A photo of Nancy Ratner.

Co-Director, Rasopathy Program

Program Leader, Cancer Biology and Neural Tumors Program

Beatrice C. Lampkin Chair, Cancer Biology

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Biography & Affiliation


Nancy Ratner, PhD is interested in peripheral nerve tumor (neurofibroma) formation in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a common inherited disorder in which children are predisposed to cancer of the nervous system, to learning problems, and to other cancers. She developed cell culture and mouse models of NF1 nerve tumorigenesis, and used them for bioinformatics. She defined EGFR and MEK as potential therapeutic targets in NF1 peripheral nerve tumorigenesis using mouse genetics, cell culture, and preclinical testing. Her laboratory continues to use gene expression analysis to identify critical genes in neurofibroma and their malignant derivatives, MPNST, and is now also using new protein-based methods to define the interactomes of NF1 and NF2 deficient tumor cells.

Dr. Ratner received her bachelor's from Brown University, her doctorate from Indiana University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. She was a member of the Department of Cancer and Cell Biology faculty at the University of Cincinnati from 1987 to 2004. Dr. Ratner is now a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, and the program leader for Cancer Biology and Neural Tumors Program in the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute where she holds the Beatrice C. Lampkin Endowed chair in cancer biology, co-leads of the Institutional Rasopathy Program.

Dr. Ratner is an active member of the International Consortium on the Molecular Biology of NF1, NF2, and Schwannomatosis. She served on the advisory board for the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation (Children’s Tumor Foundation; 1989 to 2007). She received the von Recklinghausen Award (2010) and a Team Science Award (2016) from the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and the Jacob K. Javits Neuroscience Investigator MERIT Award (NIH-NINDS) in 2014. She chaired the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Research Program Integration Panel in 2008, and has served on many other review panels. She is (2016-present) a standing member of the translational NIH review panel NSD-A. .

Clinical Interests

Preclinical testing in neurofibromatosis

Research Interests

Genetic mutations in tumor suppressor genes; development and tumorigenesis of the nervous system; peripheral NF1, NF2

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology, Cancer and Blood Diseases

Blog Posts

Inhibiting MEK Protein Shrinks NF1 Plexiform Tumors


Inhibiting MEK Protein Shrinks NF1 Plexiform Tumors

Nancy Ratner, PhD6/30/2019


PhD: Indiana University, 1982.

BA: Brown University, 1975.

Fellowship: Washington University St. Louis, 1982-1987.


Distinct Roles for Rac1 in Sertoli Cell Function during Testicular Development and Spermatogenesis. Heinrich, A; Potter, SJ; Guo, L; Ratner, N; DeFalco, T. Cell Reports. 2020; 31:107513-107513.

The sixth international RASopathies symposium: Precision medicine—From promise to practice. Gripp, KW; Schill, L; Schoyer, L; Stronach, B; Bennett, AM; Blaser, S; Brown, A; Burdine, R; Burkitt-Wright, E; Castel, P; et al. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A. 2020; 182:597-606.

NF1 patient missense variants predict a role for ATM in modifying neurofibroma initiation. Yu, Y; Choi, K; Wu, J; Andreassen, PR; Dexheimer, PJ; Keddache, M; Brems, H; Spinner, RJ; Cancelas, JA; Martin, LJ; et al. Acta Neuropathologica. 2020; 139:157-174.

Polo-like kinase 1 as a therapeutic target for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) and schwannomas. Guo, J; Chaney, KE; Choi, K; Witek, G; Patel, AV; Xie, H; Lin, D; Whig, K; Xiong, Y; Schultz, DC; et al. American Journal of Cancer Research. 2020; 10:856-869.

Prevalence of the Hippo Effectors YAP1/TAZ in Tumors of Soft Tissue and Bone. Isfort, I; Elges, S; Cyra, M; Berthold, R; Renner, M; Mechtersheimer, G; Aman, P; Larsson, O; Ratner, N; Hafner, S; et al. Scientific Reports. 2019; 9.

iGEAK: an interactive gene expression analysis kit for seamless workflow using the R/shiny platform. Choi, K; Ratner, N. BMC Genomics. 2019; 20.

Targeted Inhibition of the Dual Specificity Phosphatases DUSP1 and DUSP6 Suppress MPNST Growth via JNK. Ramkissoon, A; Chaney, KE; Milewski, D; Williams, KB; Williams, RL; Choi, K; Miller, A; Kalin, TV; Pressey, JG; Szabo, S; et al. Clinical Cancer Research. 2019; 25:clincanres.3224.2018-clincanres.3224.2018.

First International Conference on RASopathies and Neurofibromatoses in Asia: Identification and advances of new therapeutics. Rauen, KA; Alsaegh, A; Ben-Shachar, S; Berman, Y; Blakeley, J; Cordeiro, I; Elgersma, Y; Evans, DG; Fisher, MJ; Frayling, IM; et al. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A. 2019; 179:1091-1097.

The evolution and multi-molecular properties of NF1 cutaneous neurofibromas originating from C-fiber sensory endings and terminal Schwann cells at normal sites of sensory terminations in the skin. Rice, FL; Houk, G; Wymer, JP; Gosline, SJ C; Guinney, J; Wu, J; Ratner, N; Jankowski, MP; La Rosa, S; Dockum, M; et al. PLoS ONE. 2019; 14:e0216527-e0216527.

RUNX represses Pmp22 to drive neurofibromagenesis. Hall, A; Choi, K; Liu, W; Rose, J; Zhao, C; Yu, Y; Na, Y; Cai, Y; Coover, RA; Lin, Y; et al. Science Advances. 2019; 5:eaau8389-eaau8389.