Photo of Neville Sanjana

Neville Sanjana

Assistant Professor of Biology

Ph.D. 2010 (Brain & Cognitive Sciences), Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.S. 2001 (Symbolic Systems), Stanford University; B.A. 2001 (English), Stanford University.

Lab Homepage:

Areas of Research/Interest: 

Bioengineering, Genomics, Neuroscience, Cancer Biology, Systems Biology

List of Publications from Pubmed


Our lab develops technologies to understand how human genetic variants cause diseases of the nervous system and cancer. We use a multi-disciplinary approach, combining genome engineering, pooled genetic screens, bioinformatics, electrophysiology, and imaging, to dissect the inner workings of the human genome and its dysfunction in autism and tumor evolution.

We have capitalized on new technologies for large-scale DNA synthesis, gene editing and next-generation sequencing to develop pooled libraries of RNA-guided nucleases (e.g. CRISPR) for forward genetic screens (see figure below). By targeting all protein-coding genes in human/mouse genomes, we have identified novel genetic drivers of melanoma drug resistance, drivers of metastasis in vivo, and mechanisms used by tumors to evade immunotherapy.

Recently, we have developed pooled CRISPR libraries and gene editing approaches to target the noncoding genome. A major goal of our work is to understand the functional consequences of modifying noncoding elements in their native context and how they relate to existing hallmarks of noncoding function such as transcription factor binding, enhancer marks and physical genome structure. Previous/current projects include applications in cancer, neurodevelopmental disorders (using human stem cells and neurons) and hemoglobin regulation. We plan to continue expanding the genome engineering toolbox to further our understanding of the noncoding genome and its role in human health and disease.

To find out more about current projects and open positions in the Sanjana lab, please visit the lab webpage.

Affiliated with other departments or programs:

Institute for Systems Genetics, NYU Langone Medical School; Neurosciences Institute, NYU Langone Medical School

External Affiliations:

Core Faculty Member, New York Genome Center
Next Generation Leader, Paul Allen Institute for Brain Science


NIH K99/R00
Simons Center Postdoctoral Fellowship
HHMI Predoctoral Fellowship

Selected Works:

PubMed Search Results:

