Beena Pillai

Principal Investigator
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I am fascinated by the brain (and the mind), the complexity of the organ and the specialized functions of the cell types.  The fact that many neurodegenerative diseases do not have any therapeutic solutions adds to the relevance of this research area.  Neurons and glia are the major cell types present in the brain. Although they arise from the same neural stem cells, they have distinctly different properties that they acquire during development. We are now interested in identifying non-coding RNAs and histone variants that participate in this differentiation program.

The ability of neurons to regenerate under the influence of extrinsic factors offers a less-explored avenue for therapeutic development.  We are also trying to isolate and characterize potential neurogenesis inducing factors from earthworms, since they have neuro-regenerative capabilities. 

I love reading books and all kinds of crafts. I am also music deaf and my only attempt at learning a sport ended prematurely when I dropped a shot-put on my own foot!  Never again have I ventured into a sports field. 

Neeraj Dhaunta
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Very few organisms have the ability for partial or complete recovery from near-fatal injuries. Intrigued by the ability of the redworm (Eisenia fetida) to survive severe mutilation, I intend to unfurl the biochemical factors that helps the worm survive and later regenerate the lost body parts/segments in due course of time.

Ashwani Choudhary

Ph.D student


I am interested in studying the role of microRNA mediated gene regulation in neurogenesis and neurodegeneration. microRNAs have been proven as one of the important gene regulators in development and diseases. During my PhD, I intend to study the role of microRNA in the invitro and invivo models of Spinocerebellar ataxia 17 (neurodegenerative disease characterized by expanded polyglutamine repeats in TATA BInding Protein,TBP). Moreover, I am also interested in unravelling the gene regulation mediated by microRNA in neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation. My other interests include travelling and exploring new places. I am  a religious follower of cricket, enjoy music and love to sing.

Bharat Iyengar

Ph.D student

The broad aim of my PhD research project is to understand the dynamics of miRNA-regulated gene networks using mathematical models and simultaneously construct a synthetic network to experimentally test the predictions.

Shivani Gupta
Ph.D student

I am studying the role of histone variants in the brain.  Some histone variants show a brain enriched expression pattern.  I am interested in understanding how these variants are regulated during neural cell differentiation and how the variants themselves might determine tissue specific expression patterns.

Rakesh Dey
Ph.D student

Post HIV infection, the interactomes of host-virus factors determines the differential disease progression rates among HIV infected individuals. MicroRNAs,  like few other host factors, can exert control over HIV replication and various stages of HIV life cycle during infection. I am  studying the roles of such anti-HIV miRNAs and their association with differential disease progression among seropositive individuals.

Mayuresh A. Sarangdhar                                   
Ph.D student

I am looking for molecular components like microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs which regulates gene expression in neuro-development, forms neural circuits and modulates behavior in diseases.  For this we have generated a double transgenic zebrafish line expressing red fluorescent protein (RFP) in radial gila cells and Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) in neurons. We are exploring the effect of perturbations in the expression of these regulatory RNAs.

Aksheev Bhambri
Ph.D student

This place is reserved for people who are 

passionate about science,


and enjoy working 12 hours a day.