gene iconCombining systems biology and bioinformatics to elucidate gene regulatory networks

Our lab uses computational and high-throughput experimental tools to understand gene regulatory networks and their roles in pathogenesis. A core area of emphasis – among many possible applications – is the innate immune system and its roles in inflammation and host defense. Over the long-term and with our network of collaborators, we aim to push the envelope on systems biology approaches to decipher the molecular basis of diseases and phenotypes.


tag cloud for Ramsey Lab

Lab members

Stephen Ramsey Assistant Professor email show biosketch
portrait Stephen has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland and an Sc.B. in mathematical physics from Brown University. This quantitative background sparked an enduring interest in modeling and in scientific computing. Following his graduate studies, Stephen was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington Genome Center, where he worked on genome mapping algorithms in Maynard Olson's laboratory. The Human Genome Project paved the way toward more molecular-oriented research projects – primarily in the area of gene regulatory network modeling, analysis, and inference – in the labs of Hamid Bolouri and Ilya Shmulevich at the Institute for Systems Biology. Prior to joining OSU, Stephen was a senior scientist in Alan Aderem's laboratory at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, where his work on computational methods for mapping gene networks earned him a K25 Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. At OSU, Stephen holds a dual appointment in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He also holds an affiliate scientist appointment with the Institute for Systems Biology.
Holly Arnold Research Assistant email show biosketch
portrait Holly received her B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology from University of Colorado at Boulder, and an M.S. in biology from University of Oregon. She is now pursuing a M.S. in computer science at OSU, and is working on integrative computational methods to map regulatory networks. She is interested in network science and computational methods to reconstruct biological networks. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, backpacking and walks with her dogs.
Alvin Yu Undergraduate Student email show biosketch
  Alvin Yu is a University Honors College student majoring in Bioengineering. He is interested in improving the longevity and health of humans through research of diseases and gene regulatory networks. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, basketball and spending time with friends.


Systems biology is inherently a collaborative enterprise. We are fortunate to have outstanding collaborators who complement the areas of expertise of our lab:

Many additional collaborators can be found as co-authors of articles on our Publications page.


We are proud to be affiliated with the OSU Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.

What we do

gene icon

Our program combines computational and experimental approaches to map and functionally characterize gene regulatory networks. We are developing data-driven approaches to “reverse engineer” the networks that regulate cellular responses and that become dysregulated in disease. A particular cell type of interest is the mammalian macrophage, a constituent of the innate immune system that plays important roles in host defense and in chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis. A comprehensive understanding of immune regulatory networks is a gateway to being able to predict how the immune system will respond to novel therapies, pathogens, and vaccines. Through collaborations, we are also applying a systems biology approach to study gene regulation in smooth muscle cells and in certain types of cancer cells. On the computational side, we use statistical and machine-learning methods to both identify the genomic elements that regulate cellular gene expression and contextulalize the regulatory elements in a phenotype-associated network. On the experimental side, we use the tools of systems biology, such as transcriptome and epigenome profiling, as a foundation for regulatory network inference.

Why we do it

gene icon

Biomedicine is being revolutionized by advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing. This is enabling the characterization of genetic variation across large populations and enabling genome-wide epigenetic characterization of various cell types. These advances are yielding immense amounts of data that promise unprecedented molecular insights into living systems, but efficiently extracting specific and testable molecular hypotheses from these heterogeneous data sets requires developing new mathematical and computational methods for data reduction and pattern discovery. These new methods must be able to take advantage of prior biological knowledge about molecular pathways, interaction networks, and disease associations. In the context of the innate immune system, the methods that we are developing have the potential to uncover novel molecular regulators of inflammation and host responses to pathogens. In the long-term, it is envisioned that such novel regulators could lead to new therapeutic targets and approaches to chronic and/or infectious diseases.


gene icon

Our research is funded in part by a K25 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


Fall 2014            Stephen will be teaching a special topics course entitled "Network Methods in Bioinformatics" (CS419/519).
May 28, 2014Stephen will be guest lecturing on systems biology, in the Molecular Host-Microbe Interactions course MCB 637.

