2012-Present Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, SBS, NTU, Singapore
2005-2010 Post-doctoral – Neuroscience, Stanford University
2004-2005 Post-doctoral – Neuroscience, Stanford University Medical School
1998-2004 Ph.D.– Neuroscience, NCBS, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Some of my core research areas in ‘stress and resilience’ are as below:
- How are resilient brains different than normal/vulnerable brains?
- Resilience: Is it in the genes or is it in the environment
- Are resilient individuals better adapted?
- Combing environment and therapeutic approach to achieve optimal recovery
- Can we reverse stress susceptibility into stress-resilience by single gene manipulation (gene therapy)?
Research Interest in the Neuroscience of Learning and Education
I had been extremely keen about the subject of ‘learning and memory’, when I first came to know about it in my Masters Degree Program. As soon as I got a chance of PhD in a highly competitive Institute, I pursued the ‘Neuroscientific basis of learning and memory’.
I chose animal model of ‘stress and related disorders’ because that gave me the unique opportunity to study ‘learning’ through a strong manipulation system (for example, it showed that when learning is compromised, behavior is compromised too just as long-term stress leads to both dementia and also synaptic plasticity in hippocampus, the memory center of brain). Through this model I showed unique feature of differential plasticity in both learning and structural alteration of neurons in distinctive brain regions, namely the hippocampus and the amygdala (citation>650).
During my postdoc I used ‘gene-therapy’ techniques to rescue both behavioral compromise and memory-failure caused by long-term stress. This research resulted in several high impact research publications.
In my current research group in School of Biological Sciences in NTU, we obtained solid evidence of cellular link between behavior and brain plasticity. We study learning-based brain plasticity from single neurons to network of neurons and how each of these changes are correlated with behavior.
Inspired by the fundamental question of neuroscientific basis of learning and memory and also by my previous research focus on this sole question, I designed and coordinated my first undergraduate course of ‘Neuropsychology of stress and resilience’ this year Jan-May 2015. This is an unique course that is geared for the ‘Double Major Program in Biology and Psychology offered by NTU’. There were several exercise throughout the course where not only did the students learn about the subject from both neuroscience and psychology angle, but also had opportunities to directly apply their lesson for their everyday learning.