Sara Rouhanifard

Assistant Professor,  Bioengineering


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  • 617.373.2226

Research Focus

Developing chemical approaches to track and quantify important RNA processing events and modifications in single cells; DNA: protein interactions that drive differences in gene expression; understanding differences in RNA expression and the impacts on disease and development


Joins the bioengineering department in January 2019.


  • PhD, Biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 2014
  • MS, Biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 2012
  • BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 2007

Honors & Awards

Research Overview

Developing chemical approaches to track and quantify important RNA processing events and modifications in single cells; DNA: protein interactions that drive differences in gene expression; understanding differences in RNA expression and the impacts on disease and development

Rouhanifard Lab

Our lab uses chemical, biological and computational approaches to address both fundamental and applied questions in biology and medicine. We aim to foster an interdisciplinary and translational research environment in which biologists, chemists, and engineers can work together to solve exciting problems.

Rouhanifard Lab

Selected Publications

  • S.H. Rouhanifard, I.A. Mellis, M. Dunagin, S. Bayatpour, C.L. Jiang, I. Dardani, O. Symmons, B. Emert, E. Torre, A. Cote, A. Sullivan, J.A. Stamatoyannopoulos, A. Raj ClampFISH Detects Individual Nucleic Acid Molecules Using Click Chemistry–Based Amplification, Nature Biotechnology, 37(1), 2019, 84-89
  • S.H. Rouhanifard, A.L. Aguilar, L. Meng, K.W. Moremen, P. Wu, Engineered Glycocalyx Regulates Stem Cell Proliferation in Murine Crypt Organoids, Cell Chemical Biology, 25(4), 2018, 439-446
  • C.N. Casson, J.L. Doerner, A.M. Copenhaver, J. Ramirez, A.M. Holmgren, M.A. Boyer, I.J. Siddarthan, S.H. Rouhanifard, A. Raj, S. Shin, Neutrophils and Ly6Chi Monocytes Collaborate in Generating an Optimal Cytokine Response that Protects Against Pulmonary Legionella Pneumophila Infection, PLOS Pathogens, 13(4), 2017
  • I.A. Mellis, R. Gupte, A. Raj, S.H. Rouhanifard Visualizing Adenosine to Inosine RNA Editing in Single Mammalian Cells, Nature Methods, 8, 2017, 801-804
  • S.H. Rouhanifard, A. Lopez-Aguilar, P. Wu, CHoMP: A Chemoenzymatic Histology Method Using ‘Clickable’ Probes, ChemBioChem, 15(18), 2014, 2667-2673


May 23, 2024

Exploring mRNA Modifications and Gene Expression at Inaugural RNA Symposium

BioE Assistant Professor Sara Rouhanifard presented her research on how mRNA modifications regulate gene expression at the inaugural Center for RNA Molecular Biology symposium at Penn State.


May 08, 2024

2024 URF Scholars Recipients

Thirty-six engineering students received 2024 URF Scholars Awards from Northeastern’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. URF Scholars are students who are graduating this year and who have earned a PEAK Experience Award, applied for a distinguished fellowship, or participated in graduate school advising.


Mar 14, 2024

Developing Tools To Analyze Individual RNA Molecules

COS/BioE Professor Meni Wanunu and BioE Assistant Professor Sara Rouhanifard, in collaboration with Anna-Marie Pyle from Yale University, were awarded a $4.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) for “Direct RNA Sequencing Using Electro-optical Zero-mode Waveguides and Custom Click Fluorescent Nucleotides.”


Dec 06, 2023

Unlocking the Secrets of RNA

BioE Assistant Professor Sara Rouhanifard explores the impact of RNA modifications on cell function and explains how Northeastern has helped both her and her students unlock new ideas.

Sara Rouhanifard


Apr 24, 2023

Rouhanifard Receives $3.4M NIH Grant to Discover RNA Modification Sites Using Pseudouridine Modified mRNA

BioE Assistant Professor Sara Rouhanifard was awarded a $3.4 million NIH R01 grant for “Synthetic mRNA Control Set for Nanopore-Based Pseudouridine Modification Profiling in Human Transcriptomes.” The research has the potential to vastly increase insight into the epitranscriptome—changes in chemical modifications of RNA that can affect gene expression within cells—which could help identify new therapeutic targets and lead to new classes of drugs.

Sara Rouhanifard


Dec 22, 2022

Rouhanifard Receives CMBE Rising Star Award

BioE Assistant Professor Sara Rouhanifard was selected to receive a 2023 Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE) Rising Star Award for her outstanding impact on the field of cellular and molecular bioengineering.


May 18, 2022

Announcing Summer 2022 PEAK Experiences Awardees

Several engineering students and science students mentored by COE faculty are recipients of Northeastern’s Summer 2022 PEAK Experiences Awards.

Sara Rouhanifard and Meni Wanunu


Jan 28, 2022

Measuring Viral Concentrations and Infectivity

BioE Assistant Professor Sara Rouhanifard and Affiliated Faculty Meni Wanunu were awarded a $250K PFI-TT NSF grant for “Developing an integrated platform for high accuracy measurements of viral particle count and infectious titer.”

Jeffrey Ruberti


May 21, 2020

Ruberti Awarded Grant for Low-Cost COVID-19 Diagnostics Testing

BioE Professor Jeffrey Ruberti, in collaboration with the University of California-Los Angeles and University of Massachusetts Amherst, was awarded a $150K NSF RAPID grant for “Low-Cost, Non-invasive, Fast Sample Collection System for COVID-19 Viral Load Level Diagnosis: Point-of-Care and Environmental Testing.”


Apr 11, 2020

FY21 TIER 1 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 19 COE faculty and affiliates who were recipients of FY21 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 13 different projects.

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