Recent News

April 14, 2014Manuscript "Multiscale representation of genomic signals" has been published online in Nature Methods (with Theo Knijnenburg, Ilya Shmulevich, and colleagues at Institute for Systems Biology and collaborators at TU-Delft, NKI, USC, and UCLA).
April 7, 2014Stephen gave a presentation entitled "An integrative computational systems biology approach to mapping gene regulatory networks" at the 2014 CGRB Spring Conference at OSU
March 2014Alvin Yu has joined the lab. Welcome, Alvin!
January 2014Holly Arnold has joined the lab. Welcome, Holly!
December 2013The Molecular and Cellular Biology Program has approved Stephen's appointment to their graduate faculty.
December 2013 The NIH has approved the transfer of the K25 grant that supports our research, to OSU.
December 2013Laboratory renovations of the first floor in Dryden Hall are complete, and as a result, we now have our lab space on the third floor of Dryden Hall.
October 2013The Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing has designated Stephen as a CGRB faculty affiliate.
September 2013The lab website is up and running, at
May 2013Stephen gives an invited talk at the McGill Systems Biology Atherosclerosis Symposium in Montréal

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Reference Title Author(s) Link
Nature Methods.
in press (2014)
Multiscale representation of genomic signals Knijnenburg TA, Ramsey SA, Berman BP, Kennedy KA, Smit AFA, Wessels LFA, Laird PW, Aderem A, Shmulevich I [DOI]
8(3):e57837 (2013)
Urokinase plasminogen activator induces pro-fibrotic/M2 phenotype in murine cardiac macrophages Meznarich J, Malchodi L, Helterline D, Ramsey SA, Bertko K, Plummer T, Plawman A, Gold E, Stempien-Otero A [DOI]
J Exp Med.
209(4):807-817 (2012)
ATF3 protects against atherosclerosis by suppressing 25-hydroxycholesterol-induced lipid body formation Gold ES*, Ramsey SA*, Sartain MJ, Selinummi J, Podolsky I, Rodriguez DJ, Moritz RL, Aderem A [DOI]
Mol Syst Biol.
8:577 (2012)
Asymmetric positive feedback loops reliably control biological responses Ratushny AV, Saleem RA, Sitko K, Ramsey SA, Aitchison JD [DOI]
J Biol Chem.
286:22665-22677 (2011)
Mechanisms of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)-mediated atherosclerosis: Role of the uPA receptor and S100A8/A9 proteins Farris SD, Hu JH, Krishnan R, Emery I, Chu T, Du L, Kremen M, Dichek HL, Gold E, Ramsey SA, Dichek DA [DOI]
Methods Mol Biol. 781:415-33 (2011) Mathematical modeling of biomolecular network dynamics Ratushny AV, Ramsey SA, Aitchison JD [DOI]
Microfluid Nanofluid.
10(1):29-35 (2011)
Transport in two-dimensional paper networks Fu E, Ramsey SA, Kauffman P, Lutz B, Yager P [DOI]
Analyt. Chem.
83(20):7941-7946 (2011)
Enhanced sensitivity of lateral flow tests using a two-dimensional paper network format Fu E, Liang T, Houghtaling J, Ramachandran S, Ramsey SA, Lutz B, Yager P [DOI]
J Cell Sci.
123(Pt 20):3558-65 (2010)
ATF3, an adaptive-response gene, enhances TGFβ signaling and cancer-initiating cell features in breast cancer cells Yin X, Wolford CC, Chang YS, McConoughey SJ, Ramsey SA, Aderem A, Hai T [DOI]
26(17):2071-5 (2010)
Genome-wide histone acetylation data improve prediction of mammalian transcription factor binding sites Ramsey SA, Knijnenburg TA, Kennedy KA, Zak DE, Gilchrist M, Gold ES, Johnson CD, Lampano AE, Litvak V, Navarro G, Stolyar T, Aderem A, Shmulevich I [DOI]
Corrected supplement. doc.
BMC Bioinform.
11:377 (2010)
SeqAdapt: an adaptable system for the tracking, storage, and analysis of high-throughput sequencing experiments Burdick DB, Cavnor CC, Handcock J, Killcoyne S, Lin J, Marzolf B, Ramsey SA, Rovira H, Bressler R, Shmulevich I, Boyle J [DOI]
EMBO Mol Med.
2(3):79-89 (2010)
A systems biology approach to understanding atherosclerosis Ramsey SA, Gold ES, Aderem A [DOI]
Analyt Chem.
81(9):3407-13 (2009)
Modeling of a competitive microfluidic heterogeneous immunoassay: sensitivity of the assay response to varying system parameters Fu E, Nelson KE, Ramsey SA, Foley JO, Helton K, Yager P [DOI]
Nature Immunol.
10(4):437-43 (2009)
