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Anil Sindhurakar, Ph.D.
Anil Sindhurakar, Ph.D.

Anil Sindhurakar, Ph.D.

Former Postdoctoral Fellow
Motor Recovery Laboratory
Burke Neurological Institute


My training in biochemistry in undergraduate training and a systems biology approach during my graduate work has properly equipped me to contribute towards the complex problems of brain and spinal cord injury. The interdisciplinary nature of my academic training is the foundation for my passion for combining therapeutic modalities as well as collaborative approach in thinking about finding solutions for neurological disorders.

My research experience has been diverse and multifaceted. I have published on magnetic nanoparticles in bacteria from undergraduate research, worked with new born hatchlings as well as chick embryos during my graduate training and now currently work on rodents with corticospinal tract injury. This lateral movement in model species-invertebrates to mammals-has taught me about the power of animal models in coming up with novel ideas and creative thinking. I believe that lessons learned through each of these animal models have honed my ability to find solutions to complex problems through unconventional yet fun and interesting methods and techniques.

Research Interest

I am interested in finding strategies to restore motor function after neuronal injury by augmenting spared circuits that remain and assume function following injury. I have specifically focused on behavioral training and pharmacologic interventions to augment such spared circuits in a rat model with corticospinal tract injury. My goal is to combine these therapeutic modalities and help find a more effective neurorehabilitation paradigm in people with motor dysfunction.

Research Focus

I am interested in repair of the motor systems after developmental injury to the brain and spinal cord. My interest in developmental neuroscience led me to do my doctoral training with Dr. Nina Bradley at University of Southern California. In Dr. Bradley's Motor Control Development Laboratory, I studied the development of neural circuits for walking in a chick model. I studied development of leg muscle movement patterns that are precursor to independent bipedal walking as well as postural balance.

For my postdoc, I joined Dr. Jason Carmel's Motor Recovery Laboratory. Here, I have studied how the corticospinal system adapts to injury using a rat model. I have been working on three interrelated projects.

  1. Establishing rodent model for the most common cause of corticospinal tract injury—subcortical stroke. The goal of the project is to selectively lesion the part of the corticospinal tract that controls the forelimb. This allows us to test the hypothesis that spared motor circuits in the vicinity of forelimb motor circuits as hindlimb circuits or by-pass circuits in the midbrain such as rubrospinal tract will help to restore the impaired forelimb function. Once we understand which spared circuits are involved in endogenous recovery, I plan to specifically augment those circuits using electrical brain stimulation which assume the function lost with injury.
  2. Augment spared circuits after corticospinal injury. In this project, we interested in testing the hypothesis that pharmacological enhancement of CNS excitability will allow weak descending motor control to become stronger and promote recovery of motor function.
  3. Development of a sensitive and specific test of corticospinal function in the rat. While humans rely heavily on the corticospinal system, rats do not. Developing sensitive tests of corticospinal function in the rat allows our laboratory findings to be applied to humans. To this end, we have developed a test of supination—turning the hand from palm down to palm up in the rat. This movement is selectively lost in both people and rats with corticospinal injury.

Lessons learned through these projects will help me apply similar techniques to enhance motor recovery in neonatal rodent model of CST injury as well. My ultimate goal is to translate these findings to help better rehabilitate children with motor dysfunction.

Professional Collaborations and Experience

Robert Rennekar's group at UT Dallas

  • I have been working closely with the Rennekar Lab at UT Dallas for developing the knob task for testing supination in rodents. 
  • This collaboration has resulted in one publication so far and another one under revision.
  • This collaboration also yielded one poster presentation at SFN 2014 annual meeting (abstract).

Acorda Therapeutics

  • I have been closely collaborating with the biotech company Acorda Therapeutics for testing the efficacy of the drug 4-AP for enhancing motor function in corticospinal injury model of rat.
  • This collaboration has resulted in one manuscript that is under revision.
  • Partial results were also presented at SFN 2015 annual meeting (abstract).

Ad Hoc Reviewer at Neural Repair and Neural Rehabilitation (NNR) Journal

  • NNR is the #1 rehabilitation focused journal.
  • I annually review manuscripts from this journal on an ad hoc basis.

Recent Scientific Presentations


Ph.D., Systems Biology and Disease
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, with Nina S. Bradley, P.T., Ph.D.
Year Completed: 
Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Year Completed: 

Recent Publications

Journal Article
Butensky SD, Bethea T, Santos J, Sindhurakar A, Meyers E, Sloan AM, Rennaker RL 2nd, Carmel JB.
J Vis Exp. 2017 Sep 28;(127). doi: 10.3791/56341.
Full-text on PubMed
Journal Article
Sindhurakar A, Mishra AM, Gupta D, Iaci JF, Parry TJ, Carmel JB.
Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2017 Apr;31(4):387-396. doi: 10.1177/1545968316688800. Epub 2017 Jan 20.
Abstract on PubMed
Journal Article
Sindhurakar A, Butensky SD, Meyers E, Santos J, Bethea T, Khalili A, Sloan AP, Rennaker RL 3rd, Carmel JB.
Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2017 Feb;31(2):122-132. doi: 10.1177/1545968316662528. Epub 2016 Aug 20.
Abstract on PubMed