A, Shirihai OS, Ramirez MI, Gadue P, Kotton DN. Emergence of a stage-dependent human liver disease signature with directed differentiation of alpha-1 antitrypsin-deficient iPS cells. Stem Cell Reports. 2015 May 12; 4(5):873-85. PMID: 25843048.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/13/2015

    Tagne JB, Mohtar OR, Campbell JD, Lakshminarayanan M, Huang J, Hinds AC, Lu J, Ramirez MI. Transcription factor and microRNA interactions in lung cells: an inhibitory link between NK2 homeobox 1, miR-200c and the developmental and oncogenic factors Nfib and Myb. Respir Res. 2015; 16:22. PMID: 25763778.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/27/2013

    Varma S, Mahavadi P, Sasikumar S, Cushing L, Hyland T, Rosser AE, Riccardi D, Lu J, Kalin TV, Kalinichenko VV, Guenther A, Ramirez MI, Pardo A, Selman M, Warburton D. Grainyhead-like 2 (GRHL2) distribution reveals novel pathophysiological differences between human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and mouse models of pulmonary fibrosis. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2014 Mar 1; 306(5):L405-19. PMID: 24375798.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/25/2013

    Krishnan H, Ochoa-Alvarez JA, Shen Y, Nevel E, Lakshminarayanan M, Williams MC, Ramirez MI, Miller WT, Goldberg GS. Serines in the intracellular tail of podoplanin (PDPN) regulate cell motility. J Biol Chem. 2013 Apr 26; 288(17):12215-21. PMID: 23530051.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/6/2012

    Varma S, Cao Y, Tagne JB, Lakshminarayanan M, Li J, Friedman TB, Morell RJ, Warburton D, Kotton DN, Ramirez MI. The transcription factors Grainyhead-like 2 and NK2-homeobox 1 form a regulatory loop that coordinates lung epithelial cell morphogenesis and differentiation. J Biol Chem. 2012 Oct 26; 287(44):37282-95. PMID: 22955271.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/27/2012

    Yamamoto K, Ferrari JD, Cao Y, Ramirez MI, Jones MR, Quinton LJ, Mizgerd JP. Type I alveolar epithelial cells mount innate immune responses during pneumococcal pneumonia. J Immunol. 2012 Sep 1; 189(5):2450-9. PMID: 22844121.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/6/2012

    Longmire TA, Ikonomou L, Hawkins F, Christodoulou C, Cao Y, Jean JC, Kwok LW, Mou H, Rajagopal J, Shen SS, Dowton AA, Serra M, Weiss DJ, Green MD, Snoeck HW, Ramirez MI, Kotton DN. Efficient derivation of purified lung and thyroid progenitors from embryonic stem cells. Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Apr 6; 10(4):398-411. PMID: 22482505.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/5/2012

    Tagne JB, Gupta S, Gower AC, Shen SS, Varma S, Lakshminarayanan M, Cao Y, Spira A, Volkert TL, Ramirez MI. Genome-wide analyses of Nkx2-1 binding to transcriptional target genes uncover novel regulatory patterns conserved in lung development and tumors. PLoS One. 2012; 7(1):e29907. PMID: 22242187.

    Read at: PubMed

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