Nancy Ratner, PhD

Co-Director, Rasopathy Program

Program Leader, Cancer Biology and Neural Tumors Program

Beatrice C. Lampkin Chair, Cancer Biology

Academic Affiliations

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Phone 513-636-9469

Fax 513-636-3549



Preclinical testing in neurofibromatosis tumors


Genetic mutations in tumor suppressor genes; development of the nervous system; peripheral nerve tumor formation

Visit the Ratner Lab.

Nancy Ratner, PhD, is interested in understanding mechanisms of 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, bone disorders, and other cancers. She identified EGFR and MEK as potential therapeutic targets in NF1 peripheral nerve tumorigenesis, and has developed cell culture and mouse models of NF1 nerve tumorigenesis. Her laboratory has also used analysis of gene expression to identify critical genes in neurofibroma and their malignant derivatives, MPNST.

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 faculty at the University of Cincinnati from 1987 to 2004. Dr. Ratner is currently 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 and serves as PI of the NINDS P50 “Cincinnati Center in NF Research.”

Dr. Ratner is an active member of the International Consortium on the Molecular Biology of NF1, NF2, and Schwannomatosis and was a member of the advisory board for the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation (now Children’s Tumor Foundation) from 1989 to 2007. She chaired the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Research Program Integration Panel in 2008, and currently serves as a member of the James McDonnell Brain Tumor Research Advisory Board. She received the von Recklinghausen Award from the Children’s Tumor Foundation in 2010 and the Jacob K. Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award (NIH-NINDS MERIT Award) in 2014.

PhD: Indiana University, 1982.

BA: Brown University, 1975.

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

View PubMed Publications

Mayes DA, Rizvi TA, Titus-Mitchell HA, Oberst R, Ciraolo GM, Vorhees CV, Robinson AP, Miller SD, Stemmer-Rachamimov AO, Ratner N. Nf1 loss and Ras activation in Oligodendrocytes induce NOS-driven Defects in Myelin and Vasculature. Cell Reports. 2013 Sep 26;4(6):1197-212.

Rahrmann EP, Watson AL, Keng VW, Choi K, Moriarity B, Beckmann DA, Wolf N, Sarver A, Collins MH, Moertel CL, Wallace MR, Gel B, Serra S, Ratner N, Largaespada DA. Forward genetic screen for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor formation identifies novel genes and genetic pathways driving tumorigenesis. Nature Genetics. 2013;45(7):756-66.

Watson AL, Rahrmann EP, Moriarity B, Choi K, Conboy C, Greeley A, Halfond A, Anderson L, Wahl B, Keng VW, Rizzardi A, Forser C, Collins MH, Sarver A, Wallace M, Schmechel S, Ratner N, Largaespada DA. Canonical Wnt/β-catenin Signaling Drives Human Schwann Cell Transformation, Progression, and Tumor Maintenance. Cancer Discov. 2013 Jun;3(6):674-689.

Prada CE, Jousma E, Rizvi TA, Wu J, Dunn RS, Mayes DA, Cancelas JA, Dombi E, West BL, Bollag G, Ratner N. Neurofibroma associated macrophages play roles in tumor growth and response to pharmacological inhibition. Acta Neurpathol. 2013;125(1):159-68.

Jessen WJ, Miller SJ, Jousma E, Rizvi TA, Eaves D, Wu J, Widemann B, Kim M-O, Dombi E, Dudley AH, Niwa-Kawakita M, Page GP, Giovannini M, Aronow BJ, Cripe TP, Ratner N. MEK Inhibition Exhibits Efficacy in Human and Mouse Neurofibromatosis Tumors Despite Transcriptional Feedback onto ERK. J Clin. Invest. 2013 Jan 2;123(1):340-7.

Patel AV, Eaves D, Jessen WJ, Rizvi TA, Ecsedy JA, Qian MG, Aronow BJ, Perentesis JP, Serra E, Cripe TP, Miller SJ, Ratner N. Ras-Driven Transcriptome Analysis Identifies Aurora Kinase A as a Potential Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Therapeutic Target. Clin Canc Res. 2012 Sep 15;18(18):5020-30.

Hennigan RF, Moon CO, Parysek LM, Monk KR, Morfini G, Berth S, Brady ST, Ratner N. Merlin Modulates Microtubule-Based Vesicle Trafficking via Rac, MLK and p38SAPK. Oncogene. 2012;29(3):368-79.

Mayes DA, Rizvi TA, Cancelas JA, Kolasinski NT, Ciraolo GM, Stemmer-Rachamimov AO, Ratner N. Perinatal or Adult Nf1 Inactivation Using Tamoxifen-Inducible PlpCre Each Cause Neurofibroma Formation. Cancer Res. 2011 Jul 1;71(13):4675-85.

Hummel TR, Jessen WJ, Miller SC, Kluwe L, Mautner VF, Wallace MR, Lázaro C, Page G, Worley P, Aronow BJ, Schorry E, Ratner N. Gene expression analysis identifies potential biomarkers of neurofibromatosis type 1 including adrenomedullin. Clin Cancer Res. 2010;16 5048-57.

Miller SJ, Jessen WJ, Mehta T, Hardiman A, Sites E, Kaiser S, Jegga A, Li H, Upadhyaya M, Giovannini M, Muir D, Wallace MR, Lopez E,  Serra E, Lazaro C, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Page G, Aronow BJ, Ratner N. Integrative genomic analyses of neurofibromatosis tumors identify SOX9 as biomarker and survival gene. EMBO Mol Medicine. 2009 1(4): 236-48.

Mitogenic Activities in Neurofibromatosis. Principal Investigator. Sept 2011-2016. NIH-R01 NS 28840-20.

Preclinical Testing: GEM-Neurofibroma. Principal Investigator. Children's Tumor Foundation. Aug 2013-Jul 2016. 

Identification of Neurofibroma Growth and Drug Resistance Pathways. Principal Investigator. Neurofibromatosis Therapeutic Acceleration Program (NTAP). Apr 2014-Mar 2016.

Ras Proteins in Nerve Tumorigenesis. Principal Investigator. Apr 2014-Mar 2019. 1R01 NS083580-01A1.

Novel Combinatorial Therapies for Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors. Co-Principal Investigator. Jul 2014-Jun 2016. 1R21NS084885-01A1.

Disordered Wnt/b-catenin signaling in MPNST Development and Maintenance. Co-Principal Investigator. Oct 2014-Sep 2019. 1R01NS086219-01A1.

Can targeted therapy prevent neurofibroma growth in mice? Principal Investigator. Neurofibromatosis Therapeutic Acceleration Program (NTAP). Sep 2014-Aug 2016.