National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, USA
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Systems neuroscience is a multidisciplinary enterprise, which requires a range of techniques, from molecular, to physiological to behavioral. My training, from undergraduate to postdoctoral, has encompassed these areas; this prepares me to approach neuroscience problems with a variety of tools. My early training was in microbiology (B.Sc.), and molecular biology (M.Sc.). Even in those years I was interested in electronics in particular, and physics in general – as an undergraduate, I was a member of the electronics club and coordinator of the amateur radio club, where we built as well as operated two way radios. This served me well during grad school. In Dr.Upinder Singh Bhalla's lab in National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), not only was I performing electrophysiological experiments in the olfactory system of the rat, but also building the instrumentation required for performing those experiments, including the amplifiers as well as the olfactometer. The ability to build hardware to interface with the animals for delivery of sensory stimuli as well as recording a range of parameters related to the behavior under consideration is critical for running a systems neuroscience laboratory. This research led to a demonstration of representation of odor habituation and timing in the hippocampus.
As a postdoc and subsequently as an Assistant Research Scientist in Dr. James J. Kneirim's lab, I have been working on elucidating spatial and nonspatial representations in the entorhinal cortical inputs to the hippocampus. This research has led to a modification of our ideas about the nature of information represented and the computations performed in the lateral entorhinal cortex. Instead of merely representing nonspatial information as originally hypothesized, I have shown that the lateral entorhinal cortex creates sensory-derived spatial as well as nonspatial representations.
I have continued to incorporate technological advances in my research. For example, I use Computer Aided Design and 3D printing technology for manufacturing hyperdrives used for neuronal recordings, and have beta tested a 64 channel wireless recording system for recoding neuronal data from awake, behaving rats. Both these techniques are now routinely used in Knierim lab.
I plan to start my lab in India with the generous support of the Wellcome/DBT intermediate fellowship. I intend to open new avenues to understanding the role of the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus in memory and spatial navigation, by studying dynamic interactions between these two regions and their sensory inputs.