Function of C/EBPδ in a regulatory circuit that discriminates between transient and persistent TLR4-induced signals Litvak V, Ramsey SA, Rust AG, Zak DE, Kennedy KA, Lampano AE, Nykter M, Shmulevich I, Aderem A [DOI]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
106(10):3758-63 (2009)
Dynamic analysis of MAPK signaling using a high-throughput microfluidic single-cell imaging platform Taylor RJ, Falconnet D, Niemistö A, Ramsey SA, Prinz S, Shmulevich I, Galitski T, Hansen CL [DOI]
Biophys J.
95(8):3715-23 (2008)
Control of transcriptional variability by overlapping feed-forward regulatory motifs Ratushny AV*, Ramsey SA*, Roda O, Wan Y, Smith JJ, Aitchison JD [DOI]
PLoS Comp Biol.
4(3):e1000021 (2008)
Uncovering a macrophage transcriptional program by integrating evidence from motif scanning and expression dynamics Ramsey SA, Klemm SL, Zak DE, Kennedy KA, Thorsson V, Li B, Gilchrist M, Gold ES, Johnson CD, Litvak V, Navarro G, Roach JC, Rosenberger CM, Rust AG, Yudkovsky N, Aderem A, Shmulevich I [DOI]
Table S17.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
105(6):1897-1900 (2008)
Gene expression dynamics in the macrophage exhibit criticality Nykter M, Price ND, Aldana M, Ramsey SA, Kauffman SA, Hood L, Yli-Harja O, Shmulevich I [DOI]
Analyt Chim Acta.
599(1):118-23 (2007)
Dependence of the signal amplification potential of colloidal gold nanoparticles on resonance wavelength in surface plasmon resonance-based detection Fu ES, Ramsey SA, Yager P [DOI]
Mol Syst Biol.
3:115 (2007)
Transcriptional responses to fatty acid are coordinated by combinatorial control Smith JJ, Ramsey SA, Marelli M, Marzolf B, Hwang D, Saleem RA, Rachubinski RA, Aitchison JD [DOI]
2:e249 (2007)
Control of signaling in a MAP-kinase pathway by an RNA-binding protein Prinz S, Aldridge C, Ramsey SA, Taylor RJ, Galitski T [DOI]
Sens Act B Chem. 123(10):606-13 (2007) Resonance wavelength-dependent signal of absorptive particles in surface plasmon resonance-based detection Fu E, Ramsey SA, Chen J, Chinowsky TM, Wiley B, Xia Y, Yager P [DOI]
Rev Sci Inst.
77:076106 (2006)
One-dimensional surface plasmon resonance imaging system using wavelength interrogation Fu E, Ramsey SA, Thariani R, Yager P [DOI]
Nature Genetics.
38(9):1082-7 (2006)
Dual feedback loops in the GAL regulon suppress cellular heterogeneity in yeast Ramsey SA, Smith JJ, Orrell D, Marelli M, Petersen TW, de Atauri P, Bolouri H, Aitchison JD [DOI]
Corrected supplementary note.
Physica D.
217(1):64-76 (2006)
Feedback control of stochastic noise in the yeast galactose utilization pathway Orrell D, Ramsey S, Marelli M, Smith JJ, Petersen TW, de Atauri P, Aitchison JD, Bolouri H [DOI]
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.
361(1467):495-506 (2006)
Transcriptional noise and cellular heterogeneity in mammalian macrophages Ramsey S, Ozinsky A, Clark A, Smith KD, de Atauri P, Thorsson V, Orrell D, Bolouri H [DOI]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
102(48):17296-17301 (2005)
A data integration methodology for systems biology Hwang D, Rust AG, Ramsey S, Smith JJ, Leslie DM, Weston AD, de Atauri P, Aitchison JD, Hood L, Siegel AF, Bolouri H [DOI]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
102(48):17302-17307 (2005)
A data integration methodology for systems biology: experimental validation Hwang D, Smith JJ, Leslie DM, Weston AD, Rust AG, Ramsey S, de Atauri P, Siegel AF, Bolouri H, Aitchison JD, Hood L [DOI]
J Bioinform Comp Biol.
3(2):415-436 (2005)
Dizzy: Stochastic simulations of large-scale genetic regulatory networks Ramsey S, Orrell D, Bolouri H [DOI]
(Supplement: [DOI])
21(2):208-217 (2005)
A method for estimating stochastic noise in large genetic regulatory networks Orrell D, Ramsey S, de Atauri P, Bolouri H [DOI]
Biochem J.
387:77-84 (2005)
Is the regulation of galactose-1-phosphate tuned against gene expression noise? de Atauri P, Orrell D, Ramsey S, Bolouri H [DOI]
Syst Biol (Stevenage).
1(1):28-40 (2004)
Evolution of "design" principles in biochemical networks de Atauri P, Orrell D, Ramsey S, Bolouri H [DOI]


