Ongoing projects in the lab

Epigenetics of adult neurogenesis, neural stem cells and cancer stem cells of neural origin.

The epigenetic mechanisms, which exert lasting control over gene expression without altering the gene sequences, appear to mediate the stable plastic changes in neuroglial and consequently behavioral responses to chronic perturbations such as stress, drugs, etc. Here, we are trying to dissect the role of epigenetic regulators responsible for histone lysine methylation and demethylation in proliferation, survival and differentiation of neural stem or progenitor cells in mouse models of depression and related disorders such as anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Understanding the epigenetic mechanisms underlying these events might lead to better therapeutic strategies in treating neuropsychiatric disorders and also the tumors of nervous system origin.
(Funding from: DBT Virtual Centre of Excellence (COE) in Epigenetics)

Epigenetic and Transcription regulatory mechanisms in glial functions in physiology and etiopathophysiology

Alcohol consumption is increasing at alarming pace throughout the world and studies suggest that adolescent population appears to be quite vulnerable to binge and chronic alcohol consumption. Alcoholism, like any other chronic nervous system perturbations, cause stable and enduring neuroglial and behavioral changes by affecting the level of gene expression in hippocampal neurogenic niche, the critical region of the brain's cognition circuitry. Using mouse self administration of alcohol model, we are trying to understand the molecular, including the epigenetic changes in glial cells as well as neuronal cells.
(DBT National Initiative in Glia Research)

Chronic Stress induced Cognition and Mood Disorders: Molecular Mediators of Neuronal and Behavioural Adaptations

We are trying to uncover the epigenetic and transcription regulatory mechanisms dysregulated in two different neural circuitries, reward and cognition, in chronic stress-induced cognitive disorder mouse model.
(DST Cognitive Science Initiative Grant)

Molecular basis of maternal vitamin B12 restriction induced changes in the C57BL/6 mouse offspring: role of epigenetics

The nutritional imbalance during the early phase of life can lead to mental health problems in adulthood. Vitamin B12 deficiency is largely prevalent in pregnant and lactating women in developing countries and B12 deficiency has been shown to interfere in normal brain development and cognition. Here, in this project, we are using B12 deficient mouse model and trying to understand the role of epigenetic regulators involved in the alteration in neural circuitry and behavior.
(DBT grant in collaboration with NIN scientists)

Neurodegenerative Diseases: Causes and Corrections

To develop "epigenetic therapeutics" for mood and cognitive disorders, up to the pre-clinical stage, based on the regular screening of the natural product based synthesized chemical analogues (from MolBank at IICT and collaborator at IICT Hyderabad) using cell based and epigenetic assays. We are also trying to map genome wide histone methylation (H3 K9, K27) and DNA methylation changes in hippocampus by ChIP-chip or ChIP-Seq to understand the etiopathology of dementia-like conditions in rodents induced by chronic stress and vascular perturbations.
(Funding from CSIR project: miND BSC0105-CSIR)

New Approaches towards Understanding of Disease Dynamics and to Accelerate Drug Discovery

Investigations into the role of chromatin regulators that mediate the effects of prenatal stress on neurodevelopment and behaviour in our mouse models for pervasive neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
(Funding from CSIR project: UNDO BSC0103-CSIR)