My training in Neuroscience started during my M.Sc. dissertation in behavioral genetics and olfactory behavior of Drosophila melanogaster in the laboratory of Prof. Obaid Siddiqi at National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India. I characterized two olfactory mutants, OK301 and 003, belonging to the class of conditonal mutants.
For my doctorate research, I moved to National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, India and joined the laboratory of Prof. Neeraj Jain. Here I had the opportunity to work in a group on a primate model of spinal cord injury focused on reorganization of the motor cortex and higher somatosensory areas. I was also part of studies concerning the normal organization and connectivity of the digit representation in Area 3b of somatosensory cortex and precision grip behavior in macaque monkeys. My thesis research employed a rodent model to study motor cortex organization and the existence of a second motor representation in rats. I used intracortical microstimulation and retrograde tracing techniques to study patterns of cortical, callosal and thalamic inputs to the motor representations in rats. I also studied the reorganization of the rat motor cortex following spinal cord injury and the intrinsic connections supporting this reorganization. During my studies, I used spinal cord lesions, intracortical microstimulation, multiunit mapping, and axonal tracing techniques.
The focus of my postdoctoral research at Burke is on the underlying mechanisms of cortical reorganization after spinal cord injury. I will use mouse models and optogenetic tools to determine how intracortical connections are reshaped through rehabilitation.