Peer-Reviewed Publications (Physics)

Reference Title Author(s) Link
Int J Theo Phys.
40(12):2231-58 (2001)
Interacting field theories in Robertson-Walker spacetimes: analytic approximations Molina-Paris C, Anderson PR, Ramsey SA [DOI]
Phys Rev D.
61:127501 (2000)
One-loop λφ4theory in Robertson-Walker spacetimes: adiabatic regularization and analytic approximation Molina-Paris C, Anderson PR, Ramsey SA [DOI]
Phys Rev D.
61:125013 (2000)
Hydrodynamic transport functions from quantum kinetic theory Calzetta EA, Hu BL, Ramsey SA [DOI]
Phys Rev D.
59:045009 (1999)
Defect formation and Critical Dynamics in the Early Universe Stephens GJ, Calzetta EA, Hu BL, Ramsey SA [DOI]
Int J Theo Phys.
38(4):1299-1314 (1999).
Nonequilibrium dynamics of quantum fields in inflationary cosmology Ramsey SA [DOI]
Phys Rev D.
57:6003-6021 (1998)
Nonequilibrium inflaton dynamics and reheating. II. Fermion production, noise, and stochasticity Ramsey SA, Hu BL, Stylianopoulos AM [DOI]
Phys Rev D.
56:678-705 (1997); Erratum-ibid 57:3798 (1998)
Nonequilibrium inflaton dynamics and reheating: Back reaction of parametric particle creation and curved spacetime effects Ramsey SA, Hu BL [DOI]
Phys Rev D.
56:661-677 (1997)
O(N) Quantum fields in curved spacetime Ramsey SA, Hu BL [DOI]


Other Publications or Works

Reference Title Author(s) Link
U.S. Patent no. 7555542 (2009) Method and system for directing requests for content to a content server based on network performance. Ayers M, Black BJ, Brown C, Carlson J, Cohn D, Laird S, Miller J, Ronen O, Schachter P, Stiffelman O, Ramsey S  
U.S. Patent no. 6981055 (2005) Method and system for optimizing routing through multiple available Internet route providers. Ahuja A, Ayers M, Black B, Brown C, Cohn DT, Ramsey S, Ronen O, Schachter PJ, Stiffelman OB, Wheeler CD  
Doctoral Dissertation, University of Maryland (1997) Nonequilibrium dynamics of quantum fields in inflationary cosmology Ramsey SA (Ph.D. advisor: Bei-Lok Hu) [arXiv]
Brown University Physics Report BROWN-HET-922 (1993) Some statistics for measuring large-scale structure Brandenberger RH, Kaplan DM, Ramsey SA [arXiv]

* indicates that these authors contributed equally.

You can also find our list of publications on Google Scholar.

Stephen Ramsey's teaching plans

I am a new assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences (College of Veterinary Medicine) and in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (College of Engineering). Most of my teaching activities will be split between these two academic units. As an educator, I want to enable students in both engineering and in the life sciences to process, understand, and interpret the kinds of high-throughput "omics" measurements that are transforming biomedical research and becoming ubiquitous research tools. My teaching interests broadly encompass bioinformatics, computational biology, machine-learning applications in the life sciences, and biocomputational modeling. I am particularly excited about mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in research projects in computational biology, to enable students to connect their computational and engineering skills to compelling life sciences applications. My formal teaching activities will be phased in over the next two years, as described below.


