I grew up in Calcutta, India and went to Presidency College, one of the country’s oldest institutions of western education, to earn my bachelors degree in Physiology (B.Sc. Hon.’s). A whole year of our BSc curriculum was dedicated to neurophysiology and biophysics and this is where I developed my fascination for neuroscience, specifically synaptic physiology. My tryst with hands on neuroscience research began with an undergraduate summer project with Dr. Rohit Mittal at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India exploring the presynaptic interactions of endocytosis protein Dynamin.
In the fall of 2002, I went on to pursue graduate studies in Neuroscience at the International Max Planck Research School, Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany, a hub for research in synaptic transmission and the birthplace of patch clamp electrophysiology. Learning how to patch neurons to look at Ca2+ dependent vesicular release probability during my lab rotation was a technological revelation for me. In 2003, soon after I started my PhD thesis project, my primary advisor Dr. Christian Rosenmund moved his lab from the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. I stayed on in Dr. Erwin Neher’s research group at the MPI to finish a Masters degree from the Max Planck Neuroscience program, developing a biophysical method to assess the kinetics of neurotransmitter release.
In 2004, I enrolled in the Neuroscience Graduate program at Baylor College of Medicine, and started my PhD thesis in Dr. Rosenmund’s lab. The graduate program and breadth and depth of interdisciplinary research at Baylor College of Medicine greatly inspired my thinking as a scientist. My graduate research focused on molecular mechanisms of synaptic vesicle release and short-term plasticity in hippocampal cultured neurons, in particular the structure-function analysis of presynaptic priming factor munc13.
I realized that moving forward, I wanted to study activity dependent changes in synaptic transmission in neural circuits to better understand the processes of learning and memory.
At the end of 2007, I moved to New York to join Dr. Steven Siegelbaum’s laboratory at Columbia University for my post-doctoral training. I have examined how excitatory and inhibitory circuits interact to shape dendritic integration and cortico-hippocampal input-timing-dependent plasticity in hippocampal slices. The stimulating Columbia Neuroscience research community has created an excellent platform for my independent research career. My training here has been intellectually formative for my research goals of understanding how activity in neural circuits translates to learning behaviors. Presently I am assessing how long-range inhibition contributes to sensory coding and learning in awake behaving mice.
Starting January of 2015, I shall be joining the Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology in New York University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor.
I am excited to be part of the invigorating Neuroscience ecosystem at NYU, where research is being driven towards its cutting edge of scaling functional dynamics within synapses, neurons, neural circuits and network assemblies.