Research Scientist in the Department of Medicine. My research is aimed at understanding how changes in reproductive hormones control aging. Our recent identification of the hypothalmic-pituitary-gonadal hormone axis in the C. elegans worm, which has been found to control reproduction in higher organisms, will enable the linkage of reproductive and aging related pathways in this model organism. We are utilizing various molecular techniques, including RNAi gene silencing to tease out the relevant longevity pathways.
I am also pursuing our recent observation that human hippocampal neurons express GnRH receptors, suggesting a functional role for GnRH in synaptic transmission and memory storage. This finding is very important to our understanding of Alzheimer's disease since it has previously been shown that activation of GnRH receptors by GnRH agonists induces a long-lasting enhancement of synaptic transmission mediated by ionotropic glutamate receptors in CA1 pyramidal neurons of rat hippocampal slices. Therefore, GnRH agonists like leuprolide acetate may promote synaptic transmission. An understanding of how GnRH and GnRH agonists modulate ion channels in hippocampal neurons, those lost in Alzheimer's disease, will be important in understanding the action of these drugs that our collaborators are currently assessing in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of this devastating disease.
I received my Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Kerala, India. Upon completing my graduate studies, I was awarded a National Fellowship to undertake a post-doctoral position at the Indian Institute of Science, a premier research institute in India. Following this, I completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Robert A. Haworth in the Department of Surgery at the Clinical Science Center of UW Madison in 2003 subsequently I joined the Laboratory of Endocrinology, Aging and Disease. In 2004, I received an Emerging Scientists travel award to participate in the Technical Assistantance Workshop on Aging conducted by NIH/NIA, Washington DC.