Department of Immunology

Ram Savan, Ph.D.


Dr. Ram Savan received his Ph.D. in 2004 from Kagoshima University in Japan. He completed postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology at the National Cancer Institute in 2011.  He  joined the Department of Immunology as an Assistant Professor in  2011 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017.


Department of Immunology
University of Washington
Office E307, Box 358059
750 Republican Street
Seattle WA 98109-8059
Phone: 206-221-5141
Fax: 206-685-7120


Molecular Immunology
Innate Immunity


Graduate Students
Frank Soveg,
Julian Smith,
Rachel Van Gelder,

Postdoctoral Fellows
Adriana Forero,
Nandan Gokhale,
Matt Hendricks,
Lomon So,

Acting Instructor
Johannes Schwerk,

Snehal Ozarkar,


Website for the Ram Laboratory

Postdoc POSITION (new)



View publication list


Our laboratory is interested in identifying functional non-coding variants that determine susceptibility to life-threatening viral infections such as HCV, HIV, WNV, ZIKA, and influenza.  Identifying novel gene regulatory mechanisms that restrict viruses is critical to developing new therapeutic targets. The three areas of current studies are (i) interferon genetics and biology, (ii) mRNA splicing induced diversity of interferon activated proteome and (iii) control of immune responses through non-coding RNA.  Our laboratory has been at the forefront of genetics and biology of interferons mediating viral restriction. We are investigating the functional consequences of alternative splicing during viral infection. The gene regulatory mechanisms of interests are miRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, SNPs in the non-coding region, mRNA splicing, and RNA structure.


  1. Schwerk J, Soveg FW, Ryan AP, Thomas KR, Hatfield LD, Ozarkar S, Forero A, Kell AM, Roby JA, So L, Hyde JL, Gale M Jr, Daugherty MD, Savan R. RNA-binding protein isoforms ZAP-S and ZAP-L have distinct antiviral and immune resolution functions. Nat Immunol. 2019 Dec;20(12):1610-1620.
  2. Forero A, Ozarkar S, Li H, Lee CH, Hemann EA, Nadjsombati MS, Hendricks MR, So L, Green R, Roy CN, Sarkar SN, von Moltke J, Anderson SK, Gale M Jr, Savan R. Differential Activation of the Transcription Factor IRF1 Underlies the Distinct Immune Responses Elicited by Type I and Type III Interferons. Immunity. 2019 Sep 17;51(3):451-464.e6.
  3. Hemann EA, Green R, Turnbull JB, Langlois RA, Savan R, Gale M Jr. Interferon-λ modulates dendritic cells to facilitate T cell immunity during infection with influenza A virus. Nat Immunol. 2019 Aug;20(8):1035-1045.
  4. Joslyn RC, Forero A, Green R, Parker SE, Savan R. Long Noncoding RNA Signatures Induced by Toll-Like Receptor 7 and Type I Interferon Signaling in Activated Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2018 Sep;38(9):388-405.
  5. Jarret A, McFarland AP, Horner SM, Kell A, Schwerk J, Hong M, Badil S, Joslyn RC, Baker DP, Carrington M, Hagedorn CH, Gale M Jr, Savan R. Hepatitis-C-virus-induced microRNAs dampen interferon-mediated antiviral signaling. Nat Med. 2016 Dec;22(12):1475-1481.
  6. Hong M, Schwerk J, Lim C, Kell A, Jarret A, Pangallo J, Loo YM, Liu S, Hagedorn CH, Gale M Jr, Savan R. Interferon lambda 4 expression is suppressed by the host during viral infection. J Exp Med. 2016 Nov 14;213(12):2539-2552.
  7. Lim C, Hong M, Savan R. Human IL-22 binding protein isoforms act as a rheostat for IL-22 signaling. Sci Signal. 2016 Sep 27;9(447):ra95.
  8. McFarland AP, Horner SM, Jarret A, Joslyn RC, Bindewald E, Shapiro BA, Delker DA, Hagedorn CH, Carrington M, Gale M Jr, Savan R. The favorable IFNL3 genotype escapes mRNA decay mediated by AU-rich elements and hepatitis C virus-induced microRNAs. Nat Immunol. 2014 Jan;15(1):72-9.
  9. Kulkarni S, Savan R, Qi Y, Gao X, Yuki Y, Bass SE, Martin MP, Hunt P, Deeks SG, Telenti A, Pereyra F, Goldstein D, Wolinsky S, Walker B, Young HA, Carrington M. Differential microRNA regulation of HLA-C expression and its association with HIV control. Nature. 2011 Apr 28;472(7344):495-8.
  10. Savan R, McFarland AP, Reynolds DA, Feigenbaum L, Ramakrishnan K, Karwan M, Shirota H, Klinman DM, Dunleavy K, Pittaluga S, Anderson SK, Donnelly RP, Wilson WH, Young HA. A novel role for IL-22R1 as a driver of inflammation. Blood. 2011 Jan 13;117(2):575-84.