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Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center, 4026
Phone: +1-508-831-6564

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Jagan Srinivasan

It has been my lifelong dream to become a professor in the field of Biology.  Being a faculty member provides a great opportunity to teach and interact with students. Students by nature are highly inquisitive and motivated, and as teachers, we have the responsibility to guide our students to explore and think in new ways. I believe that teaching is a two-way interaction between teachers and students. I come from India and my parents, both of whom were teachers, taught me to strive for excellence in my scholarly pursuits. Science bears no geographical barriers and my academic training has taken me across three different continents (Asia, Europe and America). This experience has helped me to understand and appreciate the academic curricula of these continents.

My current research at WPI is highly inter-disciplinary and encompasses areas such as neurobiology, molecular genetics and chemical biology. I will be teaching courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. My philosophy for the courses I will teach at WPI will be to emphasize the importance of hypothesis-driven research and the need to carefully design biological experiments to test them. I feel this approach will allow students to develop their curiosity for a scientific problem and strongly encourage critical and independent thinking. It also represents an opportunity for students bring in fresh ideas on topics that are not directly related with their research and curriculum. I have experienced that it is quite easy to excite a young student about a scientific problem but very difficult to maintain their enthusiasm. Therefore, I believe in a ‘hands on’ approach to teaching as being ‘hands on’ allows me to constantly keep track of my students’ progress. It also provides an environment for discussing problems and pitfalls of an experiment/concept. I have applied this approach very productively, as one of my undergraduate students, Omer Durak, has co-authored a paper with me in a peer-reviewed journal BMC Biology (See publication list). Many of the undergraduates that I have mentored have gone on to pursue graduate programs in several universities around the world. These success stories give me the confidence that as a teacher at WPI, I can reach shape the ideas and thoughts of many younger, keen minds.

A goal, which I aspire as an academic researcher and teacher, is to uncover and share the practical implications of my research. I believe that this is absolutely attainable on a daily basis through a conscious dedication to the practice of sound academic research and teaching. I believe that a perfect platform will not only share the practical knowledge with others, but also challenge my students, colleagues and members of the civic community at large to contribute into this endeavor.

Research Interests

  • Neurobiology
  • Genetics
  • Chemical Biology
  • Evolution


  • BS, Chennai University, India, 1993
  • MS, Goa University 1995
  • PhD, University of Tuebingen and Max Planck Institute, Germany, 2003

Featured Publications

  • Srinivasan J, von Reuss, SH, Bose, N., Mahanti P, Ho, MC, O’Doherty OG, Edison, AE, Sternberg PW and Schroeder FC (2012), A modular library of small molecule signals regulates social behaviors in Caenorhabditis elegans (PLoS Biology, 10(1): e1001237). 
  • Izrayelit Y, Srinivasan J, Campbell SL, Jo Y, von Reuss SH, Genoff MC, Sternberg PW, Schroeder FC (2012), Targeted metabolomics reveals a male pheromone and sex-specific ascaroside biosynthesis in C. elegans (ACS Chemical Biology, 7(8),1321-25).
  • Srinivasan J, Kaplan F et al. (2008), A blend of small molecules differentially regulates both mating and development in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature; 454,1115-1118.
  • Pungaliya C, Srinivasan J, Fox BW, Malik RU, Ludewig AH, Sternberg PW and Schroeder FC. (2009), A shortcut to identifying small molecule signals regulating behavior and development in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(19): 7708-13.
  • Srinivasan J, Durak O & Sternberg PW. (2008), Evolution of a polymodal sensory response network. BMC Biology, 6, 52.

View a complete list

Professional Highlights

  • Senior Research Fellow, CalTech May 2010- August 2012.
  • SFB-DFG (German Science Foundation) scholarship for graduate studies (2000–03).
  • Fellowship from Department of Biotechnology for Masters in Biotechnology Programme (1993- 95).
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