During winter quarter, I guest taught for three lectures in VMB631 ("Mathematical Modeling of Biological Systems", instructor: Jan Medlock) and for one lecture in BB499 ("Nucleic Acid Bioinformatics", instructor: David Hendrix).

During Spring Quarter, I will be guest lecturing in CS419/519 ("Algorithms for Computational Molecular Biology", Instructor: David Hendrix) on the topic of "algorithms for biomedical informatics". I will also be guest lecturing on systems biology in MCB637 ("Molecular host-microbe interactions", Instructors: Virginia Weis and Dan Rockey).


In the Fall Quarter, I will be teaching a special topics course, CS419/519, entitled "Network Methods in Bioinformatics". When the syllabus and course announcement flyer are ready, I will post them here.

I will also be offering a one-credit graduate course in Bioinformatics through the Comparative Health Sciences graduate program.

Software and tools

  • Future software and code releases will be accessible on our GitHub page.

Supplementary material for lab publications

Links at OSU

Here are some links to other web sites of interest at OSU:

Student opportunities

We are looking for promising and enthusiastic student researchers (both undergraduate and graduate level) to work on exciting projects in the areas of computational biology and bioinformatics.

righttriangleMore information

Graduate Programs

I have appointments on the graduate faculty in the programs in Computer Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Comparative Health Sciences at OSU, so I am able to supervise graduate students in any of those programs. If you are applying to another graduate program at OSU and are interested in working with me, please inquire — a co-supervising arrangement might be possible.

Undergraduate Students

There are various potential short- and long-term research projects for undergraduates. The most important requirements are that you are enthusiastic, a quick learner, dependable, and motivated.

To Apply

If you are interested in joining the lab, please send an email to Stephen Ramsey ( enclosing a letter of introduction including a brief statement of your research and career interests (no more than a page, please), your curriculum vitae / resume, and contact information for at least two references. If you are a prospective graduate student, please also include your GRE scores by section. For inquiries from international students who are applying from non-English-speaking countries, please also include TOEFL scores, by section. Students who have graduate fellowship funding (or a plan to apply for funding) are particularly encouraged to inquire.

Compbio @ OSU

The Ramsey Lab bridges the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, which will provide an environment that is rich in interactions with students and researchers from diverse areas of the life sciences and from computer science, statistics, and engineering. The academic environment for interdisciplinary collaborations in computational biology at OSU is outstanding, with the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing (CGRB) serving as a hub for computational infrastructure, training, collaboration, and genomics core facilities. Computational biology researchers at OSU interact frequently to share ideas, though CGRB-sponsored seminars, bioinformatics user group meetings, training sessions, and twice-yearly computational biology / genomics workshops. Biocomputing is a rapid growth area for OSU, with four faculty hired in this area during 2013 and additional biocomputing hires planned in the near future. Your research will be powered by the bioinformatics computing cluster in the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing (CGRB) and the 16 TFLOPS high-performance computing system in the College of Engineering.

About Corvallis

Our lab is located on the OSU campus in Corvallis, a dynamic, intellectually rich, and bike-friendly university environment in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon. Corvallis is renowned for its access to outdoor recreation and for its high quality-of-life. In addition to the thriving social environment and cultural/university amenities in OSU and Corvallis, the city of Eugene (which hosts the University of Oregon) is only 50 minutes away, and Portland (which hosts both Oregon Health and Sciences University and Portland State University) is only 90 minutes away. Beyond the wonderful outdoor recreation options in the vicinity of Corvallis, the ocean and the mountains are both only an hour away. For more information about Oregon State University, see the OSU website.

We value diversity

Oregon State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Note from Stephen:    I'm easy to contact by email and will usually respond quickly. I'm particularly interested in discussing potential student projects, research collaborations, consulting opportunities, scholarly projects, and opportunities to review a manuscript or grant proposals.


Office (Biomedical Sciences)

Office (Computer Science)

U.S. Post

Stephen Ramsey
Oregon State University
Department of Biomedical Sciences
106 Dryden Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331-4801


Stephen Ramsey
Oregon State University
Department of Biomedical Sciences
105 Magruder Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331-4801



Secure email contact info


* Email message strongly preferred over voicemail

‡ Emailed PDF is strongly preferred instead of fax

© 2013–2014 Stephen Ramsey.    The orange OSU logo is a trademark of Oregon State University and is used with permission.