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  Ajay S MATHURU  
  Lab Location: #08-07B

tel:6586 9878
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  Key Publications  

S Krishnan#, AS Mathuru# et al.
The right dorsal habenula limits attraction to specific odors.
Current Biology 2014 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/
j.cub.2014.03.073 (# equal contribution)

SJ Tan, M Kee, AS Mathuru et al., A microfluidic device to sort cells based on dynamic response to a stimulus,
PLOS One, 2013,
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/ journal.pone.0078261.

A Schirmer, S Jesuthasan and AS Mathuru*
The medial habenula as a regulator of anxiety in adult zebrafish.
Front. Neural Circuits 2013,
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/

AS Mathuru et. al.,
Chondroitin Fragments Are Odorants that trigger fear behavior in fish.
Current Biology, 2012
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/

A Lee, AS Mathuru, et. al.,
The habenula prevents helpless behavior in larval zebrafish.
Current Biology, 2010
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/

AS Mathuru and S Jesuthasan,
Alarm Response in Zebrafish: Innate Fear in a Vertebrate Genetic Model.
Journal of Neurogenetics, 2008
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/

AS Mathuru and US Bhalla,
Synaptic plasticity – in vitro and in silico:Insights into an intracellular signaling maze.
Physiology, 2006

AS Mathuru and US Bhalla,
A role for ERKII in synaptic pattern selectivity on the time-scale of minutes.
E. J. Neurosci., 2004
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/



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Dr Ajay Mathuru received his Bachelor' degree in Science (Genetics, Microbiology and Chemistry) from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India in 1996. In 1998, he was awarded the university gold medal and a Master's degree in Life Sciences (Plant Sciences) at the University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.

During his Master's programme, Dr Mathuru spent a summer studying olfactory conditioning and odour-evoked behaviours in Drosophila melanogaster larvae in the late Professor Obaid Siddiqi's laboratory in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India which culminated in a lifelong interest in neuroscience. During his PhD in neuroscience at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, he studied the coupling of biophysical and biochemical agents at the hippocampal synapses with Upi Bhalla.

He developed an interest in addressing neuroethological questions using zebrafish and moved to Singapore in 2006, to work with Suresh Jesuthasan, first at Temasek Lifesciences Labs, then at Duke-NUS/A*STAR as a Research Fellow. Prior to joining Yale-NUS, he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at IMCB, A*STAR, where he continues to study neural mechanisms underlying natural behaviour.


Research Overview


The Mechanisms Underlying Behavior Lab is interested in understanding the neural, genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying animal behavior. We use a small, translucent vertebrate (zebrafish) that allows one to perform precise genetic manipulations and optical imaging of neural activity at a high resolution. The focus is on bringing ethologically relevant behaviors motivated by either appetitive or aversive cues into a laboratory setting, and analyzing them using a combination of behavioral assays, in vivo live, brain-wide or microcircuit activity imaging, neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, and molecular biology. Behaviors of interest include social behavior, predator avoidance, and olfactory processing.

Studies in the Mathuru lab traverse multiple levels. At the level of molecules, a major interest is to identify the chemical nature of kairomones that function as alarm 'pheromones' in zebrafish. At the level of circuits, the lab is interested in dissecting the steps involved in olfactory processing of alarm cues eventually culminating in the alarm behavior.

At a systems level, the interest is to understand the neural substrates processing rewarding and aversive events. The habenula-IPN circuit's role in either context is one such area of interest for the lab. This highly conserved vertebrate circuit has been proposed to have a role in depression as well as in developing smoking dependence in humans. Current studies in the lab focus on nicotine, an unusual psychostimulant with a direct route into the reward/aversion processing brain regions via the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. This interest has sparked off both translation and societally important clinical objectives that the lab is now pursuing actively. More broadly, studies using nicotine are a window into the fundamental nature of addiction and decision-making.

Finally, at an organismal level the interest is to study the neural and genetic mechanisms by which social information is processed and how this information influences behavior of individuals.

For more information visit - https://mechunderlyingbehavior.wordpress.com/