High-resolution interrogation of functional elements in the noncoding genome.
Science   (2016 Sep 30);  PMC5144102 free full-text archive
Sanjana NE, Wright J, Zheng K, Shalem O, Fontanillas P, Joung J, Cheng C, Regev A, Zhang F
CRISPR Screens to Discover Functional Noncoding Elements.
Trends Genet   (2016 Sep);  PMC4992445 free full-text archive
Wright JB, Sanjana NE
Microfluidic neurite guidance to study structure-function relationships in topologically-complex population-based neural networks.
Sci Rep   (2016 Jun 22);  PMC4916598 free full-text archive
Honegger T, Thielen MI, Feizi S, Sanjana NE, Voldman J
Genome-scale CRISPR pooled screens.
Anal Biochem   (2016 Jun 01);  PMC5133192 free full-text archive
Sanjana NE
GENOME ENGINEERING. The Genome Project-Write.
Science   (2016 Jul 08);   PMID: 27256881
Boeke JD, Church G, Hessel A, Kelley NJ, Arkin A, Cai Y, Carlson R, Chakravarti A, Cornish VW, Holt L, Isaacs FJ, Kuiken T, Lajoie M, Lessor T, Lunshof J, Maurano MT, Mitchell LA, Rine J, Rosser S, Sanjana NE, Silver PA, Valle D, Wang H, Way JC, Yang L
Hypoxia as a therapy for mitochondrial disease.
Science   (2016 Apr 01);  PMC4860742 free full-text archive
Jain IH, Zazzeron L, Goli R, Alexa K, Schatzman-Bone S, Dhillon H, Goldberger O, Peng J, Shalem O, Sanjana NE, Zhang F, Goessling W, Zapol WM, Mootha VK
Mice with Shank3 Mutations Associated with ASD and Schizophrenia Display Both Shared and Distinct Defects.
Neuron   (2016 Jan 06);  PMC4754122 free full-text archive
Zhou Y, Kaiser T, Monteiro P, Zhang X, Van der Goes MS, Wang D, Barak B, Zeng M, Li C, Lu C, Wells M, Amaya A, Nguyen S, Lewis M, Sanjana N, Zhou Y, Zhang M, Zhang F, Fu Z, Feng G
BCL11A enhancer dissection by Cas9-mediated in situ saturating mutagenesis.
Nature   (2015 Nov 12);  PMC4644101 free full-text archive
Canver MC, Smith EC, Sher F, Pinello L, Sanjana NE, Shalem O, Chen DD, Schupp PG, Vinjamur DS, Garcia SP, Luc S, Kurita R, Nakamura Y, Fujiwara Y, Maeda T, Yuan GC, Zhang F, Orkin SH, Bauer DE
A Genome-wide CRISPR Screen in Primary Immune Cells to Dissect Regulatory Networks.
Cell   (2015 Jul 30);  PMC4522370 free full-text archive
Parnas O, Jovanovic M, Eisenhaure TM, Herbst RH, Dixit A, Ye CJ, Przybylski D, Platt RJ, Tirosh I, Sanjana NE, Shalem O, Satija R, Raychowdhury R, Mertins P, Carr SA, Zhang F, Hacohen N, Regev A
High-throughput functional genomics using CRISPR-Cas9.
Nat Rev Genet   (2015 May);  PMC4503232 free full-text archive
Shalem O, Sanjana NE, Zhang F
Genome-wide CRISPR screen in a mouse model of tumor growth and metastasis.
Cell   (2015 Mar 12);  PMC4380877 free full-text archive
Chen S, Sanjana NE, Zheng K, Shalem O, Lee K, Shi X, Scott DA, Song J, Pan JQ, Weissleder R, Lee H, Zhang F, Sharp PA
Rapid neurogenesis through transcriptional activation in human stem cells.
Mol Syst Biol   (2014 Nov 17);  PMC4299601 free full-text archive
Busskamp V, Lewis NE, Guye P, Ng AH, Shipman SL, Byrne SM, Sanjana NE, Murn J, Li Y, Li S, Stadler M, Weiss R, Church GM
Improved vectors and genome-wide libraries for CRISPR screening.
Nat Methods   (2014 Aug);  PMC4486245 free full-text archive
Sanjana NE, Shalem O, Zhang F
Perturbation of m6A writers reveals two distinct classes of mRNA methylation at internal and 5' sites.
Cell Rep   (2014 Jul 10);  PMC4142486 free full-text archive
Schwartz S, Mumbach MR, Jovanovic M, Wang T, Maciag K, Bushkin GG, Mertins P, Ter-Ovanesyan D, Habib N, Cacchiarelli D, Sanjana NE, Freinkman E, Pacold ME, Satija R, Mikkelsen TS, Hacohen N, Zhang F, Carr SA, Lander ES, Regev A
Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screening in human cells.
Science   (2014 Jan 03);  PMC4089965 free full-text archive
Shalem O, Sanjana NE, Hartenian E, Shi X, Scott DA, Mikkelsen TS, Heckl D, Ebert BL, Root DE, Doench JG, Zhang F
Activity-dependent A-to-I RNA editing in rat cortical neurons.
Genetics   (2012 Sep);  PMC3430542 free full-text archive
Sanjana NE, Levanon EY, Hueske EA, Ambrose JM, Li JB
A transcription activator-like effector toolbox for genome engineering.
Nat Protoc   (2012 Jan 05);  PMC3684555 free full-text archive
Sanjana NE, Cong L, Zhou Y, Cunniff MM, Feng G, Zhang F
The wanderlust of newborn neocortical interneurons.
J Neurosci   (2009 Jun 03);   PMID: 19494133
Scott BB, Sanjana NE
A fast flexible ink-jet printing method for patterning dissociated neurons in culture.
J Neurosci Methods   (2004 Jul 30);   PMID: 15183267
Sanjana NE, Fuller SB
Updated on 01/06/2017